If I Were Running A Company…Programmed

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

There was an education research in the past 40 years of the distribution of degrees by field of study. The research show, as you see in the chart, business, computer and information sciences, and communications/journalism degrees are popular now, while history, education, and English degrees decrease the past 40 years.

Then again, college enrollment has been growing the past 40 years and majors have been spread around with some majors focusing on careers (like health administration), which is good.

Then again, this past week when a kindergarten class in Elwood, New York cancelled their play to “focus on college prep”. Yes, a school cancelled a play because they are preparing their kids 12 years from now.

So, what has these stories have in common except the premise of education?

To me, it is about some schools (K-12) forcing upon, mostly by their local and state governments, to focus on test scores for survival of the school (and teachers) instead of focusing on the kid’s development. Instead of what kids want to do when they grow up, we’re telling the “Keep up the scores (for our benefit)!”

I have said before that college is there for students to find what they want to do, while in K-12, it’s discovering what you’re good at and learning the basics. In K-12, you have to learn many disciplines from science, math, history, and other subjects. Why not use the subject and infuse to what the student likes such as comics, fantasy sports, video games, fashion, home economics, et al? Of course, you have one teacher  for every 10-20 students (depending on the size of the school) you have to teach and you can’t teach every individual. This is why you have programs, like City Year, who kids can relate to help guide through school. Students should have joy of learning from their strengths instead of being bogged down by straight learning

I also mention that if you want to diversify your skills, go into integrated studies (like this) or have a major and minor to keep you sane in an insane world. You know what you’re good at, but take courses that you want to learn and go in.

There’s no silver bullet of solving this problem on education, but one thing for sure is there are more things out there for kids to choose from. Schools should reflect on the choices that are out there, instead of teaching them what’s going to be on a standardized test. We should encourage students to build intangibles instead of tangible, some believe, can be intangibles. I doubt anything will change anytime soon and it needs to be fixed.

 

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