Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Skills: Beyond College Readiness, Lets go back to the basics!

In today's education world so many individuals are lost in a system that is tailored to prepare students for college education. We need to focus on preparing our students with life skills that prepare them to lead a successful life and finish school, whether high school or college, career ready.

Below are some Educational Organizations and information provided on their webpages regarding teaching basic skills and career readiness.

Career Readiness Partner Council
  • Career readiness requires education that provides the student with classroom experience and workplace experience as well as educators that can provide that type of instruction.
  • The definition of children becoming college ready should be changed to career ready, not necessarily saying the student should not attend college, but that the focus should be on taking steps to prepare the child for a career whether that is picking the appropriate college courses, or preparing to participate in an apprenticeship.

NEA — Career and Technical Education
  • NEA is a big supporter of career readiness. “The new definition identifies a career ready person as one who is able to effectively navigate pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career”

ATF — A New Path Forward: Four Approaches to Quality Teaching and Better Schools 
  • Education has become “…the pedagogical equivalent to a factory—reducing the learning experience to a converter belt of rote prep sessions and multiple-choice tests.”
  • This kind of teaching does not prepare our children for a future in the real world.
  • With the advances of the 21st century comes the need for change.

AACTE — Resource #228: Transformations in Educator Preparation: Effectiveness and Accountability
  • Federal and State Education Reform is necessary to make sure our students are properly being prepared for both attending college and obtaining a career after high school graduation. So many of our students are not equipped with the basic skills to do either of these things.

CCSSO — News Brief: Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces $1.7 Million in Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants, 42 Schools to Share Funding 
  • The Governor of Pennsylvania believes in educating children to be competitive in the national and global workforce.
  • “Funding can be used to purchase equipment to truing students for advance materials and diversified manufacturing, agriculture and food production, bio-medical industry, building and construction, business and finical services, energy, healthcare, information and communication services, logistics and transpiration, and lumber, wood and paper.”

CCSS — The Standards
  • The Common Core Standards are being used to standardize education across all of the states so that all children are prepared in the same areas.
  • These standards are not simply tailored to preparing students for college, but they are tailored to also prepare students to be successful in the workforce.
  • “With students, parents and teachers all on the same page and working together for shared goals, we can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate from school prepared to succeed in college and in a modern workforce.”

ITL Research — About ITL Research
  • ITL research has created a way to measure the progress education is making in preparing students to become successful in the 21st century. This include equipping students with 21st century skills that are both applicable to future education as well as the workforce.
  • ITL Data creates an accountability for schools all over the world to break the mold of current pedagogy and introduce new ideas and ways of educating the children of the future.

ESEA — Elementary and Secondary Education Act
  • This was the first most influential federal policy on education put into place. Since 1965 this act has been remodeled to evolve with the changes of society and educational expectations.
  • The original ESEA did have Title III which encouraged innovative programs for schools. Although this was not specifically tailored for increasing career preparedness, innovation is definitely a key to introducing our children to aspects of the workplace. This become the National Diffusion Network (
  • Title III has now been reassigned and changed with the No Child Left Behind Act.

IDEA — the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act School Age Children (3 to 22) Transition to Adulthood
  • The IDEA requires that programs be in place to help students become productive and successful adults. This includes career preparation if possible.
  • Unlike their non-disabled peers students with disabilities through this act get tailored assistance in planning their transition into adulthood as well as a “…coordinated set of activities…” This is a results based program to ensure the students enter the world after school prepared.
  • Perhaps this is a model we should look to for all of education?

