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Education Needs a Change: Alternatives to the current system

June 3, 2013

In 2011, only 41.8% of San Diego Unified School students would have met the “A through G” requirements for admission to a UC or CSU school.  Is this evidence that we need to rethink local education focus?  In preparation for the second Craft Beer Debate, I want to present both sides of the discussion.  Here is the start of that effort. (Click here to register for the June 6th Debate at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station.)

I didn’t make that statistic up, I took it out of this report from the Public Policy Institute of California.  I don’t know if that group is non-partisan, Republican, Democrat, or something else.  However, the data is the data in this case so it’s probably worth paying attention to.  As we think about the arguments for moving away from a strict focus on requirements that are only necessary if you want to go to a 4-year college, there’s some very interesting work out there on ways to rethink the system.

Panelist Rob Atterbury is a champion of “Linked Learning,” which is a process that links students’ education with their interests and career paths in a more purposeful way than traditional education.  That short video I linked is well worth watching to get a sense of what Linked Learning is and how it might be better for San Diego students.  This alternative is not about eliminating a college focus per se, but seems instead focused on embracing the ultimate student outcome—a productive career that aligns with a student’s interests and aptitudes.

In addition to the concept of Linked Learning, there are several efforts to consider how employment and education ought to interact.  This video from McKinsey is a short window into some of the gaps in how education generally may not be readying young people for employment. Hopefully the Youtube video below will work, as I haven’t mastered the process of “embedding” videos, but here goes…

In addition to the video, there is a very detailed report if you want to understand a bit more of the underlying information.  Read it here.  The report by McKinsey is important, considering that at least one recent article notes more students in the U.S. are turning to career academies rather than the university system. Before we move on, I should take a moment to thank G Squared Computing, the people you call if your IT feels like it’s in the stone age or is just not moving fast enough, Erik Bruvold and Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, a law firm that represents dozens of school and community college districts in California.  They all sponsored portions of the debate.  I work for the law firm, but they didn’t plan to support this before I came up with the topic, truth is they just care about education so I lucked out that they were willing to support an effort to broaden participation in education.  Actually, my roundtable of Erik Bruvold, Ben Bosanac of Emissary Relations, Barry Pollard and Scott Lewis of Voice of San Diego had more to do with the topic than I did, but I’m glad it’s the one we chose because it’s a good one.  My hope is to sprinkle some discussion of the “v” word in this conversation along the way (and other reform efforts).

Did you know the United States ranks 27th globally in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education?

Panelist Ed Hidalgo has a deep passion for better aligning students with their natural aptitudes and really encouraging individualized success.  This involves using tools that have applicability in business and government like StrengthsFinder, called the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer, to help kids better understand themselves and what they are inclined to enjoy doing.  Understanding that linking people to the careers that will make them happy is one key to success spills over into Ed’s professional life in a significant way.  This article demonstrates how Qualcomm has created its own career center, called Career Explorations, to meet this need.  Qualcomm is one of very few global companies to put such a major focus on making sure its people can get the most out of their careers.  If it is good enough for such a large, successful company, perhaps it is also good enough  for rethinking how we get young people into pathways for lifelong success.

In the coming days I will switch the focus to provide compelling reasons to maintain the “A through G” curriculum focus and even take a side trip into the world of Craft Beer to talk about the passion behind Stone World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station and its founders.  To read the basic background about the education debate on June 6th, click here.  It is free to attend, but you must pre-register here.  Want general background on the fun debate format? Click here.

Thanks for visiting.

From → Education

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