Report says Mass. schools are not preparing students

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March 24, 2014, 5:22 pm
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(NECN: Greg Wayland) - Measured by an old yard stick, Massachusetts schools excel in testing.

But Bay State schools get low scores preparing students for the modern economy, according to a new report commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education.

"What students are learning are not what they need in order to succeed in college and career," said Henry Dinger, chairman of the MBAE board. "Training for a job that exists today is foolish. Because that job is probably not going to exist in five years. What students really need to learn is how to learn the next job."

They can't just read the manual, according to Dinger. They have to re-write the manual. He's talking about, and the MBAE report focuses on, STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It might seem hard to believe, ultimately, that a state and a region that includes such resources as MIT and Harvard could lag behind in these particular areas.

But the report is mainly talking about public education, specifically K-12, says Mitchell Chester, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education.

"And what employers are telling us very clearly in this report is that there's a gap between the preparation of our students in K-12 and the needs of employers," said Chester. "STEM is a very important part of that."

Renowned British educator Sir Michael Barber wrote the MBAE report. He has worked on education reform in over forty countries.

"The best schools in the world on the international comparisons are in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, parts of Europe like Switzerland and the Netherlands," said Barber.

So, how does Massachusetts, just one among many states struggling with this issue, catch up with the rest of the world?

"We're going to sit down with a lot of people and talk about it, and listen to them," said Dinger. "We're going to prepare draft legislation, draft regulations, research as to what the governor can do."

The race to become an education leader is on.

Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Greg Wayland, skills gap, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Massachusetts Education, Henry Dinger, Mitchell Chester, Sir Michael Barber, Michael Barber
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