Monday, February 23, 2009


Governor Strickland is revamping high school curriculums to include more critical thinking skills needed for jobs in the 21st Century.  The curriculum change seeks to increase critical thinking skills in high school graduates and decreasing the emphasis on such soft skills as media literacy.  

Once upon a time, a person with a high school diploma could go out and get a job after graduation.  As jobs have become more technically demanding, fewer jobs are available for those possessing only a high school education. The economic recession has created a glut of college graduates looking for work as jobs are lost.  They certainly posses critical thinking skills but if there are no jobs you can't get hired.

The elimination of media literacy or other soft skills is needed but I don't thinking creating a new series of critical thinking is the right approach.  If college graduates find themselves unemployed, the problem isn't the need for critical thinking skills but rather jobs.

Perhaps there is another way to look at the situation.  High school shop classes have become somewhat anachronistic, especially in light of the soft skill courses.  However, many of the great inventors of the 19th and 20th Century took shop.  Shop teaches students learn how to analyze a problem (critical thinking) and create a solution.  Working through a problem lead many inventors to create companies that produced jobs for the community.

Before going down the road of yet another trend, perhaps it would be better to look back at the past and apply those lessons to the problems of the 21st Century.

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