Careers have changed, the job market is evolving and, to stay relevant, the public schools need to offer internships, apprenticeships and job certifications for the many students who are deciding not to attend four-year colleges or universities.
Those are some of the key findings of a new report being issued next week by the Task Force on Educational Opportunities for the Non-College-Bound Learner. The report reflects seven months of study with additional research by staff members of the New Jersey School Boards Association. The report will be released and discussed during a 7 p.m. meeting on Oct. 2 at North Brunswick High School.
“Many students don’t require a college education,” said Vincent DeLucia, the NJSBA’s educator in residence who worked closely with the task force. “For the last 50 years, we have said, and believed, that every kid should have a college degree. It really is a fallacy.”
The task force report calls for new ways to measure the success of students and school districts. Instead of ranking schools by how many of their graduates attend four-year schools, the task force says new ways should be found to recognize schools that prepare students by providing internships, apprenticeships and information that will prepare graduates for more than a minimum wage job.
The task force recognizes that, for some students, the traditional college path will still be the right way to go, and all students should be free to choose the route that is best for them.
But times are changing, DeLucia said, and our schools need to change with them.
“We need,” said DeLucia, “to prepare kids today for their future, and not our past.”