An Education That Prepares The Student For Real Life

I am all for letting kids be kids, but when do we start preparing our children for real life? Children are being forced to grow up a lot faster these days then what I remember growing up. Times are different. What are we doing to prepare our children to meet this challenge?

One thing that thankfully is being looked at today is the way we are using high school to prepare the student for life. Some people will go to college. Some people will go to vocational school. There are those that need to be trained for life no matter what road they choose to walk down. 

Greenville, South Carolina is leading the pack in looking at alternative ways to educate and prepare the youth for life and employment when they graduate. There is a school called the Next High School where this is beginning to be a reality.

The students are divided into schools in technology, life sciences, energy and mobility. The school of mobility includes automotive and aerospace. The emphasis is on becoming part of the solution by problem solving. This is done by involving the students in real life applications like crime-scene investigations for example. There is also a emphasis in exploring the local market by matching training to the industry and jobs in the immediate area.

This is the beginning of the cycle of matching education to jobs. It does not necessarily mean that anyone has to be stuck in a job for life. It just means the beginning of training our youth to be able to survive in the job market upon graduation from high school till they complete their higher education.

Read more about the Next High School and their concepts in the following article by Liz Segrist:

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Taking A “Gap Year” Between High School and Higher Education

When I was seventeen years old I graduated from high school. I married and took a gap year working in a notebook factory. This turned out to be a good thing for me to do. When I did start college I was ready emotionally and scholastically to take on the challenge. I already knew what it was like to work full-time on the job. Now I knew I wanted to get a degree to work in nursing. I was more determined then ever to get my education. I was serious about it. 

You should consider doing the same thing yourself. It will give you time to reflect and determine what is important to you. This will help you when you start school to realize what a privilege it is to be able to further your education. You will be more determined than ever to apply yourself and make sure you are giving your best when going to school. It will give you a sense of purpose and the determination it will take to complete school

Consider taking a gap year yourself!

Read more about it in this article by Jena Manuel Krugstad.

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Encouraging Vocational Education

dreamstimefree_53847I am so happy to see that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way when it comes to education. It seems in North Carolina they have created new legislation that encourages youth to consider vocational education as a viable choice when deciding what kind of higher education will best serve their future. It seems that they are finally bringing vocational education back to their high schools to give the students choices when choosing classes that speak to their interests and abilities. Read more in the article by Jerry Tillman and Martin Nesbitt:

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Even The President Talks About The Need For Vocational Education

President Obama spoke in the State of the Union about the need of Vocational Education in the high schools. He understands, as I do, that we need to train our youth through the right education to be in the position of being able to get a sustainable job when they graduate.

There is nothing as satisfying as knowing that you are able to support yourself and your family by having the training needed to get a good job. The jobs are out there. The training is available to get those jobs. Believe in yourself as I believe in you and go for it by learning a vocational trade so you will be in a position to get those jobs. Then you will always know that you have a trade that will be the stepping stone to a honest career and a life that you can be proud of with hope for the future.A trade that not only can get you a good paying job but also a trade that you will be able to use for barter as well. Then you will know that you have a way to make it no matter what the economy is doing.

Here are the words of President Obama on vocational education:

“Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job.  Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges.  So those German kids, they’re ready for a job when they graduate high school.  They’ve been trained for the jobs that are there.  Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in computers or engineering.
We need to give every American student opportunities like this.
And four years ago, we started Race to the Top — a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.  Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math — the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.
Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education.  It’s a simple fact the more education you’ve got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class.  But today, skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.
Through tax credits, grants and better loans, we’ve made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years.  But taxpayers can’t keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education.  Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure that they do.
So tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.  And tomorrow, my administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria — where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.
Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require.  But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work — everybody who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.”