Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow

Rachel Roseberry

Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers
July 2009

This report from President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers finds education and economics to be deeply entwined. The council believes America should prepare its workforce for the future, for example in promoting the development of critical-thinking abilities over specific technical skills. But the path to gaining these skills does not lie solely in the direction of what we now know as "21st Century" skill-based standards and their ilk. Rather, the report recommends that high-quality, primary and secondary education must focus on strong basic skills, quality instruction, high standards, rigorous assessments, and strong accountability. The report also expects the education sector to contribute to substantial job growth with more jobs in teaching and administration. A Fordham Institute study released in June supports this. That study found that many science and math majors in Ohio's top universities would consider jobs in education (see here).

Though the council's report devotes the majority of its pages to post-high school training, the bottom line is that our economic crisis should be addressed from the bottom up -- and the bottom starts young. It's an important reminder from a new administration that strong standards, teacher quality, and accountability reform are not only beneficial to the individual student, but to the nation as a whole. Read the report here. 

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