#134. Responses to our Preparing for the Future Series

Posted on | The Agurban
Responses to our Preparing for the Future Series

We have received many responses to our Preparing for the Future series on preparing our students for life after high school, whether that means college or the working world. Nearly all the feedback related specifically to the “soft skills” that so many of today’s young people seem to lack. Please read on. 

  • * As I was reading this, I was thinking, “but those skills must start at home”, and then you said it as well. Yes they can be reinforced at school, but parents must parent!
  • * was very insightful in that it described the importance of individuals needing to have communication skills that allow them to connect with people that (they have) never met to drive the world’s economy
  • * I enjoyed your most recent article and I can echo your concern. In my 20th year in higher education the resemblance between the student I worked with 20 years ago and today is stark. As you noted math and science skills have improved but social responsibility skills have plummeted. I have long believed that we need to influence children earlier with language classes but now with the unpopular illegal immigration thing bending everyone over, it appears that foreign languages are going to wane even further in school settings.
  • * Educators and administrators don’t get it! They don’t see the connection between school, community and business. They think entrepreneurship is for the tech school kids and most of our educational resources go to the top 25 to 30% of the students while the bottom 1/3 are more likely to be the future parents in our community. Local control is rapidly vanishing with funding being controlled outside of the community. Who holds the gold makes the rules and they don’t spend much time with students or human resource directors. Solutions? It is up to us. When businesses complain about soft skills and expect the school system to do it for them, fat chance! They need to participate in all the activities listed above and partner with the gateway youth employers in the community (Hy-Vee, Sonic, McDonalds, etc.) and work with those employers/employees to get the skills they want when it becomes their turn. One local employer complained about the lack of welders. I sat with 10 students, 4 wanted to be welders, more than 50% of the males at the table! That same employer places radio ads in support of the local sports teams, talk about misspent resources! Be at the table instead!
  • * Your email on “Preparing for the Future” is exactly what I’ve been hearing from my employers for the last ten years. I believe that a liberal arts college education can go a long way in solving this issue. My son is going to a liberal arts college, and is learning not only his major, but how to read, write, think critically and solve problems. It’s funny how the pendulum swings. When I was attending college, the thought was that liberal arts was a waste. But in the business world, I believe it can be a big benefit. Another thought – it is increasing hard for high schools to justify technical classes when there are so few taking part. This is because parents push their kids towards college prep. We as economic developers need to lead the charge to educate parents that these “technical” classes are in fact very valuable in teaching kids a different way to think, hands-on. The fact that not all kids are 4-yr. college material is well known. But if these types of classes, especially the new tech classes with robotics, were marketed as another way of thinking that compliments the college prep classes, maybe…
Who will teach your children “soft skills”?