A high school student who took a vocational tract would take shop and math classes that would provide a foundation for entering a trade after graduating. Then, he/she would decide a trade, say electrician, and apply to the union apprenticeship program and start an extended on-the-job training. This successfully moved generations of blue collar workers into work with no college degree, but certification. We have the same thing now. Students can take computer tech classes and heaven knows they are tech savvy through their own social/personal web actions. Now, there may be a shortfall in math, but it is ridiculous to say that this necessitates an entire career training via public education. What we need are strong technical apprenticeships for STEM employment ON-THE-JOB.
Looking at yesterday's blog that questions corporate funding of K-12 schools tied to yet another corporation, you see an effort to completely distort a system that worked for generations and gave strong, well-trained and committed workers that were well-paid. What these STEM businesses are trying to do is remove the costs of training and the window of lower skill level from corporate costs. THIS IS AN EDUCATION GOAL THAT IS PROFIT ORIENTED AND NOT PEOPLE ORIENTED AND IT IS TOWARDS WHAT YOUR THIRD WAY POLITICIANS ARE WORKING.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT QUALITY EDUCATION!!!!!!
If you watch free TV you will see one after the other ads for computer, online instruction geared to these trade jobs. All are paid with taxpayer loans that the student will pay or will default and you and I pay. This is the only direction being offered to a vast number of people. THIS CHANGE IN APPROACH IS WHAT IS CALLED 'EDUCATION REFORM'. IT IS MOVING FORWARD AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT AND IT IS WHERE ALL THE FEDERAL SPENDING ON EDUCATION IS MOVING. YET, NO ONE WANTS IT AND WE DO NOT NEED IT.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!
As the article below explains, academics are fighting this concept with the argument the SCHOOLS ARE MEANT TO CREATE WELL-ROUNDED CITIZENS NOT WORKERS. THIS IS THE DYNAMIC THESE EDUCTION REFORMERS ARE WORKING TO CHANGE. Do not let them use the excuse that government coffers are empty as they give copious money to corporations and turn their head to fraud. Shout loudly for school funding
mechanisms to be strengthened and remain centralized. Decentralization is simply meant to move away from equal funding and towards this 'gifting' to individual schools!
Do we need to cut administrative costs in education? YES, especially at 'innovation center' universities. Do we need each school as a separate business as Baltimore's Superintendent Alonzo is doing? NO.
October 18, 2012
Pressed to bridge the skills gap, colleges and corporations try to get along
By Jon Marcus Hechinger Report
WARWICK, R.I. — Angel Gavidia worked as a construction worker, an auto detailer and a taxi dispatcher before he found his calling as a computer-networking engineer, a high-paying job for which employers are desperately short of workers even at a time of stubborn unemployment.
Community College of Rhode Island
He found his way in spite of community-college advisors who at first steered him into other fields of so little interest to him that he quit school. Then Gavidia was accepted to a program in which an IT-services company called Atrion collaborates with the Community College of Rhode Island to help students get both a classroom education and on-the-job training.
The model, under which Gavidia worked as an apprentice at the company while taking on-campus courses, gave him a huge head start to a job by teaching him the real-world skills employers want but say they often can’t find in college graduates.
“I came into this position feeling like, we didn’t learn this in school, and we should have,” said Gavidia, who, at 26, now works full time at Atrion as an associate engineer.
It’s a rare example of a successful partnership between business and higher education, which otherwise often bicker about how to help the nation’s economy recover by better matching graduates’ skills with workplace needs.
Business officials complain that too many college students aren’t learning what they need to get jobs. Academics retort that their job is to provide knowledge, not vocational training—and that what future workers really need isn’t job-specific preparation, but the ability to think critically that comes from a well-rounded education.
Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn
“There’s been something of a rupture,” said Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. “On the higher-education side, we have sometimes not thought enough about how best to prepare our students for the jobs that will be available when they graduate. And employers haven’t always communicated clearly enough to universities what skills employees need.”
It’s not for lack of prodding.
“I hear from business leaders all the time who want to hire in the United States, but at the moment, they cannot always find workers with the right skills,” President Barack Obama told an audience at a community college in February. “Companies looking to hire should be able to count on these schools to provide them with a steady stream of workers qualified to fill those specific jobs.”
