4.9.16 Weekend Update


We start this week with three articles that may help explain the reasoning behind the Strategic Plan, and the direction in which the school is headed based on the Plan. If 80% of people celebrating their 20th college reunion are in jobs that didn’t exist when they were in college, and 67% of recent graduates have jobs unrelated to their degree, 53% of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed, and 50% of recent graduates are living at home with their parents with 85% of seniors planning on moving back in with their parents, why are we teaching the same old topics the same old ways? The following articles explain further, and some of them offer possible alternatives, most of which are incorporated into our Strategic Plan.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, sent by Mike: If Skills Are the New Canon, Are Colleges Teaching Them? The essence of a university education used to fit across a five-foot shelf. That was the space required for the 51 volumes of the Harvard Classics compiled by the university’s president, Charles William Eliot, and published in 1909…. Spending 15 minutes a day reading the texts was tantamount, Eliot argued, to a liberal education. Many of the works made up the core curriculum at the nation’s leading universities. Over time, though, the canon unraveled, pulled apart by disparate forces. By the latter half of the 20th century, students chafed at a core curriculum and demanded more control over their education… Meanwhile, knowledge was proliferating, from Darwin to DNA. In the 1980s, scholarly consensus fractured as humanists fought the canon wars over what qualified as seminal works, and whether the dead white men whose words filled Eliot’s volumes still reigned. Agreeing on an essential body of knowledge came to seem impossible, but over the past decade or two a new consensus has emerged: that colleges ought to develop in students a set of skills…. Today just about everyone — administrators, students, parents, employers, policy makers, and most professors — has accepted the notion that broad, transferable skills are the desired product of college.

From The Financial Times, “How to robot-proof your children’s careers.” Pity school career advisers. If economists are to be believed, vast numbers of jobs will have evaporated by the time today’s pupils reach the labour market. Two Oxford University economists say almost half of the jobs in the US are at high risk in the next two decades. While workers worry about whether robots will take their jobs, teachers are wondering how to use education to insulate the next generation from such a fate. Machine learning algorithms are already starting to supplant the likes of mergers and acquisition bankers and currency traders. Some experts argue we need to respond with a fundamental rethink of education. “School education has tended to focus on core cognitive competencies – for example reading, writing and arithmetic,” said Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist. “Smart machines have long surpassed humans in their ability to do the first and third of these, and they are fast catching-up on the second. That begs the questions of whether there are other skills where humans’ comparative advantage is greater.” So what skills should we teach our students to robot-proof their careers?

From Business Insider, “Why Recent Graduates Are Moving Back Home in Droves.” Student loan debt is rising — now enough to feed every homeless person in the country for 50 years — yet unemployment numbers among college graduates are the highest it's been in the past 11 years. The solution? It's becoming the norm for young people to move back in with their parents. In fact, 53 percent of 18-to-24 year olds are living with their parents, and 85 percent of college seniors plan on moving back home after graduation.


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On Thursday, April 7th, the 5th and 6th form participated in the 2nd of a series of 3 small group sessions centered on healthy sexuality. The focus of this session was on readiness. Students discussed related concepts such as emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, responsibility, communication, mutuality and affirmative consent. Laci Green's video blog, Consent 101, was used to illustrate affirmative consent.

This Thursday, April 14th, we will hold Form meetings during the normal house meeting time.

The 3rd and 4th Forms, along with most faculty, will meet in their houses to engage in scenario-based activities related to bystander intervention within the context of drug and alcohol use. These sessions will be led by the Heads of House, utilizing scenarios developed by our current LINC leaders.

The 5th Form will meet with Dr. August Leming, who will be on campus for the third of his four scheduled visits this year. Dr. Leming will focus his remarks to the 5th form on effective student leadership .

The 6th Form will hear a presentation from a representative from the Boston-based prevention organization, Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD). The focus of this session will be substance use and abuse within the context of the transition from high school to college. This will be the first of two sessions designed to help our graduating students begin to think about the practical realities of the next step in their educational journeys. For more information on FCD, please visit their website.

Have a great weekend!

Lawrence, Alisa, Chad and Jada