Monday’s Mtg: Are Schools Prepping Our Kids for 21st Century Jobs?

I’ve been trying to get us to talk more about education  and other topics that don’t quite this group’s demographic profile.  I thought this week we would try to come at it from another angle, the angle most people day-to-day care the most about:  What should schools be prepping kids for in the new century?  What knowledge, skills, and abilities should America’s young people be equipped with to make it in this new world of work that our country is creating, for good or ill?

Originally, Jim had suggested that we try to do a field trip before this meeting to one of the local “high-tech high schools” in the area.  Sorry.  I forgot to try to set it up.  Maybe another time, since they appear to allow campus tours.  Instead, I’m linking to several very interesting articles  on the alleged “new” skills that, in a networked, collaborative world, will matter more and more in the future.

But – the other direction angle –  I thought I’d start with a little intro on what jobs might be available in the next ten years  and beyond.  The Labor Department and the private sector study this all the time.  Then, using the links, I’ll tick off the alleged knowledge, skills. And abilities schools may need to help teach today’s kids to give them a fighting chance in tomorrow’s American job jungle.  Then, the usual mass agreement I’m sure.

I love topics and debates that are future-oriented.  They stretch us.

Discussion Questions –

  1. What kinds of jobs are likely to be available in the next 10-20 years for today’s young people?
  2. What do these predictions tell us about  where our economy and society are heading?  Is it someplace good for most Americans, or just for the educated elite?  Is the answer to this problem really outside of education policy?
    à  FYI, our Nov. 25 topic is, “are we too pessimistic about our economic future?”
  3. What KSA (knowledge, skills, abilities) will young people need to get and hold these jobs, and to advance in stable careers that keep them in the middle class?
  4. How can schools teach/encourage these KSAs?  Where else could young people acquire these skills (vocational, on-line, on the job)?
  5. How do we measure schools’ success or failure at all this?  Testing?  What else?
  •  My idea is to have future topics on some of these new education tools, like on-line learning and for-profit colleges.

Links –

Where will the jobs be?

  • Mainly in 6 sectors:  health care, business services, leisure and hospitality, construction, manufacturing, and retail.  Ponder how many of these jobs will be low-wage!  I recommend.
  • Longer study of where the jobs will be, from USN&WR.

What KSA’s will they require?

How should schools teach these things?

Wait a minute!


NEXT WEEK, featuring a guest speaker!  How should the Federal Reserve help the economy?


3 responses

  1. A nationwide test, known as the National Report Card, was conducted in 2011, Only 12% of students passed the test in history; but what that means is questionable since only 2$ were
    able to answer a question about the Brown vs. Board decision, even though the question was worded in such a way as to make the answer obvious.

    See Sam Dillon, “US Students remain poor at history, tests show,” New York Times,
    June 15, 2011

  2. I just found this and linked to it on our FB page. Amazingly like the suggestions we were making.

  3. Just to pick up on the “no tenure” provision: Don’t be deceived. There is a reason to give professors tenure. Without it, they would be subject to the most blatant political pressure and sooner or later the university would deteriorate.

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