Despite high unemployment, however, the nation is surprisingly short of workers with the right educations. As of July, the most recent period for which the figure is available, an estimated 3.66 million jobs were vacant, and employers say they can’t find the people they need to do them.
Some economists question whether the figure is actually that high, saying companies are simply taking their time hiring. But most agree that there’s a significant mismatch.
In the IT industry alone, 93 percent of employers surveyed by the Computing Technology Industry Association said they couldn’t find workers with the right educations, and 80 percent said this affects productivity and customer service.
“There’s just a shortage of supply,” said Ryan Hoyle, whose job is to hire engineers and other skilled employees for the Detroit branch of an IT company called GalaxE Solutions, which, together with two neighboring tech companies, has 500 openings he said they can’t fill.
Before it teamed up with the Community College of Rhode Island, Atrion “found it very difficult to find the right combination of skills and talent, and frankly it was often at a cost,” driving up entry-level salaries and forcing the company to spend more and more money hunting for qualified prospects, said Patrick Halpin, its talent recruiter.
Yet even as demand for college degree-holders goes up, their numbers are leveling off. Enrollment appears to be flat or falling, even at community colleges that had been growing at double-digit rates. Once they are enrolled, only about half of students in four-year universities graduate within even six years, and fewer than 20 percent at two-year community colleges do so within three, according to the organization Complete College America.
“If you take a longer economic view, it’s clear that, unless something changes, higher education is not going to provide the kind of workforce we need 20 and 30 years down the road,” said Rosenberg, who is part of a business-higher education initiative in Minnesota looking for solutions to this problem there.
There are some models emerging of college and corporate collaborations like the one in Rhode Island. They’re broadly known as “learn and earn”—or, among educators, as “programs of study” that line up courses to lead to a specific job.
But most business leaders surveyed by Public Agenda and the Committee for Economic Development said they think American higher education is unable or unwilling to adapt to economic demands and lacks accountability, contributing to a shortage of qualified workers.
“There are growing and grave concerns about the system’s ability to remain a leader and produce the workforce our future economy demands,” said Steve Farkas, lead author of the Public Agenda report.
Business and higher education have traditionally spoken different languages, and they work at vastly different speeds, people in both camps acknowledge.
“There is this mismatch,” said Lee Todd Jr., former president of the University of Kentucky, who founded two high-tech companies before that. “In academics, you’ve got seven years to make tenure. In business, if you don’t have the next product ready by the next quarter, you’re in trouble.”
Even when they do try to satisfy marketplace needs, colleges and universities have trouble keeping up with them, said John Dorrer, a program director at the nonprofit organization Jobs for the Future.
“Sometimes you have this phenomenon of higher education being divorced from the reality, with faculty not spending enough time looking at developments in industry,” Dorrer said. “Technology is moving faster, the world is moving faster, markets are more unstable, and that instability and the pace of technological change [are] not well-aligned with what happens in institutions.”
Eduardo Padrón sees that, too, in his capacity as president of the second-largest single higher-education institution in the United States, Miami Dade College.
“What I hear from business leaders who come to us is that the universities place before them all kinds of excuses,” said Padrón, who works extensively with business. “They want to take three years to put a program together, and then they have all these excuses for not doing it the right way. It’s part of a tradition that’s not changing with time.”
Frustrations have reached such a level that major corporations have started their own college-level training and education programs. There really is, for instance, a University of Farmers, run by the Farmers Insurance Group. Corporations from Dunkin’ Donuts to Walt Disney World also offer college-level educations to workers, prospective workers, and even employees of other companies.
“If they can do it,” asked Brent Weil, senior vice president of the Manufacturing Institute, “why can’t colleges do it?”
But colleges and universities fire back that there’s plenty of blame to go around. They complain that what industry means by “job skills” is often vague. Surveys of company executives find that what they really seek in their employees isn’t a knack for widget-making, but such characteristics as critical thinking, innovation, and an ability to write and speak well.
“Those CEOs have to be more clear about the kinds of workers that they want,” said Rosenberg. “I’m not sure it always filters down even to their own HR departments.”
Nearly 90 percent of employers think colleges should place more emphasis on producing graduates who can communicate effectively, according to a 2009 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Seventy-five percent say colleges should emphasize ethical decision-making more, while 70 percent want colleges to stress among students the ability to innovate and be creative.
