Pausing amid the start of the school year, last week we hosted the fourth in our five-part webinar series on education Recovery & Renewal. This dialogue explored how education prepares students for dynamic, disruptive change in a future being accelerated by the pandemic.
Panelists Mandy Situ, a current high school sophomore, Dr. Johann Neem, an historian of education and democracy, and Dr. Jason Wingard, a scholar on the Future of Work, revealed important areas of consensus – and crucial tensions to resolve:
- Programs focused on civic participation and career pathways must work to include students from marginalized communities and backgrounds, including new Americans, particularly those who don’t speak English. Start early; even elementary schools should help students practice taking their place in society.
- To be a nation, we need shared knowledge and context, and we must also value all backgrounds, traditions, and perspectives. Schools should ground students’ in developing empathy, culturally and linguistically responsive practice, communicating across lines of difference, and on honing students’ ability to make good and respectful arguments.
The labor market is more competitive than ever. Globalization and advances in technology create cross-pressures on whether students should pursue a liberal arts education that enables them to understand problems, or more discrete education experiences and credentials that enable them to pursue the next step in their career. To prepare for higher-paying careers, school must ensure critical thinking and creative problem-solving are honed by applying broad knowledge.
Some Resources to Jumpstart Work for the Future
- Participation in democracy, civics curriculum, student activism: Better Arguments, Generation Citizen Ten Things Every American Should Know, Move School Forward
- Education for automation, access to enabling knowledge, what the pandemic means: Aspen Future of Work, Core Knowledge, Jason Wingard
- Schools are vital to democracy, understanding social media: Johann Neem, Hewlett Foundation
- Culturally and linguistically responsive practice: Aspen Education, Zaretta Hammond; Gloria Ladson-Billings in conversation with Instruction Partners’ Emily Freitag