The Importance of Relevance

As the the national push for uniform standards and increased emphasis on standardized testing continues to push out the various electives offered to engage students, I am worried that public schools will lose all relevance for those students that are interested in the trades. You can outsource to far away lands many of the skills that are now taught at the college level, but it is hard to similarly outsource local trades. Some how we must convince those who make policy at the state and national level that we do not need to imitate the education systems of foreign countries, we need to prepare today’s student with skills that will serve them for a lifetime both in the workforce and as citizens of our democratic system. Although I do not believe that that our primary job in public education is to train students for specific jobs, it is our responsibility to expose our students to various skill sets and vocational possibilities. As educational leaders, classroom teachers, parents, and concerned citizens we have to work together to hold on to those programs that are not directly tied the measurements of the various accountability tests prescribed by NCLB/RttT.

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