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What do you think needs to happen to turn around the education system in K-12 schools to meet the needs of future employer

 

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2).  Read the article listed above.

3).  Answer the question, "What do you think needs to happen to turn around the education system in K-12 schools to meet the needs of future employers in all job industries? 

OVERVIEW

Canada, Japan, China, Finland, Hong Kong (a territory), Estonia, Singapore, Poland, Korea, and Taiwan have been recognized as top performers in education. This distinction is a result of student performance in the areas of reading, math, and science. In 2009, a report was released entitled, "Why We're Behind: a Report by Common Core." The information shared how American schools have consistently ranked lower than China, Europe, and Canada. 

One distinct difference between the United States and these countries is each has a national curriculum. What is it about these countries that outrank American schools in math and science? Do they focus more on math and science than reading, or do they concentrate evenly on all subjects?
In this report, we find answers to those questions by comparing these systems to the U.S. and one another to understand better how they function, how they are similar and different, and how they address their unique challenges. And we explore how they are changing to anticipate the future (Cortese & Ravitch, 2009).

Topic

National Curriculums Around the Globe

 

Business Education

The U.S. Education System Isn’t Giving Students What Employers Need

by Michael Hansen May 18, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic stripped millions of Americans of their jobs. As of April

2021, the economy was still down 4 million jobs compared to February 2020. At

the same time, we are seeing unprecedented labor shortages, with 8.1

million jobs open and unfilled across the U.S. Markets that saw explosive growth

due to the pandemic, such as cybersecurity and technology, are struggling to

maintain the levels of innovation needed to continue that trend, because they

can’t find the right talent.

How can this be the case when nearly 10 million people are currently

unemployed and looking for a job?

It’s because the U.S. education system is not held accountable for ensuring that

students are properly equipped with the skills and capabilities to prepare for a

career where they can obtain financial stability. Additionally, employers continue

to rely on a traditional four-year degree requirement as a primary means of

determining job candidate employability. The disconnect here is obvious, and the

result is nearly 15 million un- or under-employed individuals.

This archaic system simply no longer works in our modern world. The U.S.

education system must be reevaluated to better prepare students with

employable skills. And employers need to adjust how they evaluate candidates

and job requirements. By facing this problem head on, the education industry can

aid in the economic recovery from the pandemic and prevent similar hiring gaps

in the future.

To start, we must focus on how our current education system is preparing

students for employment. A recent Cengage survey (publication forthcoming) of

Americans who graduated from a two-year/community or four-year college in

the past five years found that nearly one in five (19%) reported that their college

education experience did not provide them with the skills needed to perform

their first post-degree job. Additionally, more than half (53%) of these college

graduates have not applied to an entry-level job in their field because they felt

unqualified, and nearly half (42%) felt unqualified because they did not have all

the skills listed in the job description.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, job postings for entry-level positions that

require a bachelor’s degree fell by 45% — pointing to the fact that employers

simply want candidates who have more skills and experience in the real world.

But if our system is failing to prepare students for a career, how can we expect

education to be the building block of our economy and a tenet of talent

recruitment?

There’s a direct disconnect between education and employability, where

employers view universities and colleges as the gatekeepers of workforce talent,

yet those same institutions aren’t prioritizing job skills and career

readiness. This not only hurts employers, but also sets the average American

worker up for failure before they’ve even begun their career, as new employees

who have been hired based on their four-year educational background often lack

the actual skills needed to perform in their role. To create change as an industry,

we must provide greater credibility to alternate education paths that allow

students to gain employable skills.

A Longstanding Stigma Around Vocational and Non-Traditional Education

The U.S. may be one of the only countries where a stigma around vocational and

technical training still exists. In Europe, countries such as Germany, Austria, and

Switzerland have long seen vocational education as a pathway to the middle

class, and an effective system to provide students with the skills they’ll need to

further their career. In America, two-thirds (65%) of all open jobs require a

bachelor’s or associate’s degree, which eliminates career paths for millions of

Americans and, quite frankly, is not necessary to succeed in many of today’s open

jobs. Yet, businesses continue to penalize applicants who follow nontraditional

education paths, as nearly two-thirds (61%) of business and HR leaders admit to

tossing out resumes without four-year degrees, even if the applicant was

qualified.

This means that businesses are losing out on millions of qualified candidates for

whom a four-year education in America wasn’t attainable. And for many of these

individuals, it’s because the cost of a four-year degree isn’t affordable. In 2019,

the U.S. median household income was roughly $68,703 per year, while tuition

and fees alone for higher education institutions reached $10,560 for in-state

students at four-year public institutions in the 2020-21 academic year; $27,020

for out-of-state four-year public institutions; and $37,650 for four-year private

institutions. (With room and board and other fees, many four-year college

degrees can cost as much as $70,000 per year.) This cost is not sustainable for

many families (arguably, most families), which is why opting for a skills-based

vocational education can and should be a fruitful path to consider.

Evolving the Employer Mindset — Breaking Free of Traditional Paths

Some organizations are taking their own approach to providing valuable

alternate education options. For example, IBM created their Pathways in

Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) to help students gain employable

digital skills, while Google recently announced new certificate programs and job

search experiences aimed at finding roles that match candidates’ experience and

education. At Cengage, we are also continuing to question the system, working

with higher ed institutions to create equitable access to education and drive

career readiness, while also rethinking our own hiring policies to expand beyond

degree-only requirements. For example, within our technology organization, we

have dropped bachelor’s degree requirements, recognizing that for a number of

these jobs, the skill set required can be obtained through alternate pathways

outside of a traditional degree, such as micro-credentials and certificate

programs.

To build a strong workforce with the skills needed to find career success, we

need to realize that both employers and higher education institutions have a role

to play.

Hiring managers must consider traditional education paths may no longer be the

standard:

• Consider how many of your open roles truly require a traditional degree.

Start by defining what skills are needed for open roles and determine if

those skills can be developed through alternate pathways other than a

traditional degree. What supplementary value does a degree bring to the

role?

• Make adjustments to current job requirements and descriptions where

possible to cater to a variety of educational pathways. Consider having a

third party review open job descriptions to ensure the language you’re

using is not inhibiting candidates from nontraditional backgrounds from

applying. Continuing to overlook prospective employees who have

pursued a different learning path will prevent workforce diversity, equity,

opportunity, and meaningful output.

• Offer opportunities for training and certificate programs to help upskill

employees.

Higher education institutions should collaborate with employers to align

educational offerings with the skills needed to perform jobs in the real world:

• Create a stronger dialogue between businesses and institutions, rather

than the blind trust we see today, to establish a workforce where people

are prepared for their careers.

• Provide options for micro-credentials, badges, programs, and

certificates as interest is rising among American students.

• Rather than focusing on the two- or four-year degree or credential as the

output, help students identify and more easily demonstrate to employers

what job-ready skills they’ve developed as part of their education and

training.

Misalignment between success in enrollment and career readiness at educational

institutions creates a difficult dichotomy for recruiters and HR teams, who must

choose between hiring an employee with a required degree versus one with the

skills needed for the job. The answer should be obvious — the employer attitude

toward non-traditional education paths must change to open the talent pool and

build a workforce that’s ready for the future. Now is the time for employers to

increase credibility for skills-based hiring, to remove stigmas around vocational

education, and to move forward to create equal opportunities for all students.

Michael Hansen is the Chief Executive Officer of Cengage, an education technology company serving

millions of learners worldwide.

Read more on Business Education or related topics Business

Education, Hiring And Recruitment, Developing Employees, and Talent

Management

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