Why This Matters
The Current Crisis in Education
According to a study in 2013 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (citiation needed re: New York Times?), youth and adults in the United States are far behind in proficiency areas such as literacy, mathematics, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The study found that among 16 – 24 year olds in 20 countries, the US ranked:
- Second to last in average literacy rates
- Last in average proficiency in basic mathematics
- Among the last in average youth problem solving proficiency
Among 16 – 64 year olds the United States ranked:
- Fourth to last in literacy
- Second to last in basic mathematics
- Among the last in average adult problem solving proficiency
Although globalization and advances in technology have increased the capacity of our educational systems to prepare youth and adult learners for success in school, career, and life, we continue to see signs that we are not closing the gap fast enough. High school and university dropout rates continue to soar and the gaps between the “haves” and “have nots” continues to widen.
Meanwhile, forecasts by the Center for Education and the Workforce suggest that if the economy maintains then 2018 will hold more opportunities for educated workers than ever before. For example:
- US economy will create 46.8 million job openings – 13.8 million new jobs and 33 million “replacement jobs”
- Nearly two-thirds of these 46.8 million jobs – almost 63 percent – will require workers with at least some college education.
- About 33 percent will require a Bachelor’s degree or better, while another 30 percent will require some college or a two-year Associates degree.
What It Means For The Future
Most of these high cognitive jobs will require high levels of analytic, critical thinking, technology and communications skills; and the gaps in social and emotional learning (SEL) and life skills that are barriers to these skills have been left out of the discussion on improving the outcomes of America’s schools. Yet, numerous studies and national surveys point to social emotional learning (SEL) as critical to student success in school, work and life. In a new national survey, data conclusively show that “teachers across America believe that social and emotional learning is critical to student success in school, work and life,and yet current trends are working against the integration of SEL skills into academic curricula.
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