Editor's Note (The View From Here)
Alert: 2017 Ahead
- By Deborah P. Moore
- January 1st, 2017
Many are wondering what is in store for
education as our new president takes office. While
the debate may be about how to improve education,
the real focus will be on who gets the funding.
At risk: early childhood educational support. In December, state legislators participating
in the National Conference of State Legislatures’
(NCSL) Capitol Forum discussed the question:
Are early childcare and development programs an expense or
an investment? While there is national concern about educational
outcomes, many still question the cost and value of these programs.
Brain science research shows that early experiences affect the development
of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all
future learning, behavior and health.
Be careful what you wish for: school choice, vouchers and
tax credits. Our new president supports privately run, publicly
funded charter schools. School choice can help students trapped in
a bad school. The concern is discerning and funding “good” charter
schools. From a personal perspective, I have visited some great charter
schools… along with some that are really frightening. Key to any good
school, public or charter, are expectations (academic and conduct)
that are clearly defined and measurable; a commitment by students,
faculty and parents; and environments and curriculum that prepare
students for life in the real world. Unfortunately, I have seen some of
the privately run charters that were much better at marketing and
profit margins than they were at educating students. Overcrowded
classrooms, nonexistent technology and “teaching to the test” were
the norm. While the test scores may have looked good, students were
not being prepared for what comes next.
A need for higher education. Along with the focus on jobs, there
needs to be a focus on workforce development. If the research done by
the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
holds true, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require
postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Health
care, community services and STEM will grow the fastest among occupational
clusters. But with the new administration in place, so will
infrastructure. The Associated General Contractors of America reports
that many firms have gone from concern about not having enough work
to not having enough qualified workers. Without a workforce development
plan, labor shortages could undermine broader economic growth.
There is no question that this is the start of an interesting year!
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.