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Employers Challenge Schools to Make Learning Relevant

Business leaders want students to leave school with skills that help them survive in the real world.

At the recent Next New World conference hosted by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, panelists addressed the question of how the American education system can better prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st-century economy.

The panelists uniformly agreed that the United States education system does not adequately prepare students for the workforce.

“The problem is not to get incrementally better with our current education system,” said Tony Wagner, expert in residence at Harvard’s Innovation Lab. “The problem is to reimagine it.” 

Ideas suggested at the conference included:

  • Aligning with colleges: Bring K-12 curriculum in line with what colleges are teaching so students are better prepared.
  • Make sure college actually prepares students for the working world. Many on the panel argued that college programs are often divorced from actual work expectations.
  • Use a bottom-up, top-down strategy that allows everyone--parents, students and teachers--to be heard.

Read the full story on KQED here.


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