Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow
Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers
Foreign capital. Trade deficits. High quality education. Inventory investment. As a question in a game of "which one of these is not like the other," that one's a cinch. Yet this report from the President's economic council finds education and economics to be deeply entwined. It examines how, after the worst recession since the Great Depression, America can and should prepare its workforce for the future. In particular, jobs will increasingly require critical thinking abilities, instead of specific technical skills. But the path to gaining these skills does not lie solely in the direction of what we now know as "21st Century" skill-based standards and their ilk, explains the report. Rather, high quality primary-secondary education must focus on "strong basic skills," "quality instruction," "high standards," "rigorous assessments," and "strong accountability," too. The report also finds that the education industry is "expected to contribute most substantially to job growth," as students look to become educators and administrators; we, too, found that science and math majors in our home state of Ohio were also interested in the education field. Though this report devotes the majority of its pages to post-high school training, the bottom line is that our economic crisis should be addressed from the bottom up--and the bottom starts young. It's an important reminder from a new administration that strong standards, teacher quality, and accountability reform are not only beneficial to the individual student, but to the nation as a whole. Read the report here.
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