Business leaders and students have similar, interrelated goals when it comes to higher education: students want to get the most out of their degree and secure employment, while businesses want to hire skilled individuals who add value.
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new tool made available by the U.S. Department of Education called the “College Scorecard.” In his own words, “…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 that’s it’s unveiled and the public has been given an opportunity to play around with it, the fundamental question is: does it work?
Microsoft made headlines recently with the release of their report on securing economic competitiveness by upgrading our workforce. Within it, they noted that they have more than 6,000 jobs currently unfilled in the United States because they are unable to find applicants with the qualifications needed for the positions. Microsoft isn't alone here. Our nation's lack of skilled workers creates a gap between the more than 3.5 million jobs currently available and the 18 million Americans still looking for work.
If you have been reading our posts for some time, you know that we are huge supporters of innovation in higher education. We advocate for innovation because of things like skyrocketing tuition costs, declining household incomes, and adults looking to learn 21st-century skills, among other reasons. One such innovation is the ‘10K-B.A.’ which provides a student with a bachelor’s degree for $10,000 by eliminating much of the costs associated with in-person classroom teaching.
This week, we recognize ‘National School Choice Week.’ Celebrating the opportunity for parents to make decisions best suited for their kids causes us to pause and take a look at the many education headlines around the country. Reflecting on what has happened in the past year quickly emphasizes why school choice is so important.
The fiscal cliff isn't the only ledge the nation is in danger of heading over. As the 113th Congress begins, we are no closer to a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA). The law is six years overdue for renewal and there is no sign of movement in the Congress. Rather, Congress is ceding its authority to influence the future of education policy to an Obama Administration handing out waivers to states like candy to kids. The federal law -- and all of its protections for students and families -- is being gutted.
Addressing the nation’s skills gap is “not getting the attention it deserves and needs” because it’s not a partisan or controversial issue, says Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Creating new middle-class jobs and equipping Americans with the skills to fill those jobs should be top issues at the state, local and federal level, including education and immigration reform, Rubio says. “A vibrant and broad middle class…is a distinguishing characteristic or our nation,” he said at a January 23 event at the U.S. Chamber, “but it’s gotten harder to achieve.”
According to the National Center on Education Statistics, the percentage of students who graduate from public high school in four years is at its highest level in nearly 40 years—78%. Not since 1974 has the national average been so high.
The results of an annual survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported a 3.4% increase in starting wages for college grads over last year. It was the largest such increase in salary since before the recession took hold in 2008. For those who follow such things, it’s a rather important finding.
Since it turns out that the Mayans were wrong about the apocalypse, it seems as though we have to start 2013 rededicated to solving our skills gap crisis. And while for some that prospect seems as painful as the end of humanity, a study done by Philip Oreopoulos and Ryan Dunn of the University of Toronto provides a bit of hope that all is not lost in the fight to get more students to earn a postsecondary credential.
The Central Florida Education Summit will be hosted by the Central Florida Partnership and sponsored by the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, in partnership with the National Chamber Foundation, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, and the Central Florida Public School Board Coalition.
U.S. News STEM Solutions 2013 will bring together business, education and government leaders who have long recognized the need to connect the dots between STEM education and careers. Adding to last year’s successful conference format, the second edition will give more dedicated time for these leaders to interact and collaborate.