Is Education Focused on the Wrong Skills?

Most students don’t like school. And it’s not the fault of teachers but rather of the insistence that we teach the same old tired things to students who already have access to vast and immediate information on a variety of subjects. What students do need to learn are critical thinking skills that will prepare them for opportunities that lie ahead.

The 2021 NACE survey on the most-needed attributes employers are looking for include the following:

  • Ability to work in a team
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Technical skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Strong work ethic

Not one of the employers surveyed listed the date or contents of the Gettysburg address, or the year in which Hawaii became a state, as critical knowledge.

We Need to Move Education from the Industrial Revolution to the Technological Revolution

Garrett Smiley, co-founder and CEO of Sora Schools, a network of future-focused schools, wrote in a recent Forbes article,

There is cognitive dissonance of obsessing over the knowledge of facts during a child’s school years while simultaneously dismissing their importance shortly thereafter. As a result, students are left to believe they’re not made for school when, in reality, schools were not made for them. An educational system built for the Industrial Revolution no longer fits our modern-day needs.

Smiley offers some basic, common-sense ways we can improve education, suggesting we focus on the needs of the students, encourage them to “chase [their] wild dreams,” and scrap our grading system and our obsessive focus on teaching to tests and measuring worth (of teachers and students) through standardized test results.

We couldn’t agree more.

Connecting All Students to Opportunity through Technology and Leadership

Our mission, connecting all students to opportunity through technology and leadership, is more than just words. In fact, everything we do and every decision we make, from the solutions we develop to the strategic partnerships we form to the community support we provide, is in line with our mission. We firmly believe that connecting students to opportunity is a fundamentally important goal. We believe that these pillars of technology and leadership are what will help guide us through the education revolution that is so desperately needed.

We need more voices like Garrett Smiley’s who recognize the undue burden placed on teachers, often put there by legislators who have never spent a day in a classroom outside their own time as students back in the days of chalkboards.

The Future of Education Is Now

The students now in school will grow up in a world unlike that which any of us have ever known. What we do now to prepare them is essential. It’s time to upend education and focus on what students need to know to survive and thrive in a fast-paced, tech-driven world.

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