News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Do high standardized test scores assure success?
Many highly-accomplished people had far from perfect scores on the SAT test. Some struggled to get through college and others dropped out. With these results, there must be more to success than academic brilliance.
Granted, technological advances have made academic knowledge, especially in math and the sciences, more important. However, common sense is just as vital as it was fifty years ago. Sadly, many parents have become so focused on academic knowledge and fame that common sense has fallen by the wayside.
Common sense is something most of us understand intuitively, but is difficult to define. It is a combination of wisdom and self-discipline.
According to Wordnik wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Wisdom is not something that can be found in a textbook, taught in a classroom, or downloaded from the Internet. It is not tested through standardized tests like the SAT, MCAT, or GRE. Instead it is something that comes with exposure and experience.
The same dictionary defines self-discipline as, “Training and control of one’s conduct.” Self-discipline is generally modeled and taught at home through structure, responsibility, consequences, and praise.
Before the age of helicopter parents, most kids developed common sense as part of everyday life. Children were given considerable responsibility. Parents set expectations and there were consequences for poor choices. Only the winners received trophies. Through the school of hard knocks kids gradually learned how to present ideas, communicate with others, and alert people of delays. They came to understand the importance of punctuality and how to diplomatically address problems.
Now many parents are so worried about the “perfect” D1 sports program, landing a lead movie role, etc. that they do too much of their kids. It is often better to set general extra-curricular involvement requirements and establish minimum effort expectations rather than micromanage.
Finally, it is important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If a child is going to be late, he/she should notify the adult in charge. When a child damages property, he/she needs to earn money for the repair. And when a child performs poorly on a test, he/she needs to get a poor grade rather than have his/her parent negotiate with the principal.
Stepping out of the micromanagement role is challenging. However, it is easier once we realize our children need an environment that fosters common sense to become truly brilliant.
Relocate Magazine – Staff Writer
A consequence of this is a burgeoning global careers market for highly-skilled STEM graduates and school leavers.Today, international businesses demand ever more talent to help them compete in global marketplaces. These businesses also have higher than ever expectations of their young recruits too. This view is endorsed by ‘Inspiring Growth’, the CBI/Pearson Education Skills Survey, which cites that a degree in a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject can give graduates a clear advantage in the jobs market.”(more)
Horizon Magazine – Marc Durando
“Schools and industry should join forces to increase the level of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and better prepare pupils for careers in the sector, according to Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, a network of 31 European ministries of education. All industrial sectors need qualified professionals in STEM to boost the pace of innovation, employment and productivity, and consequently Europe’s ability to compete globally.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple
Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.
During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.
Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.
Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.
For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.
To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.
The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.
With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.
It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.
Brookings – Rebecca Winthrop, Eileen McGivney and Timothy P. Williams
“Schools, teachers, parents, and students in rich and poor countries alike must transform the teaching and learning environment to catch up and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, major changes to the world of work, and to solve complex global challenges. This means mastering literacy, numeracy, and content in traditional academic subjects, but also requires young people who can think critically, solve problems and collaborate with diverse groups of people. Rather than a narrow set of competencies, education must deliver the breadth of skills urgently needed not only in the labor market but also for helping solve some of the most world’s most pressing social problems…The good news is that there is renewed global consensus to do just this.”(more)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Maureen Downey
“A new Duke University study suggests problems paying attention in school in early childhood can foreshadow academic challenges later, including graduating from high school. Such students are 40 percent less likely to graduate, according to the study…The study confirms what many teachers have pointed out on the blog: Patterns are set early. Teachers often say they can predict in fifth grade which students will fail to finish high school…With this study, researchers examined early academic, attention and socioemotional skills and how each contributed to academic success into young adulthood. They found early attention skills were the most consistent predictor of academic success.”(more)