Education MUST Change

I have been in education for almost 20 years now and OUR FUTURE rests with us, the educators, the parents, and our government. We hold the future in our hands and have to learn from our past, that is what teaching is about, to learn, to grow and to share what we have discovered.

Look at our schools today in 2017, then rewind time and look at pictures of classrooms from 1917. The similarities are stunning and that is NOT a good thing. Look at cars today and from 1917, look at technology, or cities….the list is endless and the change with most except education is incredible. EDUCATION MUST CHANGE.

Here are some statistics from the PEW Research Center (February 15, 2017). Students are 71 countries that participate in the Programme For International Student Assessment, and where the United States falls is not impressive. This assessment measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15 year olds. This assessment was last taken in 2015 and is taken every 3 years. Below are the results for the United States and a few other Countries:

Country                       Reading                   Math                   Science         71 Total Countries

United  States                24th                       38th                      24th   

Canada                            3rd                        9th                         7th

Finland                            4th                        11th                       4th

Japan                                8th                        5th                         2nd

United Kingdom            21st                      26th                      16th

 

Why is it this way? We are one of the most powerful nations in the world, we are the greatest consumers and greatest in military spending by a large margin. Yet education we are not even in the top 5. What does that tell us about our countries future? If our education falls, in time so will our power! This does not mean that I am saying we need to change over to the Charter schools that Devos and Trump want, because they will only benefit the rich and well off, we need an entire educational overhaul and I have a SOLUTION: Which is a work in progress:

Our k-5 should remain the same, our kids need to build their basic skills, they need the socialization provide in Elementary school, the support and caring they receive needs to continue. After that is where the real change begins. Our kids need to begin to begin to develop their interests and skills starting at an early age.

  • 6th Grade: Students would continue taking their normal core classes; math, science, english, and science.
    • They would also take an elective that focused on careers and interests. Similar to the ACT Explore program, just as a class.
      • Semester 1: students would begin taking assessments that placed them into categories: Data, Things, Ideas, People – based on interests and skill sets. They would then be placed into small groups to begin exploring those categories and careers in those fields.
        • Companies from each category would be partnered with each school district and would act as mentors, experts and support for the teachers and students.
        • Career fairs would play a large role throughout middle school.
      • Semester 2: Students would take part 2 of career exploration. Learning about employability skills in each of the categories with a focus on their top 2.
        • Students would participate in work experience job shadowing. Learning what really happens at each job.
        • Students would research careers
    • 7th Grade: students would begin slowly changing their academic focus
      • Math, science, and English Classes would begin to become more career related as it pertained to the 4 categories (Data, Things, Ideas, People). Exploring how each Careers use each subject.
      • Career Exploration would become more focused, looking at developing skills and interests, while also exploring secondary interests and skills. Students would explore careers in the other areas (So if they placed in People and Ideas, they would explore careers in Data and Things.) Meeting with people in the field, and exploring the careers opposite of what they placed, to see if there is interest in careers outside of their placement.
      • Semester 2: Students would begin a hands on experience in their 2 main fields to begin the process of career focused education in 8th grade and beyond.
    • 8th Grade: Students would continue their core classes based on their career placement. With opportunities to work with classes in other career areas doing cooperative learning as they do in the actual career.
      • Students would be more involved with their career mentors, jobs shadowing, participating in mentoring the 6th graders, sharing and supporting their 6th grade student they would mentor.
  • High School will be shared in one of my next blogs.

 

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