Posted on 02/17/2015 at 10:56 AM by Liz Determan

Across our nation there are still a number of states that are continuing to work on a definition for Career and College Ready, Iowa included.  Once we finally get that definition vetted, the reality of what it takes to be competitive in the global workforce will have left our secondary and, in many cases, our postsecondary graduates in the dust.  We have spent 10 years talking in education about the shift in skills our students need to be proficient in, believing that once our students complete their postsecondary education/training, they will be employed.  I firmly believe, in our minds, we continue to envision a nation filled with companies and employers who will always offer a place of employment for our certified or degreed graduates.  We envision that those workplaces will be in office buildings or on factory floors in the cities nearby, just as they always have been.  We could not be more tied to the image of a workforce of ten to twenty years outdated.

How many researchers and analysts do we need to hear from before educators and professional school counselors see the urgency of the changes that need to happen in our PK-16 educational systems?  Beginning TODAY, we need to design the learning and proficiencies our students have mastery of to include a clear awareness and performance in and out of the classroom that demonstrates an ownership of their learning; to inspire students to be engaged in a level of academic and disciplinary inquiry professionals use in their fields.  What will it take for us to make authentic, real-world problems and finding the solutions that outside the textbook a genuine part of everyone of our classrooms?

What we already know about global competition:

  • Twenty-five percent of China’s students with the highest IQ’s outnumber all of the students in the United States
  • China will soon become the #1 English speaking country in the world.
  • US government has been gradually shifting the age of retirement when people are eligible for medical coverage from 65 to 67 and there are currently conversations about pushing it to 70 and 72 in an effort to keep people working because we do not have enough young people to fill our labor market needs
  • In a world where the number one quality employers are looking for and needing to stay competitive in this radically and constantly changing market is creativity and innovation, we are still focused, in education, on creating the same cookie-cutter graduates where students are ranked on GPA and test scores.  These are not the predictors we need to be concerned with.  Authors such as Daniel Pink, Tom Freedman, or Thomas Wagner all speak to this.

Is this alarming to anyone else?

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