The Star – Andrea Gordon
Some Grade 8 students continue to be streamed into high school courses that close the door to university with little guidance or understanding about how their choices may affect their futures. That’s one of the troubling findings of a new report that captures the voices of youth and reveals how they end up choosing Grade 9 courses that have significant consequences down the road.”(more)
Ed Surge – Frank Connolly
Critical thinking is a tremendously important skill. But, it turns out, teaching this skill is no easy task. The most recent results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) test—a standardized testing initiative designed to measure college students’ critical thinking skills—are not encouraging. Relatively few students who took the test showed any improvement between freshman and senior years, even at schools where critical thinking was part of the curriculum.”(more)
Education Next – Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Samuel Barrows
“There’s no denying political climate change. The past 18 months have seen an enormous swing in the Washington power balance, a shift that has heightened the polarization that has characterized our public life for more than a decade now. How has this divisive political climate influenced public opinion on education policy and reform? And how much, if at all, has the new president swayed the public’s views? The 2017 Education Next survey, conducted in May and June of this year, offers us an opportunity to explore these questions and many more.”(more)
Forbes – Sieva Kozinsky
“Generation Z has officially entered college. And just as the Millennials before them, this generation is disrupting the way learning happens in higher education. But these differences go beyond just a greater dependence on technology. Gen Z-ers tend to embrace social learning environments, where they can be hands-on and directly involved in the learning process. They expect on-demand services that are available at any time and with low barriers to access. And they tend to be more career-focused earlier on in their college careers.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
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.
Forbes – Larry Light
“Planning for higher education expenses looms large for those with potentially college-bound children. Ditto for college graduates and adults seeking postgraduate education and skill upgrades. A May 2017 article in Delta Sky magazine, “Higher Education in the Fast Lane,” by Leah Ingram, noted trends offering “a better education more efficiently and affordably.” Some institutions offer five-year simultaneous baccalaureate/master’s degree programs highlighting the cost efficiency of earning two degrees in compressed time frames. Some schools allow undergraduates to begin taking graduate courses at a discounted undergraduate tuition rate.”(more)