These days there’s a lot of talk about the Achievement Gap in the US, which is obviously a huge problem. But what is often not addressed is the Global Achievement Gap, which Tony Wagner looks at in this book.
In this book, he takes a look not at our worse schools but at our best – and from there compares the skills kids are learning in school with the skills that are necessary in the workforce. His results in a nutshell? Not so great.
After polling a bunch of company executives, Mr. Wagner distilled the 7 main skills students need today to survive in the workforce:
- critical thinking and problem-solving
- Collaboration and lead by influence
- Agility and adaptability
- Initiative and entrepreneurialism
- Effective oral and written communication
- The ability to assess and analyze information
- Curiosity and imagination
And scarily enough, these are not really skills that we’re cultivating in schools today. If you can, think back to your AP tests, the tests that are supposed to pass you out of college level courses. How many of those tests asked you to solve problems? How many of them really even asked you to analyze information and create a thoughtful written response? Sadly enough, rarely any. There’s a serious deficit in American education, even for the top students, and we’re not doing anything to fix it. In comparison, other countries are. Take China for instance. Long criticized for lack of creativity and imagination, they’re actively trying to change their education system, trying to keep the best of their current education system while concurrently trying to instill their students with the qualities they’re lacking.
This, needless to say, does not bode well for America’s future. I think this book is a great read. It helps you look at our education system in a slightly different way, from a macro level versus the world rather than a micro level and all the problems we have within. And both problems do need to be fixed.