Shere’s a lot of concern about the future of the U.S., both economically and socially. How will technical education and vocational education help me? Government statistics show that over two-thirds of America’s fastest-growing jobs involve tasks that don’t even require a high school diploma. And a recent report by The Education Resource Institute suggests that two-thirds of the jobs that will be created in the next decade will require college degrees, advanced degrees, certificate programs, and less than half a decade of college, on average.
Severe skills shortage
We are now faced with a severe skills shortage. As The ERO reports, “unmet need for graduate-level training and Classics courses is as much as 34 million.” The most critical problem is that “without education, those who are left behind will not be able to compete in the job market.”
In 2006, the consensus among educators, governors, and secretaries of education, including the two presidential candidates, was that the U.S. was at a vulnerable position in the world, strategically, but economically, not tactically. More than two-thirds of the population of China and India is illiterate. A few years ago, George Knowle, the former U.S. under-secretary of education, noted: “If we want to create an economy in which it is not overheating, we need to get the basic education right. The literacy rate in India is 75%, and in China, it is 90%. These are overwhelming numbers. The answer is, We need to put more money into education.”
Observations are significant
These observations are significant. They point to the need for the province a strategic plan for improving U.S. education levels. Placing more money into education appears to be the answer. But how?
Most policy discussions center on two critical areas: raising students’ educational standards in grades K-12 and increasing the rates for those presently in college and graduate school. The difficulty is finding a way to meet these goals while answering the needs of students at grade level and above.
The results of a fifty-two-year study funded by the federal government emphasized the need for more instructional and motivational activities. Yet, this education gap remains largely unbridged. Elementary school children and secondary school-age children are not taught as intensively as middle school students.
The study recommends that elementary schools should retrospectively evaluate their curriculum and instructional techniques. A more comprehensive curriculum be recreated to provide students with adequate opportunity to learn the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Similarly, secondary schools should edit their continuing education courses to provide students with more opportunities to explore interests, communication, and imagination. Practical and creative pedagogies are recommended to prepare students for upper-grade-level tasks.
Several organizations have developed standards and guidelines to ensure students’ quality and adequate preparation for higher education and the workplace. The study results indicate that improving the quality of what is taught and learned is crucial in improving the nation’s educational levels. Through the study, the author hopes that governments and educational institutions will adhere to the guidelines to ensure quality education.
The report stresses that teachers play a vital role in the transformation of teaching and learning processes. Practical and creative pedagogies are recommended to prepare students for upper-grade-level tasks. These pedagogies prepare learners by:
- Creating a forum for student collaboration and building strong personal and social relationships through student collaboration Developing a process of inquiry-based on inquiry-based practices Encouraging critical thinking and abstract verbal expression, and creative verbal expression Creating a safe and respectful learning environment Studying and learning through the application of core curriculum skills, knowledge, and skills Using a variety of methods and skills, including knowledge and skills drawn from a nationally recognized model.
Educators and policymakers must commit themselves to the goal of giving every child a quality education:
Quality education means that teachers have the knowledge and skills and the attitude to help every student, in every stage of the post-secondary educational process, develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for success. Quality education means that students and the people who work with students to develop education have the knowledge and skills to problem solve, plan, and implement. Quality education means that teachers and educators have the strategies, methods, and tools necessary to help students achieve well in their studies and to stand out in their careers.