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We can produce great citizens and responsible voters all we want, something
we are not doing a good job of either by the way (only 50% of adults vote
and over 1-2% of the adult male population is in jail...). Unless, we
provide them with skills to succeed, we are promoting hamburger flipping
and as the career goal for our students. Instead of arguing about this,
just call up some employers and ask. I spent 3 recent years doing that when
I built a series of IT programs for a non-K-12 organization. Employers
resoundingly told me that K-12 IT as it currently exists is a grave concern
to them and encouraged me to do it differently according to their standards
and recommendations, which I did, resulting in great career opportunities
for the students who did not go on to college. Being certified in Access
proves to an employer that you are certifiable and can gain skills and
certifications in other mor advanced databases, to respond to the comment
about no need for basic IT certifications. Being certified in nothing
proves nothing. I just went on and checked careers in the Burlington Free
Press as someone suggested. Guess what??? There are some entry level jobs
looking for technology skills (not a single one looking for Mac skills,
though...) where high school graduates qualify. Same with Monster.com...
Again, these jobs look for people with PC Skills and skills in Microsoft
Office. A candidate having tangible evidence of skills such as industry
certifications will get that job, not the Mac user who can do nothing but
talk about his supposed computer skills but have no proof. We cannot escape
technology reality, and this reality is driven by the industry, NOT
education that some of us seem to believe. Education is so resistent to
change that we fail to create necessary technology opportunities in order
for students to succeed after high school. Or maybe it's not resistance.
Maybe it's a competence problem. Regardless, Vermont is failing in
educating our students and faculty in technology, regardless how we look at
it. We are behind many other states, and certainly behind many other
countries. We have poor accountability, questionable competence, and no
tangible evidence of either teacher or student technology literacy. The
extreme resistance to change in K-12 is certainly not helping. Status quo
only keeps K-12 faculty and staff remain in their comfort zone, and perhaps
that's why we resist. We, faculty and staff, are the real problem to
technology excellence in K-12. If we want our students who do not go on to
college to become hamburger flippers, let's just keep doing what are are
doing. The US is faced with a huge growing problem of lack of competent
workers in engineering, science and technology in the future. Unless K-12
starts improving in technology, we are only contributing to this problem.
We need to think about the future of our students and the country, not our
own educational philosophy and comfort zone. We cannot remain isolated from
the rest of the world in our K-12 cocoon, we are interconnected. By the
way, I hear McDonald's is thinking about having Mac software run their
French Fries broiler. No tangible evidence validating technology competence
needed to qualify.