Why The Education Economy Is The Next Big Thing For The American Workforce

Brandon Busteed, eSchool News, Aug 21, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The author, Brandon Busteed, is executive director of education at Gallup. He argues that there should be a tighter commection between education and the economy to create what we calls the educonomy. The article is largely about how education is failing the economy:

  • "no correlation between the grades and test scores of its employees and their success on the job"
  • "we’re more likely to see kids with entrepreneurial talent diagnosed as underperforming troublemakers"
  • "seven in 10 K-12 teachers are not engaged in their work (69%)"

All very well, but is increased involvement of the commercial sector in education likely to change this? Busteed calls for "paid and unpaid internships to high school and college students" and for ways to engage teachers and instructors. That sounds good for business - it gives them cheap labour (think of the adjunct professor model applies across the economy). But it's very bad for students and workers, who are already underpaid. Here's a better plan: hire people at full wages, then take steps to enable access to learning while on the job. Oh, but that might cost the commercial sector money. My take: if the economy is not willing to pay the freight, there's no good reason to integrate education and economy.

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