Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why Do We Learn ? To Make A Living And To Make A Life

Thirty five years ago, right after a very bad recession, I wrote a position paper for my boss on creating a five year bachelors degree with year one of the degree devoted to how to learn and specific vocational kills that relate to the ultimate bachelors. The goal was simple, to provide job training so that the learner would have a way to live and pay for their continuing educating. A three step program, basic job skills and training, academic basics, degree specifics; a 1-2-2 year program of self sufficiency and education.

But it was doomed to failure.

First, training was the province of the Vo-tech education system, not colleges.

Second, two year degrees were not yet much more than prep-school training for four year schools.

Third, the student loan programs were ramping up and the concept of a student working and paying as the went to school was being shoved aside in favor of borrowing the money to do so.

Four, every junior college at the time wanted to become a four school and every four year school wanted to become a Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

Now we have a depression and we are going for training programs in our two year Colleges.

Big-name companies to help colleges train workers:
"The White House on Monday described "Skills for America's Future" as an industry-led initiative to "dramatically improve" work force training partnerships with community colleges, paid for mostly by the participating companies.
The Gap Inc., for example, said it would expand community college partnerships in seven metro areas, including in-store job shadowing, interview and leadership training, and scholarships. The San Francisco-based company said it expects to hire up to 1,200 community college students in 2011, or five percent of its annual hiring.
Other participating employers are Accenture, McDonald's, United Technologies and P.G.&E."

In addition for several years On behalf of my State I worked along side the people at ACT in Iowa City as they developed Work Keys and their Standards of Transition (now called the College Readiness Standards)which would have fit into my original thoughts on educating the whole student and making the independent enough to succeed without going into debt, and in good and bad job markets.

All of the pieces are in place now to do something like this. Indeed the opposition is almost gone. The junior in the junior colleges are gone and they all are "Colleges" now. The Vo-tech system are now Technical Centers. The Bank based student loans systems have failed.

Of course there is the whole point that Liberal Arts are being lost. Naw, don't think so. Maybe now the job and skills folk will quit messing with their proven content and value, but that's another blog in which I'll team up with Issac Asimov to make my point.

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