Posted on 03/13/2017 at 02:35 PM by Liz Determan

Published: Aug 5, 2016 7:38 a.m. ET By TED DINTERSMITH and TONY WAGNER

For much of the last century, college was an affordable path to a good job.

But today’s world is different. For every 100 kids who start college, just 25 get degrees and attractive jobs. Some 45 drop out, and another 30 graduate but end up under- or unemployed, reaching the end of the college rainbow only to find a pot of rejection letters and debt. But our unquestioned embrace of colleges has given them carte blanche to jack up tuition for courses stuck in the Dark Ages. Meanwhile, millions of high-quality jobs in our country go unfilled, as our schools churn out “college ready” kids with no employable skills.

Look at Google
Employers are recognizing the disconnect between college and career readiness. Google, for instance, changed its hiring strategies after Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations, analyzed their data and found no correlation between job performance and an employee’s GPA, SAT’s, or college pedigree. Google now considers an applicant’s ability to collaborate and to perform authentic job-related challenges. Now, they hire many new employees who never went to college.

Our education goals have lost touch with what matters most — helping students develop essential skills, competencies, and character traits. It’s time to reimagine the goals for U.S. education, and hold all schools — from kindergarten through college — accountable for teaching the skills and nurturing the dispositions most needed for learning, work, and citizenship.  Let’s set our overarching goal as producing students who are “life-ready,” and treat colleges as one potential means to this end.

In his book, Creating Innovators, Wagner shared this troubling dynamic, “The average child asks 100 questions a day, but by the time a child is 10 or 12, he or she has figured out that it’s much more important to get right answers than to keep asking thoughtful questions.” We need to work to support students’ development beyond the academic focus, to include soft skills, creativity and innovation as being as important, if not more important that academic achievement alone.

Ted Dintersmith has a Ph.D. in engineering from Stanford, was a top-ranked venture capitalist, executive produced the acclaimed film "Most Likely To Succeed," and went to all 50 states in the last year advocating for education change. Tony Wagner is an Expert In Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab and a Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute. They are co-authors of “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era.”

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field