If we distill the education system down to a single fundamental principle, most would probably argue that our schools are supposed to teach and prepare children for a productive adulthood.
Schools are supposed to equip students with knowledge and train them in critical thinking in order to succeed in this life. Of course, this is quite simple in theory and much more complicated in practice. After all, understanding technology is exceedingly important, but technology changes so fast that it is often difficult to adjust curriculum in order to keep up with it.
And technology is powerful enough to change the way we see the world; so education must also be able to keep up with how our mindsets change too.
With that in mind, ten schools in Northeast Nebraska have set out to overhaul their career education programs in order to better address the needs of high school students heading out to college or to their careers. Each of these ten schools have received the Nebraska Department of Education grant which is part of Nebraska’s “reVision” program that aligns with the state’s economic and work force development initiative.
“We want our students to be college and/or career ready,” explains Scribner-Snyder Superintendent Ginger Meyer, noting that the area has “a multitude of resources in our local areas. It only makes sense to start working in collaboration to link career education with those local resources.”
In addition, Nebraska State Department of Education senior administrator for curriculum and instruction, Cory Epler, comments, “In order to be competitive in today’s labor market, students need some type of education beyond high school,” adding also that students can also pursue an associate’s degrees as well as professional certificates if not a bachelor’s degree.
Epler also shares that this grant can help to address the need for teachers by developing new programs that can train students at these schools to simply study education and then become teachers once they leave high school. It is a cycle that should be able to feed itself but, alas, does not.
Finally, FFA advisor and agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor at Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Kevin Anderson, shares, “With rural schools, you’re always trying to find more opportunities for students. A wise old ag teacher once said, ‘Students and learning doesn’t stop at school district lines.’ To be able to reshape that education around career ed and where these students are going to end up and not focused on the building the students and their interests.”