Empty Classrooms, Abandoned Kids: Inside America’s Great Teacher Resignation— from nytimes.com; video by Agnes Walton and Nic Pollock

Excerpt:

A survey of National Education Association members at the beginning of the year revealed an unsettling truth: More than half of the respondents said they were looking for a way out. That’s an astounding number of unhappy teachers. If they all quit, it would leave millions of students in the lurch.

But were these just empty threats? At the start of this school year, we spoke to over 50 educators in almost 20 states to find out. The picture they painted was far bleaker than we could have imagined: Empty classrooms, kids in crisis, and teachers who can’t survive another day on the job — that’s the reality of American education today.

And from the UK, see the following:
The word OUCH! comes to my mind here — for this item from the UK and from the above item from the US. The politicians are going to need to back off and let the teachers do their jobs. Or we may not have many people who want to go into teaching anymore. The current situation is not only bad for the teachers, it’s bad for the youth/students.

 

Can a Group of MIT Professors Turn a White Paper Into a New Kind of College? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

A group of professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped a provocative white paper in September that proposed a new kind of college that would address some of the growing public skepticism of higher education. This week, they took the next step toward bringing their vision from idea to reality.

That next step was holding a virtual forum that brought together a who’s who of college innovation leaders, including presidents of experimental colleges, professors known for novel teaching practices and critical observers of the higher education space.

The MIT professors who authored the white paper tried to make clear that even though they’re from an elite university, they do not have all the answers. Their white paper takes pains to describe itself as a draft framework and to invite input from players across the education ecosystem so they can revise and improve the plan.

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

The goal of this document is simply to propose some principles and ideas that we hope will lay the groundwork for the future, for an education that will be both more affordable and more effective.

Promotions and titles will be much more closely tied to educational performance—quality, commitment, outcomes, and innovation—than to research outcomes. 

 

An obituary for education—or not? — from brookings.edu by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Elias Blinkoff, and Molly Scott

Excerpt:

MAKING SCHOOLS WORK
The science of learning offers a blueprint of how children in our future can and will succeed. For the last three decades, researchers made enormous progress in understanding how human brains learn. If we can teach in a way that capitalizes on these findings—if we can apply the science to the classrooms—we will have evidence-based ways of helping children grow the suite of skills that will make them successful in today’s classrooms and the workplaces of tomorrow. Our Brookings report, A New Path to Educational Reform and our book Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice, detail how this research in the science of learning can offer a scalable, evidenced based path to re-invigorating and re-imagining education for our time.

Children learn when they are active, not passive observers of what is taught. Children learn when they are engaged in the material and not distracted, when the information is meaningfully connected to their knowledge in ways that are culturally responsive. They learn best in social contexts, when there are strong teacher-student and peer relationships, when the information is iteratively presented multiple times in slightly different ways, and when the learning is joyful. Yes, it is possible to have joyful teaching that affords deeper learning. When we teach in ways that the brain learns, the learning “sticks” and generalizes to new problems and new solutions.

 

The Shrinking of Higher Ed — A Special Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
A special report on the implications of the enrollment contraction.

Excerpt:

Nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges since the Covid-19 pandemic began. That enrollment contraction comes at a precarious moment for the sector. Inflation is driving up costs and straining budgets, stock-market volatility is putting downward pressure on endowment returns, and federal stimulus funds are running out. Why is the enrollment crunch happening now? How are colleges responding? What might turn things around? Those are the questions fueling this special report.

A Public Regional on the Edge — from chronicle.com by Eric Kelderman
New Jersey City University’s plan to grow its way out of financial trouble backfired. What went wrong?

Excerpts:

NJCU’s story is a cautionary tale for similar institutions — small public regional colleges with ambitions to expand in a crowded higher-education market. While its real-estate dealings have drawn unfavorable scrutiny, the university was responding to challenges that face its peers, in northern New Jersey and around the country: increased competition for a declining number of high-school graduates.

Public regional universities, like NJCU, enroll about 40 percent of all college students nationally, and a far larger percentage of minority, low-income, and first-generation students than better-known flagships and top research universities do.

But a lack of state support, limited ability to attract students from outside the region, and sparse fund raising have made the university vulnerable to economic downturns and demographic shifts that have led to fewer high-school graduates, especially in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Linked to in the above article was this article:

Declining enrollment has Western Michigan University on budgetary tightrope — from mlive.com by Julie Mack

Excerpts:

KALAMAZOO, MI — Western Michigan University has 17,835 students this fall, its lowest enrollment since the 1960s.

The number is down 6% from last fall. Down 27% from a decade ago, when the fall headcount was 24,598. Down 41% from 20 years ago, when WMU’s fall count peaked at 29,732.

