Since my company helps others train so I thought this article was interesting.
In a recent article, Average is Over, Thomas Friedman comments that although technology and off-shore labor are two causes for high unemployment, what may be a more critical factor is that US students are not as well educated as competitors in other countries.
He discusses a trend for politicians to see the workforce issue as a "made in America" issue while CEOs to see the situation in terms of best workforce. Politicians are selling to Americans, CEOs are selling to the world.
Recent studies show that US students do not stand out in reading, math and science, but we still believe we have great education.
I spent years teaching in the public schools and I tend to agree. We are now so focused on measuring the "productivity" of students as if they were factory workers through testing and pin-pointing curriculum to pass these tests, the ability to think and create is often ignored. Great teachers often have to sneak it in between strict curriculum requirements.
The schools have to change to compete. As a former teacher, I watched from the inside and am convinced that change has to come from within and without. Teachers and administrators have to step up, politicians have to stop pandering to local issues and parents have to participate and demand more. I know this is a tall order. With businesses to run and work to get done, parents are already stretched thin. As I think about all the sacrifices parents make, it seems absurd that they would not also want to work with their children and have a hand in fashioning education that enabled their children to complete.
We need to think about objectives beyond passing tests for our students to be anything other than average.
We need to take a full-person approach and fit the education to the student, whether using technology or reforming our vision of teaching. Rote learning is only part of the picture when we look at education.
I can think of a number of other suggestions but I am interested in what you think. How can business have a positive impact and help to treat students like knowledge workers of the 21st century rather than 19th century laborers?
Please add your two cents.