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Guest Thinkers

Yes, there should be an economic aspect to schooling

Many folks are concerned that schools today are mostly about churningnout worker bees for uncaring corporations who are more than happy to chew upnemployees and spit them out in favor of others, perhaps overseas, who arencheaper. Like MikenParent, my guest blogger this week, they arenworried about mission statements like that of the The New Jersey High SchoolnRedesign Steering Committee, which states that it is ‘working to buildnpublic awareness and support for a more rigorous high school experience, onenthat allows students to succeed in the workforce or in pursuing higherneducation.’


I’m not one of those people. Although I, too, want my children to be happy,ncreative, caring, self-directed, intellectually curious, and environmentallynaware, I also want them to be contributing members to society. And, if theyndecide to challenge certain statuses quo, I want them to have the toolsnto be able to do that successfully. I think that means preparing them to benpowerfully productive in the technology-suffused, globally-interconnected futurenin which they’re going to live. If they can’t play, work, thrive, and influence others in thatnworld, they’re going to be marginalized, impotent outsiders.


So, with all due respect to ClaynBurell, I see Did YounKnow? 2.0 as a conversation starter for how the world is changingnaround us but, like Karl Fisch,nI don’t see it as an overt call for preparing students solely for economicncompetitiveness. Nor do I think it is fair to label WilliamnFarren’s excellent Did You Ever Wonder? video as a ‘vitalncounterpoint’ to the issues in the Did You Know? video. I see no reasonnwhy equipping students with 21st century skills is in opposition to preparingnthem to be ecologically-responsible citizens. In fact, a strong argument couldnbe made that it is only by equipping our students with 21st centurynskills that they will be in a position to solve the massive problems that we arenbestowing upon them.


Collinsnand Porras note that we should be embracing the ‘genius of the and‘nrather than the ‘tyranny of the or.’ I agree. I will be preparing mynchildren to be productive 21st century citizens and employees. I willnbe preparing my children to be environmentally-aware andneconomically-productive. I am hoping – and, indeed, counting on – many othersndoing the same.


One year ago:
Onlinenmultimedia textbooks: A strategic investment and Onlinenmultimedia textbooks: Follow-up



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