Michael Bloomberg pushes career and college readiness in an op/ed in Bloomberg:
He establishes the problem:
One side thinks that every student should get an acceptance letter from a four-year college. The other argues that college is overrated and that we should focus on preparing young people for well-paid careers that don’t require a four-year education. The truth is that this isn’t an either/or situation. We need to do both: put more focus on college and careers, so students have a real choice…
…But whether or not they graduate, we haven’t given them the skills and training they need to begin a career, and they pay for that for the rest of their lives, in limited opportunities and lost earnings….
…..So on the one hand, we aren’t preparing high-school graduates for success in college, and on the other, we effectively treat non-college-bound students as second-class citizens, giving them no preparation for their next steps in life.
Isn’t this what Common Core which has been around eight years now supposed to remedy? Wasn’t this one of the talking points? Common Core has done neither. The whole workforce development model of education continues to fail.
All students regardless of whether they attend college or not deserve a well-rounded classical education, and until schools start to provide that we’ll continue to see kids not prepared for college or careers.
Bloomberg then does his best Bill Gates’ impression:
Let’s start with what it takes to prepare students for the choice between college or a career: improving achievement in the early grades.
By now, there is plenty of evidence for what works. Raise standards for students; raise salaries for teachers in exchange for greater accountability; give principals the freedom to hire, manage, and train school staff; ensure that every classroom is led by a skilled and effective teacher; ensure that teachers who fail, even after getting mentoring and professional development, can be moved out of the classroom; and give students and parents more quality school options, including charters.
He throws out a number of things here. Some have evidence, others not so much. Great teachers help to raise student achievement. I don’t think there is any denying that. What do great teachers look like? How do we best prepare them? Bloomberg and others talk about good teachers, but they don’t define that.
That isn’t where the focus of reform efforts have been. Instead, it has been on standards, assessments, and data mining. Education reformers keep beating the broken standards and accountability drum.