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College may no longer be necessary, high quality K-12 education is

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Even though psychologists have been talking about a lack of correlation between college degrees, course grades, and job performance for decades, most companies continue to rely on these credentials and marks to make hiring decisions.

In the past couple of years, however, a few companies have broken rank. Google, a Fortune 500 technology firm, and Ernst and Young U.K., part of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, have publicly announced they no longer require college degrees for employment.

Google’s chairman said the company is more interested in an applicant’s skills, ability to think in a logical way, work ethic, breadth of experience, public speaking abilities, and creativity. Ernst and Young said they are interested in talented individuals regardless of background.

This transformation is due, in large part, to free access of information through the Internet. Over five years ago Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft, suggested that traditional university education, especially at fixed-place institutions will no longer be necessary, since most of the content will be available online for free.

The college experience is under additional pressure, because college costs are rising at a rate higher than inflation and a college degree no longer guarantees a solid middle-class income. In fact, the College Risk Report (collegeriskreport.com) suggests that the rate of return on most four-year college degrees is worse than 2-year degrees and in some instances worse than no degree at all.

There is a small group of students who receive full ride scholarships to attend college. For these students, the costs are so low that the four-year degree makes financial sense.

Some people assert that college is an excellent place to make contacts. This may be a valid claim for students who are outgoing and takes advantage of all the clubs, speakers, professors, and research opportunities available at a school, but is probably not the case for most students who meet few people outside their dorms and classes.

Without a traditional college education, strong K-12 schooling is imperative since this will be where kids learn basic skills, hone public speaking abilities, refine creative thinking, and develop logical problem solving capabilities. Work ethic can be developed at school, home or in extra-curricular activities like sports. Breadth of experience can occur at school or through outside clubs and activities.

This new employment paradigm suggests we need to worry more about high quality K-12 education and less about college.

How to Make a Liberal Arts Degree a Career Asset

Fortune – Anne Fisher

“Plenty of research supports the idea that STEM degrees, although they’re in big demand, are not the only horse in the race. Two recent employer surveys from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, for instance, show that four skills outrank technical knowledge and computer proficiency on employers’ wish lists: Critical thinking/problem-solving, work ethic, teamwork, and strong oral and written communications. Not only that, but those “soft” skills matter more as people progress in their careers…Still worried? Of course you are. So here are three practical suggestions you might pass along to your daughter (if she’ll listen).”(more)

Standing meetings may improve group productivity

NEW YORK – SHEREEN LEHMAN

“(Reuters Health) – Walking while working, usually on a treadmill, has been gaining popularity in recent years, but the next office innovation should be standing while meeting, according to a new study.Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, report that groups working together on a project while standing are measurably more engaged and less territorial than while seated.“A workspace that encourages people to stand up is going to lead to more collaborative and more creative outputs,” Andrew Knight told Reuters Health in an email”(more)

Creating a successful adult

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

The beginning of the school year is a period of transition, so it is the perfect time for parents to make changes in how they interact with their kids. One of the biggest challenges parents face is helping their children transition from dependent infants to independent adults. The process takes time, constant effort, and many adjustments. Here are a few things parents can do to make the process easier.

 

Encourage healthy risks
Kids learn by trying new things and build confidence when they successfully handle challenging tasks. The key is to pick tasks that are age appropriate and to coach children as they learn.

 

Rescue less
Most young people do not develop the same life skills kids did 30 years ago, because adults take care of problems for them. Rather than doing things for their kids, parent should teach them how to handle tasks, conversations, and assignments on their own.

 

Provide genuine complements
Self-confidence is earned. When parents offer undeserved kudos, kids often develop problems with self-esteem because they realize the complements are not real. As a result, it is better to find things that a child does well and praise them for those things.

 

Don’t be afraid to disappoint
A child does not have to “love” their parents every minute. Kids will get over disappointment, but they won’t get over being spoiled. Tell them “no” and let them earn what they want and need.

 

Share mistakes
Kids shouldn’t operate in a vacuum. When adults share their mistakes or the mistake of others it helps young people understand the difference between good and bad choices.

 

Remember giftedness does not equal maturity
Even the brightest children get into trouble when they do not have the skills to navigate complicated social situations. As a result, it is important to add responsibility gradually rather than all at once.

 

Practice what you preach
Honesty and integrity are valued traits. Parents should do their best to be good examples and acknowledge mistakes when they make them.

 

Encourage balance
Few athletes and performers reach a level where they can make a living on the athletic field or stage. As a result, it is critical for kids to excel in the classroom if they want to find meaningful employment.

 

Creating a successful adult is challenging, but manageable, when parents focus on coaching and empowering rather than protecting and doing.

 

Why do Chinese pupils do so well in school tests?

BBC News – Sean Coughlan

“Pupils from Chinese families are often successful in Western school systems – in the UK they have better exam results than any other ethnic group. A study from the Institute of Education has examined why these children of Chinese migrants are so high-achieving.” (more)

Study: Work Ethic Allows Asian-Americans to Outperform Peers

Education News – Grace Smith

“…two studies which tracked white and Asian students from kindergarten through high school revealed that the two groups of students begin school on a level playing ground. It is around the fifth grade that Asian-Americans begin to “significantly outperform whites”…The results suggest that the achievement gap occurs because of the levels of academic drive rather than in cognitive ability differences.”(more)