People sometimes wonder why I get worked up about education. It’s pretty simple: The future of the country depends on it.
I know that sounds like something you’ve heard and read a thousand times before. So let me give you a better idea about why so many business leaders (not just me) feel so strongly about this. Right now, lots of people are out of work. Maybe you’re one of them. The numbers are scary: the “real” unemployment rate in this country is something close to fifteen percent. It is still a very, very tough employment market, and no, the private sector is not “doing fine,” as the President told everybody not too long ago.
Guess what? If you’re one of those people out there looking for a job right now, the odds are that you don’t just need the same skills you used on your last job. You need to show off a new, upgraded skill set if you expect to compete in this economy. Three of the new skills you now need are: creativity and the passion to innovate on the job; new technology skills you’ve never used before; and the ability to contribute across many business disciplines, while you’re wearing multiple hats. The lack of those abilities is part of our national economic problem right now. A big part.
You would think that, since we know that skill set issues are a problem for grown ups, we would be making it a national priority to ensure that our kids are ready to compete when their time comes to enter what inevitably will be an even more competitive job market. But you would be wrong.
Our education system is still not equipping students with even the basics — such as grade-level reading, writing, and math skills. This is a crisis waiting to happen. Our kids are depending on us to equip them with the skill sets they will need to compete in the job market they will face ten or fifteen years from now. And we are not even getting them to the starting line. As a country, we need to do something to change the unemployment rate because, right now, we are telling our kids, “Too bad. You’re on your own.”
That sucks, and it needs to change, now — especially in the state of Florida, where FCAT scores for reading and math for fourth to eight graders showed that at least forty percent of them are not performing at grade level. Two-thirds of fourth-graders flunked the FCAT writing assessment. If you think that is the recipe for building a competitive American economy in the year 2030, you’re wrong.
This is my blog, but it’s your voice. How good a job do you think the public school system is doing when it comes to getting your kids ready for the world of work? I want to hear from you.
New York Post: The real unemployment rate
Orlando Sentinel: FCAT scores lower on reading, math tests
You Sleep When You Die: An ‘F’ On The FCAT
Bloomberg: Job Openings Aren’t What They Used To Be