Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Articles for May 27, 2015

Can we really prepare kids for both college and career? (hechingerreport.org)
This article might say more about the state of industry than the state of education. California's linked-learning curriculum includes college-prep academic courses and on-the-job training; in my opinion, this should be the norm, not the exception, for a high school experience. To balance this idealism, Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, makes a more realistic point: preparing students for both is unrealistic because the requirements of college and the requirements of a career are vastly different. Perhaps it is not only education that we need to consider reforming. 

The Current State of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. (Committee for Economic Development) [PDF]
The value of this is the updated numbers for much of the data referenced for the same arguments across higher ed coverage: number of high school graduates, number of degrees, cost of tuition, average earnings of degree-holders. The interesting thing about these slides, though, is what's not covered between the two slides covering the workforce perspective--the first showing the employers' responses to the question "Are graduates prepared for the workforce?" and the second showing responses to "If you currently have unfilled jobs, what is the primary reason the jobs are unfilled?"--and the following slide that covers the cost of college. A colleague of mine brought up two points yesterday that would be appropriate to include here: 1) how much do these jobs pay? has that changed? how is that related to what a worker is expected to do on Day 1?; and 2) we tell students that we want critical thinkers and problem solvers, but is that the reality of the jobs we're referring to here? do employers really know what they expect workers to know? Again, perhaps education is not the only sector that could benefit from introspection. 

OECD Skills Outlook 2015: Youth, Skills, and Employability (OECD.org)
As with the CED presentation, the newest edition of the Skills Outlook offers some updated numbers for much of what is already being discussed. Refreshingly, this report calls for more holistic approach and include the emotional and social side of workforce preparation, many strategies of which would be contested by graduates of the by-your-own-bootstraps school. It also strongly promotes the teaching of "a wide range of skills" that will be relevant in the workforce. Even if this is interpreted here as part of the holistic approach, I can imagine many would view these types of skills more narrowly. More often referred to are the relevant, job-related skills learned today in school that will likely be exponentially different by the time the student is in a position to use them, or at least soon thereafter. It is a fresh breath of air to see more malleable, enduring skills included. 
Disappointingly, the report also tip-toes around the efforts industry could extend to match those by education and government. 


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