LAHAINA - Aloha, everyone! I hope all is well, and everyone enjoyed the week intersession by seeking a variety of rest and recreation.
For me, I attended a three-day Common Core Institute. I would like to share a little bit with you, so you understand why and where the state Department of Education is leading us.
I'm sure that you are hearing "college and career readiness" repeated over and over again. One more educational gimmick? Believe me - we at the school tread carefully, because we don't want to waste valuable time going down one path just to be redirected in another. That has been our experience in the past.
"What? We're changing direction again? What about the program we had been dedicating all our time and effort toward? We're not done yet! Waaaaait!!" Sounds quite funny, doesn't it? Ask any educator. We've been there... until we are sitting back in our seats, arms hanging to our sides, rolling our eyes and shaking our heads.
College and career readiness... what does this mean? Sweet and short... by the time our students leave us as seniors in high school, they will have accomplished meeting all academic expectations, so they have the CHOICE to enter higher education or careers. You wonder why students choosing to go the career route need to meet the same expectations as those on their way to college? While the college-bound student enrolls in college-level academic courses, the career-bound student is expected to enroll in a training program to develop his or her skills in their choice of career. They need to be trainable to get ahead.
A survey was completed at the national level. Nationally, the top three learning outcomes desired by employers are: 1) The ability to effectively communicate, orally and in writing; 2) Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills (common sense); and 3) The ability to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings.
You know, just because a person has knowledge, it doesn't mean he or she understands. Understanding goes much, much deeper. You know the "what," but do you understand the "how" and "why?" Do you know how to apply that knowledge when you are presented with an unpredictable situation in a real-world situation? Chances are, you won't be able to recall the knowledge if you never understood the deeper meaning of that knowledge.
In the past, a high school diploma was sufficient to earn a decent living for yourself and your family. The world is quickly changing. According to research, three-fourths of the fastest growing occupations require MORE than a high school diploma. Today, the highest unemployment rates are in the "less than a high school diploma" and "a high school diploma" categories, respectively. To make it worse, these are the most competitive jobs to get into, because of the large number of individuals who are vying for these jobs. So scary!
Parents, we all need to encourage our children to take on the challenge of change. What we have been doing in the past will not carry us through into the future. What will become of our children? Will they still be living with you? Living off YOUR pension? Government welfare checks? All in the name of "There are no jobs out there." Yes, there are. You need to prepare yourself for them. Educate yourself. Change with the changing world.
At Lahaina Intermediate, we are making change happen. We are taking little steps at a time. We have faced confusion and resistance from parents and students who don't understand why things are not how it's been in the past. We are moving. We see the importance of making changes in how we teach, what we teach and why we teach. What are Common Core Standards? More to come next month... IMUA!