Educators And Employers Live In Parallel Worlds

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Despite efforts to improve college- and career-readiness, students, educators and employers around the world still largely exist in “parallel worlds,” never really aligning the skills students learn in class and the ones they need after graduation, reports Sarah Sparks of Education Week. She reports on a new study by the McKinsey Center for Government:

“The report, ‘Education to Employment: Designing a System the Works,’ identified specific obstacles at different critical junctures of a student’s academic-career path. For example, nearly a third of those who graduate high school never enroll in college because it is too expensive.

Once enrolled, about 60 percent of students reported wanting on-the-job training and hands-on job skills, but fewer than half had courses that allowed this. Once they graduate, 25 to 40 percent of students found that they were unable to get a first job related to their college field. This matched employers’ experiences; 69 percent of employers reported difficulty in finding job candidates with the right skills.

Effective training programs around the world had two things in common, the study found. First, educators and employers worked together, with businesspeople helping to design curricula and educators working to place students in internships.

Second, both teachers and employers work with students ‘early and intensely’ to prepare them for a job.” (Read more here.)

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One Response to “Educators And Employers Live In Parallel Worlds”

  1. eSCKWID says:

    I’m a former teacher who has been following this discussion for at least two decades. And here we are, still discussing it. This reminds me of a conversation I was having with one of our AP’s over our frustration trying to get some changes implemented in our district. I told her of one of my favorite quotes from physicist Max Planck: “Science progresses one funeral at a time.” I added (though I still hope it’s not really true) “Educational reform progresses one retirement at a time.” We’ve both had that posted on our respective office walls since 2004 (in small type, we didn’t want to get too many other teachers mad). When I left high school classroom teaching to work in training and development, the changes I’d seen in schools were still moving in the exact opposite of what Sarah Sparks’ research calls for. While it represents only part of the problem, I think as long as our teacher’s unions have the enormous political influence we’ve allowed them (paid for by confiscating some sizable union dues from teacher’s paychecks each month) and are more concerned with protecting benefits and pensions (completely out of line with non-union jobs in the private sector) than making positive changes to how we educate our children for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs, this is going to always be an uphill battle.

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