Higher-education officials point out that the same companies talking about the value of employee education have been cutting back on their own professional-development and tuition-reimbursement benefits, shifting the burden of workforce training onto the very higher-education system that it’s criticizing.
In 1979, workers new to a job got an average of two and a half weeks per year of professional development, according to the consulting firm Accenture; now, Accenture says, at a time when people change jobs much more often, only about a fifth of employees surveyed reported receiving any training at all over the previous five years.
Meanwhile, the proportion of employers who provide tuition reimbursement has fallen from nearly 70 percent to under 60 percent in the last five years, reports the Society for Human Resource Management.
“Too many businesses pay lip service to education, especially higher education, but often are not willing to go the extra mile to make significant partnerships happen,” said Padrón.
While the two sides argue over who’s at fault, a new force is pushing them to pool their efforts: students and their parents, who want to know what career payoff to expect from spiraling tuition.
In an annual survey of first-year college students by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, 86 percent said they enrolled “to be able to get a better job”—the top reason, above “to learn about things that interest me.”
It’s community colleges that have been most in the workforce-development spotlight. That’s because so many job vacancies turn out to be in “middle-skills” occupations for which an associate degree is often adequate, such as lab technicians, early-childhood educators, radiation therapists, paralegals and machinists. Almost half of all jobs now require an associate degree—a greater proportion than call for a bachelor’s degree.
Which raises yet another, more surprising, problem: Few corporate CEOs—or, for that matter, policymakers—went to community colleges, or send their kids there.
“They’re four-year grads. All the people they know are four-year grads. They don’t have experience with community colleges,” said Karen Elzey, director of Skills for America’s Future.
“We have to get business leaders to pay more attention to the institutions that are going to serve the populations that right now are not reaching the levels of attainment that we need,” said Joseph Minarik, senior vice president of the Committee for Economic Development.
“Educators understand that the world needs poets,” said Minarik, who was chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration. “Business leaders need to know that, too. And business leaders and educators also need to know that the world needs people who can work with sophisticated control systems on a factory floor.”
RIGHT NOW IT IS THE UNDERSERVED FAMILIES WHO ARE ATTENDING SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS SHOUTING DOWN THESE POLICES THAT DO NO GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE THEY TOUT TO HELP. THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE THE UNDERSERVED SCHOOLS ARE UNDER SCRUTINY. THESE POLICES ARE WIDE-REACHING AND WILL SOON SEE MIDDLE-CLASS SCHOOLS COMPETING FOR FUNDING SOURCES AND OPERATING AS A PRIVATE BUSINESS RATHER THAN SIMPLY SPREADING THE FUNDING EQUALLY FROM A STRONG TAX BASE. YOU THINK COMPETING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IS BAD, WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU WILL HAVE TO CONCEDE TO IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ADEQUATE FUNDING!
THIS POLICY WILL REACH YOUR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY IN A NEGATIVE WAY!
Baltimore school funding model gets national praise
By James Campbell, on September 10, 2012, at 8:00 am From Randi Feinberg, ERS [Education Resource Strategies] Updates, September 06
In 2007, Baltimore City Public Schools implemented a bold plan. With the school system struggling, Superintendent Andrés Alonso proposed Fair Student Funding (FSF) and other reforms. His goal was to empower school leaders and create accountability for student learning. In just one year, the district implemented FSF for all schools. This meant allocating dollars (instead of staff) to schools based on their student population and school needs. The district also closed lower performing schools and reorganized and downsized the central office.
Five years after the reform was proposed, ERS, with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, set out to understand whether the district met its goals and what other districts might learn from this experience. Among the many successes, we learned that the district succeeded in creating a more equitable distribution of dollars across schools and was able to move a significant amount of dollars from the central office to school level control. For all the details, read our paper “Fair Student Funding and Other Reforms: Baltimore’s Plan for Equity, Empowerment, Accountability and Improvement.” The paper explores the successes, the lessons and notes that implementing FSF is an ongoing process that requires time to develop the necessary support structure for schools and to renegotiate employee contracts. FSF cannot be a standalone initiative. Instead, as Baltimore models, it should be a key component of a larger coherent district strategy.
