Is it Time to Rewrite the Rules of Schools?
Educational Reform in North America
What I want to focus on for this post is the traditional education system and how it needs to adapt to meet the demands of the economy of today. The system today is focused on money, only indirectly for their students and it’s really all about the school’s needs. Schools today are pumping out students that are ill prepared for the workforce and students who return to get reskilled spend way too long to get trained up on a new skill. You probably have some opinion on what I am talking about here and I want to hear it. This is a discussion starter on how we can fix our systems from the ground up and not a keep patching it.
Education Titles on Amazon
My 6 Points to Think about
1. There should be ongoing trend analysis done by government and schools to ensure that we are ready for the jobs of tomorrow. The educational system should be matched to the future projections which include retirements and industry growth or contraction and train the right number of students to fill the jobs. We have seen immigration happen to fill needs while citizens often well-educated go without work for increasingly long periods of time. Are there no statisticians and survey experts and economists who could work in a think tank to truly get the direction of the economy and then equate that to the education required for the jobs.
2. On the flip side what about schools that train for the sake of training and produced educated unemployable citizens? Have you seen your son or daughter get accepted into a course of education and had your earned money spent only to have them unemployed despite your son or daughter’s initiative after receiving a diploma. What about all of these private schools you see in the back of magazines sucking money from people’s pockets with no hope of work afterwards? Schools should be held accountable for encouraging courses of study which are outdated or on the decline and graduates have little hope of finding a job in the field.
3. There should be a limited number of seats in a program based on need in society and not on how many asses it takes to fill chairs and make the course profitable. A friend’s daughter is going to university and a professor stated quite cavalierly that the average dropout rate in the first year of the program was 90%. The first thing I thought of is how the system is not held accountable for this miscarriage of justice. How can you knowingly take money from someone you know will fail or dropout. Compare that to the mortgage crises still fresh in our minds and we are now holding lending institutions responsible for making loads they know people will never be able to repay. Educational institutions should be held accountable through funding (private or public) to reduce where reasonable the length of courses and graduate the majority of their intake. Not hope they fall out of the system.
4. Our military has a thing called rapid redeployment where assets are ready and they can switch campaigns in short time to meet the challenges presented. Why does a course of study need 2 or 3 or 4 years? Because of tradition? Certainly with medicine and computer science where things change rapidly there may be a need of longer study time. However if you are an unemployed person you do not have the luxury of time and need to get retained in a hurry. Why can’t an unemployed person learn optometry (eye glass dispensing not MD) in 6 months. There are 6 month courses for this in some jurisdictions and 2 year courses in other jurisdictions. A relative of mine was accepted into a course for the funeral business which was two years long and involved many subjects not directly related to what was at hand. The second year was working in a funeral home which was an unpaid internship. The college which taught this program was trying to make it into a 3 year program. Why? For their income not to serve the public.
5. It’s disheartening but education is a business like all others and the longer an in demand course is the more money is collected. We need people to get back to work, at wages substantially higher than the minimum. Tell someone on the verge of having their gas and electric shut off that schooling will take four years. Education should be funded based on needs of the day. Right now there is a conflict of interest between the adult students need for rapid employment and the school’s need for money.
6. Why isn’t higher education funded like high school? When I was a boy and got my first real summer job the boss asked me if I was going to finish high school. “Yes” I replied.
“Good. You need your high school these days to get a good job” he said. I can’t even imagine this conversation today unless the words “high school” were substituted with “college or university.” If our society has changed that much why are we not funding higher education? The tax base would be improved and the system would pay for itself with societal benefits.
Getting the Best Education
In closing I am all for a well-rounded individual coming out of college or university. I think more people are discouraged in obtaining higher education because the only thing they can see coming out of school is no job and big debt. People on unemployment benefits are told courses to pull themselves out of poverty will be years long. Higher unemployment leads to a larger underground economy as people are forced to avoid the tax system. It’s a statistical fact that drug use and crime – violent crime is more prevalent in areas of high unemployment. People have to get by somehow. An agile and responsive education system is one of the ways we need to explore to bring about prosperity.