Education fix for the economy

Most Likely to Succeed Trailer from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

President Trump promised to bring jobs back. I want to believe that. But I can’t. President Trump says he will keep factories here and give people back manufacturing jobs. But I think any jobs that remain here are just temporary. The manufacturing jobs of the past are dying.

We are talking about business. And in business the bottom line matters. People are expensive but automation is not.

Low skill manufacturing jobs are are a thing of the past. No matter how many we bring back, it is a short-term gain. It will not change the fact that in three to five years most of those jobs (if not all of them) will probably go away. Which leaves us in the same predicament we are in right now, with people who are disenfranchised, angry, and feel forgotten.

Actually, it is going to get worse. Automation is threatening more industries than just manufacturing. As the driverless car gets perfected, the trucking industry is threatened. Artificial Intelligence is even threatening to replace white-collar industries like trading. There are computers that are outperforming humans in hedge fund investing.

A high school diploma is no longer a guarantee to a decent paying job. A college degree is not a guarantee either, as we see more and more college graduates struggling to find a job.

Our schools are not teaching the skills students need to get a job. To compound the issue, to get technical skills requires additional school. The cost of trade schools and colleges pushes people’s financial limits.

Now we have a Secretary of Education who is woefully inadequate and lacks the basic understanding of education, training, and learning.

So where does that leave us?

On the surface things seems bleak.

But we can make a change. We can come together, fight, and make a change to improve our schools. And it needs to be a meaningful and well thought out change, not just change for the sake of change.

We already have teachers who are pushing the boundaries. They are innovators and every day they find new ways to inspire kids to learn and be great. We need a system that encourages these educators.

Instead we seek to standardize because we fear something that is different and new.

There are schools that have broken boundaries in teaching. Schools that encourage kids to think, to fail, and to play. We need a system that seeks out these schools, studies them, and finds a way to share what they are doing.

But we must remember to not fear these schools, they may be different, but different is where we push the boundaries of innovation and change.

We need to demand schools not only teach literacy in reading, writing, and math, but we need to demand schools have apprentice programs in technical trades.

Our schools need to catch up. We need to stop training and educating people for jobs that no longer exist. We need to create an education environment to prepare kids for the jobs we have yet to imagine.

We need to not be afraid of moving away from report cards that say things like A, B, C and D.

Instead, we need to find a better way to assess our kids comprehension and knowledge.

We need to not be afraid to move away from standardized tests that demand rote memorization of pre-determined sets of information.

Instead, we need to embrace that learning should not be standard; learning should be broken down to the individual student and that student’s potential.

The current system is less than optimal and we cannot accept what we’ve been given. We also cannot rely on hoping this administration gets it right. If we do we will continue to widen the gap of the skills businesses need in their employees and the skills graduates have learned.

We need to come together. We need to accept that the school our kids need to go to will look and feel different than the ones we grew up with.

We need to demand better for our kids, for our economy, and for the future of our country.


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