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Now that we have entered an unprecedented global market where India and China are surpassing America in producing engineers and graduates with essential management skills, we find that America, still leaning on a traditional public education curriculum, born of an industrial age and designed to teach kids to be lifetime employees, falls behind. Readers and friends, do you think American public education should be enhanced to include business and entrepreneur lessons at a younger age? If not, how do you think we should raise our children to compete in tomorrow's marketplace? Jennifer ”

4 replies so far...

  • This is a terrific question and discussion.
    In some ways, I agree with ONEsie, that we can't add any more to the curriculum. If kids really learn the basics, they'll be able to get what they need for themselves as unforseen changes happen in the workplace.
    On the other hand, our schooling system seems pretty archaic for the world we live in. Perhaps we need to focus on classroom learning and basics for the younger children, but move towards more diverse, technology-aided learning in high school, with more access to higher-level tech, internet classes, world-class science and math teaching. One thing will never change: great teachers have great impact, whether it's in the classroom or via the internet.
    How to fund our education, regardless of the focus, is another huge problem.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Anne Florenzano on 9th February 2008

  • My thoughts are that we teach children information a mile wide in America and we should follow our Asian counterparts who teach a mile deep. We need to focus on big ideas and concepts but make them relevant and engaging enough that children WANT to learn more about the topic on their own time. Technology will be smarter than we all are by 2020 if we aren't careful. As a former teacher, one thing is for sure... adding more to the curriculum isn't going to solve any problems. We must streamline to what matters and is engaging in a deep and meaningful way.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ONEsie on 7th February 2008

  • My child is in the 3rd grade and he has been learning about trade, economics, supply, demand, exports and imports. I did not learn this kind of information until highschool. I am also an immigrnat from Latin America and would suggest that education is fundemental. However, learning more than one language has keept me and my husband employable. We work in completely different fields. He is an engineer and I am a clinical socialworker. I have traveled a bit in my life and can tell you that in places like China and Europe as well as in Latino America secondary education always includes the mastery of a second language (English being the most likely).
    In regards to teaching entrepreneurial lessons to children I wiould suggest that the spirit of an entrepreneural cannot be taught, the skills may be aquired but the drive is yours or it is not. I would also suggest that a closer look should be considered for the question of immigrants to this country that often do a lot better with a "lesser" education obtained from "lesser" universities. Why is this?
    Ps English is my second language...sorry for the mistakes

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by malena on 7th February 2008

  • Hi,
    I'm from India and believe it or not, your question would fit just as well into our socio-political scenario. Sure, we're producing more engineers (that's partly because our population growth shows no signs of slowing down :-P) because we finally have private colleges. But how much of that workforce is "employable"? According to a recent estimate, only 25% of engineering graduates and just 10% of other graduates are ready to be absorbed into the workforce. An MBA has become the ultimate middle-class aspiration, but the kind of schools churning out these MBAs is pretty pathetic. No wonder our best and brightest still head for the US to get an advanced degree. As for entrepreneurship, well, I think that holds true for any country. The Great American Dream ought to become "The Great Dream" no matter where you live. Not everybody gets to the top of the corporate ladder, so entrepreneurial training is a good thing. Trust me, schools in India hardly offer any kind of vocational training. "Shop" classes are unheard of, until after high school. Skill-based professionals (carpenters, plumbers, electricians) are still lowly paid. All that is going to change in the next 10 years, of course. In the meantime, I'm sure America, too, will find it's own way. Sorry for the long reply, but it was a serious question! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by A Lost Writer on 7th February 2008