Education is the key to innovation!
The face of American education is changing. Innovative education models, like online learning and charter schools, are becoming larger players in the education space.
Americans are looking for choices in how their children are being educated. Choices in education are not only for the affluent anymore. From the cities, to the suburbs, to the countryside, parents are taking advantage of different educational models. Universities and adult education institutions are constantly finding new ways to bring education to the people.
Instinctively, both parents and teachers know we must adapt our educational strategies to a 21st century world.
We live in a global market where we must remain competitive. This means that our students here in Chester and Berks Counties will one day compete with individuals from around the world for jobs.
We know that companies tend to settle in countries where you have highly qualified and educated people.
Today, if an American high school student would like to attend a university in Europe, they must continue their academic studies to achieve the level of an Associate’s Degree in our educational system even to be admitted, because they are considered “behind” in the necessary academic skills required to enroll.
If America is the #1 Economy in the world then why are we lagging behind in education?
Serving as a school board member for the Coatesville Area School District, I have learned first-hand what it takes to educate our children, where the pitfalls are, and where innovation is needed.
We are blessed with many great school districts in the 6th District. I have learned that we can do even more by developing innovative education solutions for non-college bound students. For generations, Americans have been focused on those students who are college bound which is wonderful for some, but it has also resulted in unsatisfactory methods like “teaching to the test” which has hampered the creativity of our teaching professionals and disenfranchised many students who need to prepare for their futures in a different way.
Every student is a critical component of our future economy and we must provide them with the best technology and skills for their personal and economic success.
Working with community innovators…
The private sector is increasingly willing to support innovation in education. For example, companies like Apple offer educational courses for students of all ages to learn how to code. There are even teaching aids for very young students in the area of coding that we can provide for students as early as Pre-K to start them on the right path to 20th Century learning. In many cases these programs are free, but some school districts don’t know about these programs or have trouble figuring out how to implement them.
Often companies are forced to look overseas for workers with the skills to compete in our economy. We need to begin preparing every student in both primary and secondary schools to be competitive in their own communities.
It is imperative that educators and businesses work together by offering various industry apprenticeships and professional internship programs to create pathways to the types of training that will give all of our students the opportunities they need.
We must allow our educators to experiment and continue to develop new educational models going forward.
We must continue to broaden and diversify what we can offer our students in education if we want to prepare them properly. This is particularly important in the urban and rural areas where students are at risk of falling behind.
We must be very practical and precise in how we distribute our education funding so that we get the most for the money given by our taxpayers.