Preparing kids for THEIR future

by Steve Wyckoff on March 12, 2010

I have just begun to read Howard Gardner’s new book Five Minds For The Future. And to my great surprise, I’m being facetious here, in the very first chapter he talks about the inadequacies of our educational system in preparing our kids for their future.

I’m actually not here to talk about his book today, I’ll do that at a later time.  it did prompted my thoughts about kids and their careers. I read two blog posts recently on the KS careers website. One talked about women in construction careers, the other talked about jobs in video gaming. It struck me that what we have traditionally done in schools, and continue to do in schools, does very little to prepare students for these kinds of careers.

These used to be considered nontypical careers. But more and more all careers are becoming nontypical. I often talk about careers in GPS/GIS. A year ago I didn’t even know there were careers in GPS/GIS. Then I visited with my friend, the president of North Central Kansas technical College, Clark Coco. He told me about their courses that prepare students for certification in GPS/GIS, and how today everything that is put in the ground, pillar, pipe or wire, in any way is mapped using GPS/GIS. Another nontypical career.

The point is that we prepare every student, graduating hundreds of thousands every year from K-12 schools, with virtually the same preparation, as if every one of their futures is going to be exactly the same. We mass-produce graduates. But more and more we don’t need thousands and thousands of students prepared with the same knowledge and skills. What we need are some, perhaps in the hundreds, students prepared to do thousands of different jobs.

We simply have to stop mass-producing the same kind of graduates. With the advancements in technology and knowledge about learning it is unconscionable that we haven’t applied that new learning to our schools in the 21st century. Everything in our world today, touching every aspect of our lives, has been customized and individualized … except our public education experiences. Preparing every student for the same standardized tests isn’t acceptable. In fact it’s detrimental to the individual student, to our society, and to our country. – Steve Wyckoff

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