This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0
 

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 21, 1999

Whither Education? Part 1: Public Schools

10 days until January 1, 2000
376 days until January 1, 2001

Our public schools are not doing an adequate job of preparing young people for today's world of work. An equally serious concern is that the schools are far from where they need to be in their preparation of students for the demands of employment in the future.

Employers are dissatisfied with the level of capability of today's high school-and even college-graduates. When these entry level workers are hired and can not perform as expected, employers are forced to invest in company-paid training to get workers up to speed. Supervisors, unaccustomed to managing people who simply don't understand what work is all about, are challenged to the point that they force new employees to leave or quit themselves.

Current conditions can not continue. Major reform is coming in our educational system. We see that a substantial part of this shift will come from business driven educational models. More schools-and school systems-will be managed by private companies contracted by local school boards. The boards will be forced into dramatic changes for political reasons as their communities loudly and urgently express their dissatisfaction.

There are great arguments underway between educators, administrators, and politicians about students passing standardized tests at various levels of their education. Educators complain they're forced to "teach to the test." Parents bemoan that their kids can't do well on the tests. If the tests are legitimate measures of at least some of the knowledge students are expected to have, this process will be enforced. If not, the process will be modified, but the testing-the proof-must still be there. Beyond teaching to the test, educators must re-design their methods to get the job done. We will see greater investments of resources, length of school sessions, and other strategies applied to raise the standards and performance.

Expect to see a lot of controversy over the next few years, resulting in substantial changes in the way we educate our children.

Glitch: Last week we announced that our Future Quiz was ready at our web site, www.herman.net. One of those little "technical difficulties" slipped in on us, so it didn't work when you tried it. Thanks for all your e-mails! The future quiz is now operational . . . waiting for you.


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