Tough Choices or Tough Times Misses Mark

I just read the executive summary of the National Center on Education and the Economy entitled Tough Choices or Tough Times.  I read it the first time thinking to myself, “I wonder how this will move the ideas of Web 2.0 and all of the educationl reforms forward?”  As I read through the introduction, I agreed with the great lines such as:

A swiftly rising generation of American workers at every skill level are in direct competition with workers in every corner of the globe”  OR “This is a world in which a very high level of preparation in reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, science, literature, history, and the arts will be an indispensable foundation for everything that comes after for most members of the workforce”  OR “The core problem is that our education and training systems were build for another era.”

We already know this.  These statements along with many of the ideas in the report are ideas that have been proposed for years.  And, if you’ve been reading books such as The World is Flat and A Whole New Mind then this is not new information.  There is not much in the report to disagree with except that it doesn’t take into account how to work within the educational system that has already been established to move these ideas forward.  And, maybe the full report details this, but it is not clear what “new skills” are needed for the work force.  Aren’t we using these “new skills” now?  I don’t think the disconnect between the work force and education is much different now than when the SCANS report (1990) was issued.  One of the opening lines of that report stated:  “more than half of our young people leave school without the knowledge or foundation required to find and hold a good job.”  Sound familiar?  Has anyone followed up on the SCANS report and/or the 1990 report by the National Center in Education and Economy entitled: “America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages!” to document the progress that has been made?  We should be building on what we have in the current system.

The diagram developed as part of the report in the Executive Summary is something to think about.  I believe that this diagram is something most people in education have been thinking about.  There are schools in the U.S. that are operating with this in mind.



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