The Future of Education:
A Vision from Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr.
On December 14th, the United States Secretary of Education, John B. King Jr. aired on Facebook Live to share his vision of the future of education. We were there to hear his thoughts, and gather insights from his leadership role where he created the key regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act building off Arne Duncan’s work with the goals to provide schools with the tools to succeed and thrive in College, Career and Beyond. Here are the insights that we gathered, from the eyes of a former teacher, a parent, and educational disruptor, looking for change to occur immediately, as tomorrow is just too late. King’s vision prepares Betsy Devos for a plan to build upon as she forges forward, from the progress made before her.
EDUCATION IS A LADDER: King spoke of the fact that “education is a ladder that students are supported to climb…and where we pull others up” Education should not be determined by the student’s race or immigration status. He proudly shares that the U.S. Graduation rate is at an all-time high of 83% and that the achievement gap is closing, particularly in Science where he noted that the most recent graduating class “was the most diverse.”
WE MUST PREPARE STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE and CAREER: King warns that “more is still required to meet the needs of the future since too many students do not finish their College degree.” We heard this first hand from the 2016 ASU GSV Summit where Bill Gates announced that “we must increase College and Career Readiness immediately” and that content for students must be individualized and intrinsically motivating in order for students to properly engage in the learning process. King reminds us that “in 2008, 95% of jobs require a post secondary education.”
EVERYONE MUST HAVE A FAIR CHANCE: There is also still the issue of poverty and education, and the relationship between these two are still very strong in the U.S. More Americans need the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this country than ever before. We recall Dr. Paul Jacobs, the Chairman of Qualcomm speaking at the 2016 ASU GSV Summit about the power of “connectivity” to solve some of these issues to bridge this digital divide and increase experiential learning around the world to motivate students. Jacobs gave examples of ThinkItLabs, First Robotics, and High Tech High that are all using design as a way to motivate students. This is only the beginning.
“LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Which brings King to discuss the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) where “anyone can take their lives as far as their talent and drive allow” and he brings this point to life with an example of two students from his past. He reminds us that all educators have seen students like his example of Titsiana, a shy sixth grader who was supported to thrive at school, and tutored her fellow students. She ended up becoming the Dean of Students, mentoring many more over her lifetime, versus a dark contrast of Herman, who never had this opportunity due to a fateful situation where he lost his life to the hands of another student. This example made me think of the movie, “Pay it Forward” that motivated the world to offer unconditional giving to others, to create a ripple effect of good, with the hopes of eliminating the darkness.
King suggests that “ESSA offers unique strategies to create a new wave of innovation to improve education” to improve upon the “top-down, one-size fits all NCLB Act” and encourages us to “fight to improve when things become difficult.” He urges the importance of “investing in schools and teachers” and to hold ourselves accountable for success.
FINAL THOUGHTS: King reminds us that to continue to make advancements, “we must invest in Innovation and Research” to make ESSA a success. He urges for more “evidence-based strategies to increase College completion for first generation students” and to take this evidence to drive policy for improvements. He suggests that “we must be vigilant to build on education and the future” and we couldn’t agree more with his vision.
ACHIEVE360’s VISION: Stay tuned for more information on an upcoming educational documentary that will bring light to these issues with more solutions for schools to implement to bring innovation, hope and creativity back into our schools, as well as AchieveIT360’s NEW program for Parents, Teachers and Counselors that provides evidence-based strategies to reduce stress and optimize learning in the classroom.