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Workforce Skills for the 21st Century

A recent report,  21st Century Skills, Education, and Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide available at www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php indicates that schools need to prepare young people with skills that will dominate the 21st century.

“Our ability to compete as a nation — and for states, regions and communities to attract growth industries and create jobs — demands a fresh approach to public education.  We need to recognize that a 21st century education is the bedrock of competitiveness — the engine, not simply an input, of the economy. And we need to act accordingly:  Every aspect of our education system –pre k-12, post secondary and adult education, after-school and youth development, workforce development and training, and teacher preparation programs –must be aligned to prepare citizens with the 21st century skills they need to compete.”

All educators can agree with the above quotations in this worthy and well-intentioned report.  What becomes a problem for educators and the rest of society is how is this to be done in light of:

1.  Students who lack the ability or desire to reach today’s minimal standards.

2.  Parents who prize summer vacations over year-round schools.

3.  A society which gives higher pay for most jobs, with the same educational criteria, that educators possess.

4.  An inability or a lack of desire to create proper working conditions to fill science, mathematics and special education jobs.

5.  Budget cutbacks in education, in a falling economy, which are disproportionate to the rest of the demands of state and local funding.

6.  School budgets which are still funded by property taxes giving greater funds to affluent areas than school districts educating those with greater needs.

Unfortunately, the report fails to address this problem.

Til next time,

Franklin

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