This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

November 12, 2003

Changing Educational Landscape

The next few years will see some significant changes in the education field. Colleges, universities, employers, and military organizations will increase the pressure on the public school system to produce a better quality graduate. Too many of today's high school graduates are simply not prepared for post-secondary education and training.

Colleges and universities will be challenged to meet the expectations of employers. Not enough graduates are being produced; at current graduation rates, we will be millions short as we move through the next 5-15 years. The problem will get worse before it gets better, particularly with labor shortages creating jobs that will tempt prospective students away from the pursuit of higher education.

Our society will demand that schools place more emphasis on science and mathematics, while insisting that students develop better communications skills. Schools and teachers unions will be forced to open their doors to experienced practitioners who have not earned teaching degrees, finding ways to equip people with instructional expertise.

The roles of schools and school personnel will come under scrutiny. Higher concentration on technology in education will likely interfere with the social and spiritual health of students. Furthermore, technology funding will take money away from non-technical and social curricula. School administrators, unions, school boards and the government will resist changing the educational model, creating conflict at the national and local school district levels.

Future schools will be open longer hours. They will provide instruction at non-traditional, off-site locations throughout the community, with a strong focus on connecting classrooms with worksites. In Kansas and Pennsylvania, some hospitals and local school systems already collaborate, with great results. Tomorrow's students will learn on flexible schedules and receive regular evaluations, with educational development addressed on a more individualized basis as students move---faster or slower---at their own pace.

Teachers will function more like counselors and managers, though some will prefer to remain only teachers. Educational staff and students will be held to higher standards of accountability.

As parents seek the best vehicles to prepare their children for the future, charter schools, private day schools, and boarding schools will become more popular.

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