When I first started marketing and selling to educators, there was a huge focus on college readiness. And logically, this does make a lot of sense. In the decade since, we’ve seen a trend to include ‘career’ in that statement and College & Career Readiness is now the standard term. But what does that actually mean for our students? Are we actually advocating for a jump into career post high school? If our own child came to us and suggested they go straight into the workforce would we be on board? As a successful executive who does not have a Bachelor’s Degree, I know I am already teaching my 10-year-old that college is non-negotiable. But should it be?
In reading my daily dose of ‘marketing juice’ this morning, I came across this article from MarketingProfs regarding theory vs. practice and was intrigued by the thoughts expressed. As someone who did spend a total of 5 years furthering my education after high school but none of those years were in my chosen field, I am always looking for research on how any one educational experience can influence the trajectory of one’s life. As I read through the article, I couldn’t help but focus on the word ‘readiness’ from our industry’s College & Career Readiness buzz phrase. The article talks about the importance of soft skills - things like emailing, conference bridges, meetings, giving and receiving feedback, and putting together a succinct presentation deck. To me, THAT’s how we prepare our students for the ‘real world’. We teach them these soft skills that are important across industries, then we teach them how to think so they can learn as they go and gain experience on the ground.
Now, please understand, I do still feel strongly that children should be taught to expect college after high school and I personally advocate for ways to make that possible for all children regardless of where they come from. I plan to encourage both of my kids very strongly to pursue as much education as we can afford for them. I think my charge in reading this article and looking at my own life’s experience, however, would be similar to the charge given by the original author. Educators - at both high school and collegiate levels - should be given the freedom to craft curriculum that will prepare students for the foundational needs necessary to succeed in their eventual chosen field, and the notion of choosing a lifelong skillset to learn at age 18 needs to be broadened considerably. Only then can we truly equip young people to be lifelong learners and set out with the basic skills they need to be successful.
How does your experience reflect on this view? Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to know your thoughts. The marketer in me is interested and I hope you’ll join the conversation.
Blake is the Director of Marketing at SchoolStatus, but marketing wasn't always her main focus. Ask her about bellydancing, her culinary prowess, or her skills in web design...she's amazingly well rounded. Blake knows firsthand that life throws a lot of twists and turns at a person, which is why she's passionate about education. So go ahead and ask her about actually making a difference in education...she has a lot to say.