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To Develop Future-Ready Students, Project-Based Lessons Teach Real World Skills

Ed Surge – Stephen Solomon

“Higher test scores. Better graduation rates. Increased lifetime earning potential. Incorporating social-emotional learning and character education into K-12 classrooms improves students’ lives—measurably. Indeed, recent research indicates there is a direct and undeniable correlation between improved student outcomes and integrating SEL and life skills—like problem-solving, collaboration, and good judgment—into existing curriculum. What’s more, teachers value these skills. So do employers. They help changes lives, break the cycle of inequity, and foster economic opportunity.”(more)

How learning a second language gives jobseekers an advantage

Australia News – Melanie Burgess

“IN an increasingly globalised world, colleagues, clients, customers and stakeholders do not always speak the one language. Knowing a foreign language can make many jobs easier and give businesses and jobseekers a competitive edge. The skill is particularly useful in people-facing roles such as in hospitality, care and sales. It is also beneficial when detailed explanations are required, such as in medical, educational and legal fields. But it could be used in industries as broad as trades and IT.”(more)

The Disconnect Between Education and Entrepreneurship

Forbes – Courtney Williams

“As the CEO of an edtech startup, I witness first-hand the abundant challenges that confront our country’s educational system. While there are pockets of hope, it feels like things are getting worse, not better. The U.S. continues to lag behind other countries when it comes to student outcomes. In the most recent study published by PISA, among developed countries, the U.S. ranked 41st in math, 24th in reading and 25th in science. In a nation so rich in resources, arguably the greatest country in the world, this is at best alarming and at worst, an existential threat.”(more)

Students: how to work out what you’re good at

The Guardian – Zofia Niemtus

“You’ve probably been answering questions about your dream career since you were too young to know what that meant. Chances are you’ve changed your goals since then (shout out to all the astronauts/cowboys/chocolate factory owners who didn’t), but as you near the end of university, that concept starts to become a lot more real. And daunting. Especially when you haven’t got a clear picture of where you are heading after graduation.”(more)

Colleges Need to Work Together to Build Competencies of the Future

Ed Surge – Michelle R. Weise

“To address the disconnect between higher education and the workforce, several colleges are experimenting with microcredentials, certificates, clusters of competencies, and even blockchain to communicate easily their students’ mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities to employers. Some may scorn this trend as unnecessarily catering to a skills-obsessed world. Teaching up-to-the-minute skills appears to run counter to the concept of teaching students how to learn for a lifetime. Say what you will: These schools are recognizing that learning and work are becoming inseparable and developing applied curricula for our rapidly-evolving knowledge economy.”(more)

College reality

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In a few weeks tens of thousands of young Americans will leave home and begin the “college experience”. As they descend on campuses across the country, they will be greeted by impressive buildings, acclaimed alumni, elaborate social functions, and luxury hotel-like accommodations. In addition to getting used to their new “homes”, these newly minted adults will be asked to select majors that prepare them for post college employment.

Interestingly, the university structure and incentives may not always be aligned with what is best for students.

Universities are broken into departments. Each department is responsible for running a profitable business or demonstrating that there is enough demand for its offerings that it would be foolish for the university to close the department. Departments like engineering generally have large research budgets, so they are less concerned about student enrollment than departments like the humanities and social sciences that have fewer research dollars.

As might be expected, the departments with fewest research dollars generally work hardest to convince students to select majors within their purview. Until 15-20 years ago, this model worked well, because it was possible to obtain high quality employment with a wide variety of university degrees.

Technology has improved access to information so much that many jobs related to compiling, organizing, and disseminating information have already been or are being eliminated. Careers that have been hardest hit are law, social sciences, and the humanities.

Since there are fewer job opportunities for people with these degrees, many college graduates find it difficult to procure jobs that pay a premium over what was available to them before they attended college.

This shift creates a dilemma for the parents of a child who did not develop a proclivity for math in high school. Does the parent have the resources to send the child to college so he/she can graduate without debt and go on to a job that he/she most likely could have obtained without attending college? Is it better to consider a high paying trade like plumbing or electricity, rather than expending money on college? Or is it wiser to encourage the child to go to a community college and learn math, so he/she has the skills to obtain a college degree with higher earning potential?

It is a tough decision, but is something that should be discussed before a family blindly spends large sums of money on a college education that does little to improve a child’s long term earning potential.