Steve Jobs model for education reform

At last month’s board meeting, the board voted to create our own “report card” that will address items that are important to our community – from academics to finances, communication to student achievement, we will look at what truly makes our school district successful (read article).

In our discussion, I addressed creativity:  in order to succeed, I believe our students must be taught (yes, taught) how to tap into and develop their creativity (read article).

This past week, Rupert Murdoch, Chairman & CEO of News Corp (which owns The Wall Street Journal and a new Education Division), wrote about the “Steve Jobs Model for Education Reform.”  He talks about how students are growing up in Steve Jobs’ world, but when they step in the classroom, many are “going back in time.”  He believes much of our educational system reflects a “colossal failure of imagination.”  How do we change it?  By adding innovation and creativity to the classroom, to how we approach lessons and teach our students.

Last month, magazine Fast Company also reported on this topic, from the perspective of our workforce.  They suggest looking at global competition to see what’s important.  In this case, they looked at a top 10 Indian outsourcing company and what skills they believe are in short supply.  What are they?  Things like innovation; brainstorming; and individuality.

MIT economist David Autor agrees.  He looks at the various “levels” of jobs.  At one end is the hands-on service sector, such as driving a bus, cooking food, caring for others, which are impossible to outsource or replace with technology; then come the jobs requiring routine information processing, such as accounting, typing, and filing, which are currently being outsourced and likely to be computerized in the future.

At the top are the jobs that require creativity, problem solving, decision making, persuasive arguing, and management skills.  These are the “jobs everyone wants,” and ones “many graduates of the American education system are well prepared for.”

I do believe Milford is ahead of the curve regarding bringing creativity and innovation into our classrooms – but we can, and should, do more.  If we want our students to have the chance to be as successful as possible in this rapidly changing world, the best thing we can do for them is help them learn and develop these skills.  As our teachers work to incorporate more of these 21st century skills, the education Milford provides will become even stronger.

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