Are Schools Teaching Kids the Right Skills?
My brother is about to enter his last year of college, and I’m terrified for him. Today’s job market is a wild and unpredictable place (a lesson I learned the hard way). Gone are the 40-year jobs with good pensions that gave our parents and grandparents so much security. Permanent jobs with benefits are hard to come by, and even if you’re lucky enough to land one, there’s a good chance you won’t stay longer than a few years.
What triggered this change? Well, a crappy economy brought on by predatory lenders, greedy corporations and devil-may-care Wall Street jockeys, for starters. An equally crappy education system didn’t help.
See, a strong, well-prepared workforce starts long before little Johnny or Jan submits that college application. The foundation for success (or failure) is laid in grade school. These early years are when tomorrow’s workers begin preparations for their eventual career, not only learning “reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic,” but also the basics of how to learn–something that is vital for life in a world powered by rapidly changing technology.
Unfortunately, schools at every level are failing kids on both accounts.
Half of the employers surveyed in a 2013 study by The Chronicle and American Public Media’s Marketplace “said they had trouble finding recent graduates qualified to fill positions at their company or organization. Nearly a third gave colleges just fair to poor marks for producing successful employees. And they dinged bachelor’s-degree holders for lacking basic workplace proficiencies, like adaptability, communication skills, and the ability to solve complex problems.”
“Woefully unprepared” is how the owner of one Northern Virginia technology consulting company put it.
In a 2014 survey by Gallup just 14 percent of Americans—and only 11 percent of business leaders—strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace.
So, not only are we doing a bad job of teaching children the basics, we’re also failing to provide the other skills they need to land the jobs of the future. And what are those skills, you ask? Scroll through the infographic below for a list of the top 10 (hint: they’re not things that can be assessed with a standardized test).
Tell us: What are you doing to make sure your child gains these skills?