And thanks to a declining birthrate and a shrinking percentage of new high school graduates enrolling in college, that downward enrollment trend is likely to continue indefinitely.

Rather, “what COVID did was force our hand after years of pressure created by declining enrollment and demographic trends that suggest declines will continue for the next decade,” she said. “So while COVID brought our financial situation into sharp relief, the budget cut was a measure taken to relieve pressure created over many, many years.”


A relevant addendum here:

Avoiding the Trap of Too Little Too Late — from tytonpartners.com by Trace Urdan; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource

Excerpt:

The challenges facing higher education are well understood: a demographic cliff of traditional-aged applicants, a declining proportion of full-pay families, and a growing skepticism of the value of (ever-more) expensive post-secondary degrees with resulting student consumerism. Add to this rapidly rising technological complexity, deferred maintenance on deteriorating physical assets, escalating administrative costs associated with student services and supports, and a burgeoning array of college substitutes, and the challenges are clear. The combination of lower tuition revenue and higher costs points toward an inevitable sector consolidation. And while many college administrators will readily acknowledge this point in the abstract, few will consider that it might apply to them.

 

To future-proof a workforce, kill the perpetual hiring machine and embrace lifelong learning — from fortune.com by Clay Dillow

Excerpt:

A looming economic slowdown, the Great Resignation, a relentlessly expanding skills gap, and employees that would simply rather work from home. This week at Fortune’s CEO Initiative forum, a panel of company executives discussed the litany of challenges they face in developing and maintaining their workforces over the next several years.

 

25 Transferable Skills Employers Look For in 2022 — from wikijob.co.uk by Nikki Dalea; with thanks to Ryan Mein for this resource

Excerpt:

Transferable skills combine competencies, knowledge and skills that you have gained from the workplace during your career path, from school, internships or elsewhere and take with you to your next employment or career change.

General skills that can be used in different employment roles come under the transferable skills banner; they can be used in various industries and in roles at other seniority levels.

These can be hard skills – technical knowledge like using specific software – and soft skills, the competencies and abilities that are harder to be taught, like active listening and communication.

Communication, problem solving and teamwork are all examples of transferable job skills because they can be used in any employed role, your education or vocational training.

 

What’s Stopping You from Reinventing Your Career? — from hbr.org by Heather Cairns-Lee and Bill Fischer; with thanks to Mr. Roberto Ferraro for this resource

Summary (emphasis DSC):

In the authors’ work teaching and coaching thousands of managers, they have identified four traps – self-sufficiency, overthinking, procrastination and searching for the answer – that prevent leaders from taking the first steps necessary for considering and exploring possible new versions of themselves for the future. The authors have found ways to help leaders recognize which traps they are falling into and start imagining a way out — largely inspired by design thinking principles such as rapid prototyping, making ideas visual, and getting quick feedback.

 

2023 Top 10 IT Issues: Foundation Models — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

Recent times have brought about a Great Rethink that is upending previous models of management and working. Higher education is no exception. In 2023, institutional and technology leaders are ready for a new approach.

The EDUCAUSE 2023 Top 10 IT Issues help describe the foundation models that colleges and universities will develop next year and beyond, acting on what was learned in the pandemic and framed by the three building blocks of leadership, data, and work and learning.

See where things are headed in 2023 and beyond.
.

The Educause 2023 Top 10 IT Issues
.

From DSC:
At this point in time, I’d find your visionary, innovative, tech-savvy leaders out there — and not just for IT-related positions but for Presidents, Provosts, CFO’s, Heads of HR, and similar levels of positions (and ideally on the Boards as well.) Such people need to be at the table when strategies are hammered out.

For example, if your institution didn’t get seriously into online learning long before Covid19 hit, I’d clear house and go back to the drawing board on your leadership.

Also, data won’t save higher ed. New directions/pathways might. But I’m doubtful that new sources of data will — no matter how they are sliced and diced. That sort of thing is too much at the fringe of things — and not at the heart of what’s being offered. The marketplace will eventually dictate to higher ed which directions institutions of traditional higher education need to go in. Or perhaps I should say that this is already starting to occur.

If alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education continue to grow in acceptance and usage — and don’t involve current institutions of higher ed — those sorts of institutions may already be too late. If more corporations fully develop their own training programs, pathways, and credentials, there may be even fewer students to go around.

A final thought: Cheaper forms of online-based learning for the liberal arts may be what actually saves the liberal arts in the long run.


Also relevant/see:


 

Attention higher-ed leaders: Faculty and staff have something to say — from ecampusnews.com by Jen Landon; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource
Higher-ed leaders can apply the same listening skills and level of investment put forth for students toward their workers

Excerpts:

An organization’s greatest asset is its people. In no other industry is that more true than in higher education. The importance of faculty and staff can’t be overstated; they are, in every way, core to carrying out the mission of higher education.

