Education and workforce development, ten years later


Monday, February 7, 2011

Snowstorms!  A good time to sit by the fireplace (mine is a “Yule Log” CD we play on our DVD player) and get some reading done.  Here are a few suggestions.

CommonWealth magazine was released recently and if you still harboring any doubts about how MCAS can improve urban schools, you ought to read Michael Jonas’s excellent conversation with Brockton High School principal Susan Szachowski.  The back and forth between Jonas and Szachowski is a very honest discussion about change, urban schools, and how to use data to improve academic performance.  Jonas, my MassINC colleague, is one of the best education journalists out there and this fine piece is first-rate journalism.

Another institution that’s making a difference is the Benjamin Franklin Institute.  This small college is getting some big results and its story is chronicled in the current issue of CW.  With small classes, a hands-on approach, more focused students, and applied learning the college is producing graduates ready for so-called middle skill jobs.  But as the school looks to add more students, will it continue to be so successful?  You will need to read Gabrielle Gurley’s story to find out.

January 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of MassINC’s landmark report about adult literacy and the workforce, New Skills for a New Economy.  To mark the occasion and to offer some thoughts about what should come next for workforce development, my friend and colleague Jerry Rubin and I offer our opinion.  Tell us what you think.

Let me close with a “shout-out” to James Ruberto, the mayor of Pittsfield, MA.  Mayor Ruberto announced that he will not be seeking re-election.  The mayor served as co-chair of the Gateway Cities Mayors Coalition and I got to work with him over the last several years on several issues.  Pittsfield is where I grew up and he has changed the city for the better.  He will be missed, but we do wish him well. 

Tags: Wonk & Roll


Recent Comments:

ryans820115   says on 2/19/2011 12:42 AM
“A reform I feel would be beneficial to public secondary education would be the implementation of a two track course system. For students not planning on attending college after graduation there should be an emphasis on personal finance, basic economics, business english, resume writing, on-line job searches, and applied technical science. This would dramatically increase the ability of graduates to become employable in positions that pay a living wage directly after high school. When it comes to post-secondary education, and public school preparation in anticipation of entering institutions for higher learning critical thinking, reading and writing, applied mathematics and engineering technology and other science based discpilines need to garner increased attention. The MCAS tests have been extremely beneficial to Mass students but children do need to have the ability to solve problems, formulate ideas and opinions, and understand the importance of civic engagement just as much as the importance of memorization in preparation for standardized tests. One last thought, community colleges, career and tech institutes, and public universities should form some sort of partnership which allows students to transfer credits, participate in diverse intership programs, and provide an opportunity for students accustomed to traditional acedemic life the chance to engage in additional hands-on learning. In border areas, like Wmass and Nconn, the Berkshires, Albany N.Y. and S.E. Ma and RI these programs should encourage cross state partnerships and participation.”

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