This post from the Steve Olsen blog makes a great point - education is a huge enabler in our society and is, of course, very important. It's tough for many young people to see the importance of delaying present satisfaction for the sake of a (hopefully) higher future satisfaction. That's why it's so important to have a good support system around each student.
So, one day, about eight of us were standing around in the cooler doing whip-its, when I said, “Flounder, what are you doin’ workin’ a [bad] job? I mean, your parents own two businesses. They must be doin’ pretty good. You don’t need the money, do you?”
Flounder replied, “No, we don’t need the money. I don’t want this job. I hate it here. My dad makes me do it…. He said he wanted me to know what my life would be like if I didn’t get an education.”
And related to this, I just became aware of a new schooling trend - schools in malls. Namely, these schools are for students who dropped out while they were in high school and want to get their degree. While I applaud the efforts, and more people getting their degrees, I was appalled by the test results statistic:
So how does the Judson Learning Academy measure up? According to the Texas Education Agency less than 40% of Judson Learning Academy students passed all of the Texas state exams, last year. But it also reports no dropouts in the 2004-2005 school year, and a 100% graduation rate. That's a lot of diplomas, and that's the kind of results, TPS hopes to duplicate.
So while getting your degree is important, I think it's even more important to develop a desire for lifelong learning. Innovative learning methods help and I was surprised to hear Kaplan has developed stripped down SAT quizzes for the iPod. From a business perspective you can see why Kaplan created these programs - you pay a fixed cost to develop the software, say a couple thousand, and then reap the royalties without having to spend more money on the product. I wonder how effective these mall schools and iPod learning programs might be in improving results?