What Is “College and Career Readiness?” Does Anyone Know??

Schools aim their educational programs toward the achievement of high standardized test scores – a practice understandable from No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top requirements but not congruent with the needs of students who ultimately want jobs nor with the needs of businesses who are seeking to hire them for a 21st century economy.

Something is missing with what our educational system is doing. It’s incoherent!

Valerie Strauss, a reporter who runs The Answer Sheet for the Washington Post, shared a post written by Jonathan Hasak, who writes about the need for America’s education system to adapt to a changing economy.  Her article is titled, “You’ve heard the phrase ‘college and career readiness.’ But what exactly is it?”

Jonathan Hasak’s op ed in the San Francisco Chronicle states that “the failure to connect the habits and attitudes valued by employers to what is taught in the classroom has led to an unsurprising result: Oakland Tech graduates enter a workforce lacking the essential skills and knowledge that employers require. Insisting on a one-size-fit-all expectation that students attend four-year colleges has only led to the frustration of 5.8 million young adults who are now neither in school nor working, according to a recent report by Opportunity Next. A better route would instead build on students’ skills, interests and creativities.”

Hasak focuses on the incoherency of our educational goals – a focus on test scores and behavior at the expense of meaningful and applicable skills necessary to compete in an ever more complicated world.

The current and upcoming political debate about “Common Core” vs “Not Common Core” misses the point. The need is to discuss better ways to merge the needs of the career world with teaching the kinds of things that actually count – not to flog initiatives that are trying to address the problem.

The entire article in the Washington Post is worth reading – as is the earlier article in the San Francisco Chronicle.


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