Standards

Time to Reinforce the Building Blocks of The American Dream

Successful nations, just like successful businesses, are built on three things: people, education and ideas. 

By opening our nation’s doors to people ready to build new lives and abide by the Constitution, the U.S. has become a stronger, more vibrant nation. By investing heavily in public education, the nation transformed both natives and newcomers into literate, numerate Americans ready to contribute to an advanced industrial economy. And by investing in scientific research, the nation combined and advanced new ideas — many from these new Americans — in new ways to build the most productive, prosperous nation the world has even seen.

However, these three pillars of the American dream — people, education and the investment in scientific research that is the wellspring of new ideas, new capabilities and new products — are all endangered.


A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College

Every year, the cost of a four-year degree goes up, and the value goes down. But for many students, there’s a better answer. 

So many things are getting faster and cheaper. Movies stream into your living room, without ticket or concession-stand costs. The world’s libraries are at your fingertips instantly, and for free. 

So why is a college education the only thing that seems immune to change? Colleges and universities operate much as they did 40 years ago, with one major exception: they’ve gotten dramatically more expensive. And they’ve actually gotten slower, with the average time to graduate now over five years. 

As a result, graduates often struggle with enormous debt burdens. Even worse, they often find that degrees did not prepare them to obtain and succeed at good jobs in growing sectors of the economy. Parents and students have accepted this because a college degree has been seen as a prerequisite to a professional career. But now, for the first time, there are real alternatives. 

A New You

ONE and DONE, Workforce Development at Houston Community College

Houston Community College is pioneering a program to ensure students earn a level one certificate, receive resume writing assistance and get help with job interviews in just one semester.  The “Take One & Done” program is being offered at HCC’s Southeast College Eastside Campus.

“Students come full time and we will provide financial aid, child care from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. if necessary, and they will get a level one certificate in one of seven programs,” says Melissa Gonzalez, president of Southeast College. “We looked specifically at these programs, where there are jobs and there is a demand for workers.”

“Take One and Done” includes level one certificates in:

  1. Welding Technology-Basic Welding Helper
  2. Construction Management Technology
  3. Industrial Electricity Electrical Helper
  4. Business Management-Insurance Specialist/Associate
  5. Logistics & Supply Chain Management - Maritime Logistics & Specialist
  6. Real Estate - Residential
  7. HVAC

Innovation Lab Program Emerged from International Baccalaureate Authorization

A collective effort by the academic leadership team of the Solomon Schechter Day School of
Bergen County, the development of our Innovation Lab program emerged from our pursuit of
the International Baccalaureate(IB) authorization. As part of that effort, we introduced a design
thinking course in our middle school and hired a part-time design thinking faculty member.
 
Andrew Katz, our Director of Academic Affairs joined the school in mid 2017, bringing with him
experience in design and building innovation labs at two previous independent schools. Once we
created our vision for the program, we were fortunate enough to receive a donation from an
alumni parent, which enabled us to turn our vision into a reality. We then quickly turned our
focus to hiring an experienced director of the lab, and together - along with our science team,
librarian, and educational technology team -  began concentrating on developing a robust
curriculum, designing the space, and focusing on interdisciplinary integration across the school.
 
Our team also visited and initiated relationships with community maker spaces, such as the
Maker Depot in Totowa, N.J., which have offered advice regarding 3D printing and
demonstrated potential tools that will further inspire our design courses.
Solomon Schechter NJ

Study Finds LECTURERS Still Dominate STEM Education

An analysis of more than 2,000 college classes in science, technology, engineering and math has imparted a lesson that might resonate with many students who sat through them: Enough with the lectures, already.

Published in the journal Science, the largest-ever observational study of undergraduate STEM education monitored nearly 550 faculty as they taught more than 700 courses at 25 institutions across the United States and Canada.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Marilyne Stains and her colleagues found that 55 percent of STEM classroom interactions consisted mostly of conventional lecturing, a style that prior research has identified as among the least effective at teaching and engaging students.

Lecturer STEM

Ohio STEM Learning Network's New Innovative Program

MakerMinded and Learning Blade® are initiatives in Ohio supported by LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national ManufacturingUSA institute, to enhance student experiences and understanding of manufacturing and other high demand fields. MakerMinded is a free statewide competition where schools compete to complete STEM activities for a chance to win a virtual reality classroom station. Learning Blade is a web based STEM career awareness curriculum designed to improve student relevance of middle school academics as it relates to future STEM career paths.
Graham Middle School is currently a state leader for both programs. In MakerMinded, Graham middle school has 177 points and currently resides in 2nd place. In Learning Blade, Graham has completed more lessons than 93% of other registered schools in OH. Kirk Koennecke, Executive Director of the Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative and Superintendent of Graham Local Schools is proud of the success of his teachers and students in adopting new innovative STEM programs, “We strive every day to provide the absolute best educational opportunities to our students. MakerMinded and Learning Blade help our students envision their role in the 21st century workforce all while reinforcing in engaging standards and academics.”

States are Passing More Policies to Help Americans Jump Start Careers

More than five million high school and college-aged people in this country are neither in school nor working. Meanwhile, more than half of companies nationwide report that they have jobs they can’t find qualified workers to fill. Thankfully, states and industry partners have recognized this disconnect and are taking action.


Indiana Spends $1 Billion on Workforce Development Annually

Just after 4 p.m. on a recent afternoon, Neal Allman was cleaning up the work area around the Haas vertical machining center he'd been working at for the day. The mills, primarily used to machine-cut metal pieces, are a key piece of the advanced manufacturing industry and not enough Hoosiers know how to work them. He was also keeping an eye out for Gov. Eric Holcomb, who had just finished touring Vincennes University's Haas Technical Education Center, where Allman is in the sixth week of a 15-week course called Right Skills Now CNC Machining. 

Holcomb was kicking off a tour of similar facilities around the state, looking for examples of what the governor would like to see Indiana embrace as the state prepares to overhaul its workforce development initiatives next year. "You don't have to recreate something that's working, but you can expand on it," Holcomb said. "We're looking at 2018-19 as a pivotal time for the state of Indiana."

By the time Allman and his six classmates finish their course, they will have earned up to nine different industry credentials and will be ready to go to work operating a computer-controlled machine in an automotive, health care or other manufacturing facility. 


Virtual Reality - Enhancing Learning Outcomes

Virtual reality (VR) is one of the major contemporary technologies being implemented in teaching today, with examples emerging that hint at how it could play a role in the future of education. It is one of the key innovations that have gathered significant attention, and current examples of VR in the marketplace include HTC’s Vive, Oculus Rift and SteamVR.

As a consumer product, VR is a seemingly magical form of entertainment made possible by emerging technology. The nature of VR changes the way people interact with digital information, including data, knowledge and alternative scenarios. The many potential benefits of VR in teaching are only beginning to emerge. 


Career and Technical Education Center to Provide High-Demand workforce Training to High School

The Career and Technical Education Center will enable Baton Rouge area high school juniors and seniors to get workforce training in high-demand jobs while also pursuing their high school diploma. It will address two challenges: the lack of skilled workers needed to fill positions at local companies and plants and the gap between young people and well-paying jobs. The center will offer high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn a diploma from their regular high school while also receiving workforce training and industry certification in high-demand fields.The dual-enrollment facility is a proverbial win-win for the community and promises to put a dent in one of the area’s most pressing challenges.

The $17 million facility, under construction next to the McKay Automotive Training Center at Ardendale, has been in the works for more than a decade and is the product of a collaborative effort between multiple agencies and organizations led by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. 


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