Industry-Based College and Career Readiness

CCR

Reposted from EdSource:

Ensuring schools are adequately preparing students for careers is just as important as ensuring they prepare students for college, says a new paper that proposes districts add specific career-readiness measures, such as the number of students who complete work-based learning programs, to their accountability plans to the public. “Developing strong, supportive pathways that incorporate both college- and career-ready skills is our best bet for ensuring students will find their way to a productive future,” said the paper, released Tuesday by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, or SCOPE.

The report provides three recommendations for career preparation measures that schools should include in their Local Control and Accountability Plans, or LCAPs. The plans, required under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula for school districts, require districts to outline how they will meet eight educational priority areas mandated by the state. One of those areas requires districts to ensure that all students have access to classes preparing them for college and careers.

The report’s authors based their recommendations on a review of college and career measures in a number of states. The paper recommends that accountability plans include:

  • The proportion of students who complete career preparation programs that blend college-preparatory academics with workplace training;
  • The proportion of students who complete work-based learning experiences; and
  • The proportion of students who demonstrate they have a set of skills and knowledge in a certain field, such as those who obtain industry-approved work certificates upon high school graduation, or those who earn “virtual badges” certifying they are proficient in certain areas.

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Teacher Prep Programs Require More Rigor

teachertraining

Reposted from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Are teacher-training programs rigorous enough? A new study, completed by a group that has long been critical of the quality of teacher preparation, makes the case that they’re not. Education students face easier coursework than their peers in other departments, according to the study, and they’re more likely to graduate with honors.

The report [PDF] —”Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them,” which is to be released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality—argues that a more-objective curriculum for teaching candidates would better prepare them for careers in the classroom. “We’re out to improve training,” said Julie Greenberg, the report’s co-author, who is a senior policy analyst for teacher-preparation studies for the advocacy group. “We want teacher candidates to be more confident and competent when they get in the classroom so their students can benefit from that.”

The council examined more than 500 institutions and found that 30 percent of all their graduating students earned honors. But when it came to education programs, 44 percent of students did so. It also analyzed syllabi across multiple majors to determine whether their assignments were “criterion-referenced” (that is, explicitly knowledge- or skill-based) or “criterion-deficient” (that is, subjective). It found that criterion-deficient assignments were more common in teacher-preparation classes than in other disciplines.

Read the full report here.

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The College-Workplace Disconnect

tower

Reposted from CNBC:

“A Gallup-Purdue University study describes a huge disconnect between what college presidents think students need to launch successful postgraduate careers and what the schools are actually delivering. The survey, which involved more than 30,000 students, tackled topics such as internship experience, availability of mentors, enthusiastic teachers, special projects and extracurricular activities.

The biggest sticking point: Internships. On average, less than a third of undergraduates say they had an internship that reflected their course of study, and there’s concern the numbers will go lower.

“I consider that a monumental failure,” said Gallup Education Executive Director Brandon Busteed, who says business leaders have been expressing serious dissatisfaction over how qualified new graduates are for entry-level jobs. “Part of what we are seeing is that there is still a lot of hubris in higher education,” he said. “Most of these college presidents have a lot of confidence that their own institution is just fine. But then we talk about the future of higher education and they are pretty negative.”

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Aspiring Adults Adrift: The Impact of Colleges Failing Students

hire-me

Reposted from the New York Times:

“Four years ago, the sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa dropped a bomb on American higher education. Their groundbreaking book, “Academically Adrift,” found that many students experience “limited or no learning” in college. Today, they released a follow-up study, tracking the same students for two years after graduation, into the workplace, adult relationships and civic life. The results suggest that recent college graduates who are struggling to start careers are being hamstrung by their lack of learning.

“Academically Adrift” called into question what college students were actually getting for their increasingly expensive educations. But some critics questioned whether collegiate learning could really be measured by a single test. Critical thinking skills are, moreover, only a means to an end. The end itself is making a successful transition to adulthood: getting a good job, finding a partner, engaging with society. The follow-up study, “Aspiring Adults Adrift,” found that, in fact, the skills measured by the C.L.A. make a significant difference when it comes to finding and keeping that crucial first job.

On average, college graduates continue to fare much better in the job market than people without degrees. But Mr. Arum and Mr. Roksa’s latest research suggests that within the large population of college graduates, those who were poorly taught are paying an economic price. Because they didn’t acquire vital critical thinking skills, they’re less likely to get a job and more likely to lose the jobs they get than students who received a good education. Yet those same students continue to believe they got a great education, even after two years of struggle. This suggests a fundamental failure in the higher education market — while employers can tell the difference between those who learned in college and those who were left academically adrift, the students themselves cannot.”

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Video

Sir Ken Robinson: Redefining Learning, Career Paths, Dreams & Success [VIDEO 8:49]

Robinson discusses how college and careers have changed over time, and how the assumptions of the past may not hold true for young people today. He brings the discussion full circle back to creativity, and why it is essential to the future of public education.

A Tale of ‘Too Big to Fail’ in Higher Education

CCSF

Reposted from the New York Times:

“For the last two years, the City College of San Francisco has operated in the shadow of imminent death. It is the city’s main community college, with 77,000 students, and in June 2012 its accreditor warned that chronic financial and organizational mismanagement threatened its future. If the problems weren’t fixed in short order, the accreditor said, it would shut down the college. A year later, the accreditor decided that City College’s remedial efforts were too little, too late, and ordered the campus to close its doors this July.

The political backlash was fierce. The faculty union lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Education against the accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, challenging its right to exist. A separate lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial this year. Politicians including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, whose district includes part of City College, issued public condemnations. Finally, last month, with the scheduled closing date weeks away, the accreditor gave in. The college was granted two more years to improve, and most observers assume that the threat of dissolution has passed.

Most of City College’s problems, however, remain unsolved. Its brush with mortality illustrates a much larger problem in higher education. Millions of students are enrolled in colleges accountable to no one other than accreditors that lack the will and authority to govern them. Because the consequences of closing these institutions are so severe, they have become, in effect, “too big to fail.””

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America’s College-Educated Workers Increasingly Attracted to “High Skill Cities”

citySF

This is consistent with the projections of KnowledgeWorks 3.0 and its concept of shareable cities. The future is arriving!

Reposted from Stanford News:

“Economic well-being inequality in American metropolitan areas increased 67 percent from 1980 to 2000, primarily due to changes in wages, housing costs and local amenities. This is even greater than the 50 percent rise in the difference between wages for high school and college graduates in U.S. cities. The research sample included 218 metropolitan areas in the United States and was restricted to people 25 to 55 years old who worked at least 35 hours per week. 

The reason is that high-skill cities also offer residents more amenities for quality living – entertainment, educational opportunities, better air quality and lower crime rates. The higher housing costs do not fully dilute the real amount of consumption that college workers derive from their high wages, she said. “If the economic value of living in a high-amenity city more than compensates college graduates for the high housing prices, the growth in wage inequality would understate the increase in economic well-being inequality,” Rebecca Diamond, an assistant professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business wrote. “High-skill cities not only appear to offer the highest wages, but also a better quality of life.”

What can cities and communities do? Diamond suggests that local governments attract college graduates by creating desirable amenities. “Policies that could achieve this include offering tax incentives to firms employing high-skill workers,” she wrote, “or funding amenities valued by college graduates such as policies targeting reductions in crime or improvements in the quality of local schools.””

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