21 September 2006

What do we want from higher education?

It's 10:15 pm and I've been on the go since WAY too early this morning but before I head off to bed, I figured I'd better post something here, per Chris B's orders to "post something every day."

I had the pleasure tonight of attending a "Town Hall Meeting" on education, hosted by the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, with the intent of beginning a dialogue (and coming up with actual plans to implement) on what our community expects from education. I won't get into all of it here - if I did, I wouldn't have anything to write about in an article - but Dwight Johnson, Executive Director of the Idaho Board of Education, made a provocative point - the skills and knowledge that students need in order to be prepared for college, are now the skills and knowledge they also need for options after high school other than going on to traditional higher education.

The question was then asked... how do we get more of our students to graduate high school, and go on to further their education?

I could give you my opinion, but what this group wants is YOUR opinion. Go ahead and feel free to give it to them here... I will forward to them whatever you have to say. And I'll let you know as soon as they get their own blog up and running where you can go to share your thoughts with them directly.


Robert said...

Your question is too broad to handle easily. But schools don't operate in a vacuum. What happens at home has a ton of influence on a kid's success in school. Kids from dysfunctional families where parents are addicts or alcoholics or abusive, have more to overcome than anyone should expect the school to be able to fix. And then when the kids drop out and fall into the same patterns, the cycle is repeated. Better schools and inspiring teachers can help some kids break out, but it's hard to see how that can yield a big success rate until social causes behind family dysfunction are addressed.

Calm Center of Tranquility said...

Hey Robert,
You're right about the impact of family on education but here's what I always bump my head on. You can't have responsibility for something you don't have authority over. Schools have no authority to change what happens at home, so therefore cannot take responsibility for that. That said, what CAN schools do, understanding that they might not have the most ideal support from home?

And remember... we used to think of our schools as fairly successful (and maybe they weren't) and I know that in my day, there was just as much dysfunction at home... we just didn't know about it.

Wally said...

Trish, I think the main thing high school can do for our kids is to be sure they consider all (or as many as possible) of the alternatives. The government is going to mandate the basics and probably over-do the quantitative side of things. We need to be sure there is vision and imagination and possibility.

What I hope the community will do is show our kids as many possibilities as we can, and if they express interest, support and mentor it. I don't think we have to spoon-feed them...that's not preparation for real life, but we can encourage, stimulate, challenge and show interest in them.