Institutions should put employee satisfaction at the top of their list from day one: investing in the growth and success of faculty and staff with as much determination as they invest in student success. This mindset should extend to job candidates as well.

From DSC:
I appreciate some attention being paid here to the career/skill development of faculty and staff, as well as to the attempts to create caring cultures. Higher ed has a lot to learn from the corporate world in terms of training its managers, supervisors, and leadership. Provosts, for example, move out of the academic ranks and I’d bet that most of them have never had any training in being a leader — especially re: the business side of higher ed. 

Staff members are key to all institutions of higher education, yet many of them are second-class citizens on many (most?) campuses. They have limited say and even more limited budgets. Even though they have transformed institutions — such as the case with providing online/blended/hyflex-learning — they aren’t lifted up.

For myself, if I didn’t feel like I was growing and learning, I felt stagnant. That’s why blogging has been so wonderful and important to me through the years. The budgets for training one’s staff are very important — as staff members need to stay marketable and relevant. As with most others in the workplace, staff and faculty members may need to reinvent themselves from time to time. Hopefully, this type of growth/reinvention is being supported by the institutions of traditional higher education out there.


Speaking of the workplace and higher education, you might be interested in The Job newsletter. This week’s edition was interesting indeed! 


 

Deloitte State of AI Report 2022 calls out underachievers — from venturebeat.com by Sharon Goldman

Excerpt:

Deloitte released the fifth edition of its State of AI in the Enterprise research report today, which surveyed more than 2,600 global executives on how businesses and industries are deploying and scaling artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

Most notably, the Deloitte report found that while AI continues to move tantalizingly closer to the core of the enterprise – 94% of business leaders agree that AI is critical to success over the next five years – for some, outcomes seem to be lagging.

What is a surprise, she added, is how quickly the AI landscape is changing – to the point that what began as an every-other-year Deloitte report is now created annually. 

From DSC:
I’m reminded of some graphics here…

 

Also relevant/see:

‘State of AI in the Enterprise’ Fifth Edition Uncovers Four Key Actions to Maximize AI Value — from deloitte.com
Research reveals the key actions leaders can take to accelerate AI outcomes

Key takeaways

For Deloitte’s “State of AI in the Enterprise,” Fifth Edition, we surveyed 2,620 global business leaders representing six industry areas and dozens of sectors. Key findings include:

  • Ninety-four percent of business leaders surveyed agree that AI is critical to success over the next five years.
  • Seventy-nine percent of leaders say they have fully deployed three or more AI applications, compared to 62% last year.
  • There was a 29% increase in the number of respondents self-identifying as “underachievers,” suggesting that many organizations are struggling to achieve meaningful AI outcomes.
  • Top challenges associated with scaling according to respondents are managing AI-related risk (50%), lack of executive commitment (50%), lack of maintenance and post launch support (50%).
 

Returning Joy to Teaching & Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Key Points

  • Too many school-based reform efforts continue to have educators implicitly standing with the standards against the students.
  • Pivot your perspective for a moment to the opposite.
  • What does a school where its educators stand with the students against the standards look like?

From DSC:
My hunch is that we need to cut — or significantly weaken the ties — between the state legislative bodies out there and our public school systems. We shouldn’t let people who know little to nothing about teaching and learning make decisions about how and what to teach students. Let those on the front lines — ie., the teachers and local school system leaders/staff — collaborate with the community on those items.

 

Higher Education in Motion: The Digital and Cultural Transformations Ahead — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

In 2015 when Janet Napolitano, then president of the University of California, responded to what she saw as a steadily growing “chorus of doom” predicting the demise of higher education, she did so with a turn of phrase that captured my imagination and still does. She said that higher education is not in crisis. “Instead, it is in motion, and it always has been.”

A brief insert by DSC:
Yes. In other words, it’s a learning ecosystem — with constant morphing & changing going on.

“We insisted then, and we continue to insist now, that digital transformation amounts to deep and coordinated change that substantially reshapes the operations, strategic directions, and value propositions of colleges and universities and that this change is enabled by culture, workforce, and technology shifts.

The tidal movement to digital transformation is linked to a demonstrably broader recognition of the strategic role and value of technology professionals and leaders on campus, another area of long-standing EDUCAUSE advocacy. For longer than we have talked about digital transformation, we have insisted that technology must be understood as a strategic asset, not a utility, and that senior IT leaders must be part of the campus strategic decision-making. But the idea of a strategic role for technology had disappointing traction among senior campus leaders before 2020.

