Between Globalization and Education

1. Changing Job Market

In a global economy there is more competition from people around the world to do much of the work our secondary school graduates used to do. This outsourcing of low skilled jobs is the major challenge for students and educators because low-skilled jobs are not readily available pushing most students to pursue education beyond 12th grade.

2. Rising Educational Standards Around the World

The U.S. used to be among the most educated countries in the world. In the last few decades, other countries have become more literate, raised graduation rates, and increased standards. This trend has resulted in increased pressure on American schools and has resulted in the current issue of too much high stakes testing.

3. Changing Demographic in American Classrooms

Within our borders we now serve many students from other countries, many who do not speak English as their native language. This means the way educators teach has to be modified in order to be effective so that all of our students are graduating as high performers. This is an increasing trend over the past few years and sometimes viewed as a challenge since most teachers are not from these cultures.

4. Providing Technical Skills in High Schools

Because of globalization, we now see the need to produce a highly skilled American workforce. This challenge has led to changes in the high school curriculum resulting in innovative new programs like early colleges and vocational/technical high schools where students graduate with higher levels of skills than in decades past.

5. Parent Involvement

The American family used to stay in one town and attend the same schools for generations, making it easy to reach parents and easy for them to understand how they can help the school. The makeup of the American family has changed with more kids from single parent homes where often the parent is working and unavailable to volunteer at school. Students from some subcultures like the asians seem to have parental push and expectation to do well. Some subcultures like the mexicans stress family togetherness and service. Changes like these mean that educators have to understand the different points of view and adjust the methods for outreach.

Connections to a known secondary student

Consider "Tom Reynolds," a student in my drafting class. His grandparents were tobacco farmers, but tobacco farming in our area is nonexistent now. His parents are divorced. One worked at a plywood plant that closed and has now moved away to find work. The other worked in a yarn plant that has closed and moved to Mexico. Tom attends our early college program in the hope that he will earn a degree while still in high school. His parents did not go to college and aren't certain how to help him. Tom has been exposed to Common Core State Standards and 21st Century curriculum. He also took some online courses for both high school and college credit. He has done well in community college courses and is now at the state university pursuing an engineering degree. Even though he came from a situation that looked bleak, when the right programs are in place, the education system can still meet needs for kids like him.