Education Links to the Future Economy
By David Dey ~ Posted Fri, 12/14/2007 - 4:27pm
Many students are leaving school without the necessary tools, education and experiences to help them succeed in life.
The disconnection is largely because current educational approaches do not emphasize how education directly ties to economic value; for the most part students can’t see the link between what they are learning in the classroom to skills needed for the workforce or to run a business.
The focus in many classrooms is largely on math, language arts, science, etc. The problem arises when you ask students how what they are learning in the classroom will support their job, businesses or the economy as a whole because these aspects are missing from the classroom instruction. Students often fail to see why school is important and how to apply knowledge; inevitably some students fail to see the relevance of the school and they lose their motivation to learn or drop out altogether. The problem is compounded because teachers are required to cover the core subjects noted above and they possess little knowledge about our economic system, capitalism. The overall concern has broader implications because the US is falling grossly behind other countries that have begun the process of connecting educational outcomes to skills needed in the global marketplace.
As we look to strengthening our future schools and economy, I think we have to go even further by being intentional in Linking Education to the Future Economy with a multi-level approach. The strategies should:
- Increase teaching on capitalism and entrepreneurship as a core subject or electives in all schools (as early as the 6th grade)
- Implement applied learning to reinforce the connection between classroom-based instruction to real-world application that simulate or model the future economy; this will make the lessons both relevant and engaging for students. Students will also develop real businesses that address their current economic needs.
- Increase the focus on student achievement and how we compare nationally and internationally since we are in a global marketplace.
- Improve linkages between our educational outcomes to future job markets and business models (entrepreneurship and economic growth industries).
The above recommendations are based upon research I conducted as the Director of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. The research resulted in a Social Entrepreneurship based curriculum that provides teachers and students with education, experiences and knowledge on how to succeed in school and life.
If we fail to make the Education Links to the Future Economy, students across the board will continue to leave school. If we make the investments, students see more clearly how important education is and they will also have the tools and knowledge to be successful in life.