Education for the Next Generation
Posted by Johann Zimmern, Head of Enterprise Business – World Wide Education
For a student starting kindergarten today, the world will be a vastly different place when he or she joins the workforce a decade and a half from now. It’s estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor that 65% of school-aged children will work in careers that do not exist today. The curriculum being taught in many schools throughout the United States is unfortunately not aligned with the skills needed in an increasingly digital economy. We want to ensure that future generations remain competitive in the global economy, and today far too many graduates enter the workforce without sufficient exposure to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills that help foster innovation and creativity.
Given the importance of enabling the next generation of Americans to develop a comprehensive STEAM skillset to succeed in decades to come, I am thrilled that after 14 years, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have taken steps to improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by passing S.1177 the Every Student Succeeds Act. Without the hard work and persistence of Chairmen Lamar Alexander and John Kline and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Robert C. Scott, our nation’s students would not have access to vital programs, and we applaud their efforts.
Among these programs is a provision to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and computer science education, both inside and outside the classroom. This will provide students who are members of underrepresented groups within STEM fields additional access to STEM programs. The legislation will also promote digital, blended learning initiatives in the K-12 classroom, and a focus on professional development while addressing the crucial needs for the educators and school officials to ensure the technology is being put to good use. All of these programs are significant improvements to our K-12 education system.
Today’s knowledge-based economy requires our students to have sufficient access to STEM education and education technology. When combined with an education system that promotes creativity and innovation alongside the development of more technical STEM skills, we will be well on our way to providing a robust learning environment for the next generation.