Any district considering the move to FSF will want to review the insights from Baltimore’s experience, and this new ERS publication is a good place to start.
WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN BALTIMORE IS JUST WHAT IS THE INTENT OF THIS POLICY; WE SEE STUDENTS BEING CATEGORIZED IN FUNDING. THE DEFINITION OF STUDENT NEEDS IS RELATIVE. POOR FAMILIES THINK THERE LIES THE NEED......THE EMPHASIS NOW IS ON ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) STUDENTS ALREADY HAVING THE BEST CHANCES OF SUCCESS. WHEN THE POLICY SAYS THAT FUNDING FOLLOWS THAT CHILD, THEN NO MATTER THE SCHOOL, THAT CHILD WILL GARNER THAT LEVEL OF FUNDING. SO THE DISABLED CHILD IS BEING ASSESSED AS NEEDING THE LEAST FUNDING AS THEIR PROSPECTS ARE LIMITED AND EVEN IF THEY ENTER THE BEST SCHOOL, THAT FUNDING WILL MEAN LOWER SUPPORT. IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THIS CHILD WILL NEED EXTRA RESOURCES TO BE GIVEN AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. WHEN YOU TRANSLATE ALL THIS TO THE PRIVATE, PROFIT-BASED CHARTER SCHOOL FORMAT TOWARDS WHICH THE PEOPLE PROMOTING THIS INTEND TO MOVE, YOU SEE THAT A CHARTER/BEST SCHOOLS WILL ONLY TAKE THE STUDENTS WHO BRING THE MOST FUNDING.
THIS IS TOWARDS WHAT THIS PLAN WORKS!
ALL PARENTS WILL BE PRESSED TO CONTINUOUS COMPETITION FOR SCHOOL SLOTS RATHER THAN SIMPLY HAVING A GOOD LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOL!
THESE PEOPLE ARE UNSCRUPULOUS CURS!
Student-based budgeting proposes a
system of school funding based on five key
1. Funding should follow the child, on a
per-student basis, to the public school
that he or she attends.
2. Per-student funding should vary
according to the child’s need and other
3. Funding should arrive at the school as
real dollars—not as teaching positions,
ratios or staffing norms—that can
be spent flexibly, with accountability
systems focused more on results and less
on inputs, programs or activities.
4. Principles for allocating money to
schools should apply to all levels of
funding, including federal, state and
5. Funding systems should be as simple
as possible and made transparent to
administrators, teachers, parents and citizens.
In addition to the weighted student
formula, a full school empowerment
program includes public school choice
and principal autonomy. Every school
in a district becomes a school of choice
and the funding system gives individuals,
particularly school administrators, the
autonomy to make local decisions.
This autonomy is granted based on the
contractual obligation that principals will
meet state and district standards for student
performance. Student-based funding is a
system-wide reform that allows parents
the right of exit to the best performing
schools and gives every school an incentive
to change practices to attract and retain
families from their communities.
Under the weighted student formula
model, schools are allocated funding
based on the number of students that
enroll at each individual school, with
extra per-student dollars for students who
need services such as special education,
English language learners instruction or
help catching up to grade level. School
principals have control over how their
school’s resources are allocated for salaries,
materials, staff development and many other
matters that have traditionally been decided
at the district level. Accountability measures
are implemented to ensure that performance
levels at each school site are met. With its
emphasis on local control of school funding,
most teachers’ unions have been reasonably
supportive because the weighted student
formula devolves autonomy to the school
site and places responsibility squarely in the
hands of each principal.
In each district the local context has
flavored weighted student formula in its own
ways. Like most education policy, school
districts vary on the extent to which they
have implemented school empowerment
programs. Each district profiled in this
yearbook is rated based on ten benchmarks
of a robust school empowerment program.
The rationale for each benchmark is
described below. The benchmarks were
determined based on the author’s analyses of
the commonalities and best practices within
existing weighted student formula programs
and the recommendations of other studies of
School Empowerment Benchmarks
1. School budgets based on students not
Schools should receive revenue in the same
way that the district receives revenue, on a
per-pupil basis reflecting the enrollment at a
school and the individual characteristics of
students at each school. The current staffing
model used in most school districts is a very
inefficient way to fund schools and creates
dramatic inequities between schools.