NCLB — No Child Left Behind Overview
  • The NCLB requires testing and accountability for school districts in order to continue to receive funding. Perhaps this is part of the problem we have in being able to make a career focused education possible.
  • It focuses on testing children in Reading and Math, which are both important skills for success in life, however preparing students to test well in Reading and Math does not necessarily provide life applicable education in those subjects.
  • Recognizing this, in 2011 states were able to apply for a waiver from reaching these target testing benchmarks. With the authorization of this waiver states had to implement: “1) college- and career-ready standards and assessments that measure student achievement and growth; 2) a differentiated accountability system that both recognizes high-achieving, high progress schools (reward schools) and supports chronically low-achieving schools (priority and focus schools); and 3) teacher and principal evaluation and support systems to improve instruction. A team of peer reviewers, along with Department staff, studied the proposals, commented on each request, and offered suggestions to states to help them win approval.”
  • Number 1 in that requirement recognizes the need to prepare students for their future in the workforce as well as for attending college.

AAIE — Foresight: Students Developing Essential Skills for Responsible Participation in an Increasingly Connected, Dangerous and Complex World.
  • A new program has been developed titled Foresight. This program is focused on the realization that students need to obtain skills that “…regardless of future educational specialization or employment, will equip them to understand and manage the long-term implications of very complex issues and rapid change”
  • Although this program does not prepare students for a specific career, in its own way it is definitely providing students with career readiness skills.
  • Lesson like these are irreplaceable in life, and teaching them at an early age will only set up students for a future of success.

UNESCO — First ever National TEVET Strategy for Afghanistan launches in Kabul 
  • The realization that education tailored towards career readiness is recognized all over the world. UNESCO has partnered with the Afghanistan Ministry of Education to launch a program that focuses on teaching vocational skills.
  • They feel that this is a critical program to the future and stability of Afghanistan because it will provide a skilled workforce.

UNICEF — Podcast #77: Putting learning at the centre of education 
  • UNICEF has recognized the fact that some education systems are failing to provide students with the appropriate skills for the future.
  • In this podcast they state that the world has done a good job at getting more children into the classroom, but we also need to focus on what we are teaching them.
  • UNICEF has implemented the Learning Metrics Task Force to help set up a series of goals and guidelines to help guide education in the right direction, including preparing children for career readiness.

OECD & CERI — Time for the U.S. to Reskill?
  • The OECD recently collected a survey of adult skills all over the world. What this report showed is that the US actually lags behind many other countries in basic skills that are imperative for being a successful member of our workforce.
  •  “One in six adults in the U.S., about 36 million people, has weak literacy skills – they can, at best, read short texts and understand basic vocabulary. In Japan the comparable figure is one in 20. In the U.S. nearly one in three have weak numeracy skills against a cross country average of one in five.”
  • The report showed that not only does the US score low, but there is no sign of major improvement. We need to develop and reinforce these basic skills in our youth so that we can set them up with a promising future in the workforce.

EFA — Education for All Goals
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  • “The Education for All movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults.”
  • The organizations involved created 6 goals with the hope of accomplishing them by 2015.
  • Goal number six hits exactly on the point of ensuring students obtain the skills they need to be success productive citizens: “Goal 6: Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.”

UNGEI — Let’s Talk! Discussion on ‘A Girl’s Right to Learn without Fear’ 
  • Before some countries can even begin to think about preparing students for like skills and career readiness they need to make a safe learning environment for women.
  • According to this article 66 million girls are denied education.  The most common reason is gender base violence.
  • UNGEI is working to end this fear and allow girls all over the world to access the education they deserve and need.

GPE — Can Education Transform Africa’s Agriculture Sector? 
  • 65% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35 and their unemployment rates are sky high.
  • GPE is looking to education to solve this problem, namely in the agricultural arena.
  • Agriculture is a huge part of Africa’s survival. It is an area that needs to be invested in and an area that can use more jobs.
  • If students are educated in agriculture they will be able to employ more youth and solve two problems at one time. Their unemployment rates and their poverty by provided food to those who can’t afford it.

Look through all of these websites I realized that the whole world is in need of education reform. Some areas are further behind than others, but overall it would greatly benefit society as a whole to focus education on obtaining life skills and career readiness instead of just knowledge!

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