From DSC:
The Presidents, Provosts, CIO’s, board members, influential faculty members, and other members of institutions’ key leadership positions who didn’t move powerfully forward with online-based learning over the last two+ decades missed the biggest thing to hit societies’ ability to learn in 500+ years — the Internet. Not since the invention of the printing press has learning had such an incredible gust of wind put in its sails. The affordances have been staggering, with millions of people now being educated in much less expensive ways (MOOCs, YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, other). Those who didn’t move forward with online-based learning in the past are currently scrambling to even survive. We’ll see how many close their doors as the number of effective alternatives increases.

Instead of functioning as a one-time fix during the pandemic, technology has become ubiquitous and relied upon to an ever-increasing degree across campus and across the student experience.

Moving forward, best of luck to those organizations who don’t have their CIOs at the decision-making table and reporting directly to the Presidents — and hopefully those CIO’s are innovative and visionary to begin with. Best of luck to those institutions who refuse to look up and around to see that the world has significantly changed from the time they got their degrees.

The current mix of new realities creates an opportunity for an evolution and, ideally, a synchronized reimagination of higher education overall. This will be driven by technology innovation and technology professionals—and will be made even more enduring by a campus culture of care for students, faculty, and staff.

Time will tell if the current cultures within many traditional institutions of higher education will allow them to adapt/change…or not.


Along the lines of transformations in our learning ecosystems, also see:


OPINION: Let’s use the pandemic as a dress-rehearsal for much-needed digital transformation — from hechingerreport.org by Jean-Claude Brizard
Schools must get ready for the next disruption and make high-quality learning available to all

Excerpts:

We should use this moment to catalyze a digital transformation of education that will prepare schools for our uncertain future.

What should come next is an examination of how schools can more deeply and deliberately harness technology to make high-quality learning accessible to every learner, even in the wake of a crisis. That means a digital transformation, with three key levers for change: in the classroom, in schools and at the systems level.

Platforms like these help improve student outcomes by enhancing teachers’ ability to meet individual students’ needs. They also allow learners to master new skills at their own pace, in their own way.

As Digital Transformation in Schools Continues, the Need for Enterprising IT Leaders Grows — from edtechmagazine.com by Ryan Petersen

K-12 IT leaders move beyond silos to make a meaningful impact inside and outside their schools.According to Korn Ferry’s research on enterprise leadership, “Enterprise leaders envision and grow; scale and create. They go beyond by going across the enterprise, optimizing the whole organization and its entire ecosystem by leading outside what they can control. These are leaders who see their role as being a participant in diverse and dynamic communities.”

 

 

Students Are Calling BS on High School and Opportunity Knocks — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Excerpts:

Let’s be clear. These students are not wrong. The pandemic showed students that much of what they were required to do and endure during pre-pandemic high school was a lot of busywork and tasks that held little relevance or interest to them, and apparently didn’t really matter since they were able to be successful without all that extra work. When schools lost their ability to command and control a student’s time, it forced a different economy for schools and educators. It required the curriculum to be pared down to only the essential standards and information. It now had a very real and powerful competitor for the student’s time – a job, a hobby, sports, music, sleep…

Students are no longer a captive audience. They have more options and choices. To avoid obsolescence, perhaps schools should focus on making school a place where kids see value and want to come to each day.

This is a wonderful opportunity to put in place the things that really drive 21st-century skills and give students the keys to their own learning and growth. To truly personalize learning for students, and unlock teacher professionalism and creativity in the process. That extra time could allow students to pursue areas of passion and interest, to dive deep into a subject that interests them, pursue job shadows and internships, and earn and learn on a job.

 

New Unionization, Upskilling And The Future Of Work — from forbes.com by Daphne Kis

From DSC:
I’m not sure what I think of this article as a whole, but I like the emphasis on lifelong learning! here are some relevant excerpts, for example:

In particular, workers and businesses should take this moment to partner around the issue of education and forge new agreements about employer-provided training and reskilling.

This approach, however, is inadequate to deal with the demands of today’s global information economy, which demands continual upskilling on the part of workers.

As true job security can only be generated by continued education and training, this is in the interest of all parties.

“We need to replenish skills throughout a working career, and this calls for revisiting the models and concept of lifelong learning to create the future we want.”

 

 

Why Some Teachers Don’t Want to Go ‘Back to Normal’ — from edsurge.com by Daniel Lempres

Excerpts:

“My school did not drive me out of education. My students did not drive me out of education,” Aion says. Instead, he says he left because the lack of support and the deep systemic flaws in education had finally become too much. Aion says he was tired of pretending things were back to their pre-pandemic “normal,” and tired of pretending that “normal” had been working for students in the first place.

For educators like Aion and Bowyer, the expectation that public education would “return to normal” is one of the factors that pushed them out of the profession.

Her students were excited for her, and enthusiastically asked about what she would do instead of teaching them math. “I started crying in the middle of class,” Bowyer says. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t actually want to leave, I want to be here and I want to do this. But I don’t think I can anymore.’”

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian