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The Common Core: A Worthless Basis for Determining Workforce Readiness

Modern Learners, a weekly email newsletter, offers many links to insightful and thought provoking blog posts ad articles. Yesterday’s “issue” of the on-line newsletter was no exception, featuring a link to Harold Jarche’s blog post titled “The Future of Human Work”. In the post Marche, who is a management consultant based in Canada, opens with this paragraph:

People can never be better at computing than computers. We cannot become more efficient than machines. All we can do is be more curious, more creative, more empathetic. The fact that automation is taking away jobs once designed for people means that it is time we focus on what is really important: our humanity. Service delivery will gradually improve as machines take it over. Accidents will diminish with self-driving cars. Errors will be reduced with robotic surgeries. Many human jobs will fade away.

While Jarche doesn’t say so in the post, many futurists believe the jobs that remain will fall into two broad categories: low-level service work and high-level intellectual work. In neither instance, though, will mastery of the common core be important since those skills measured by tests designed to measure learning of common core skills are unimportant to any of the work that will be available. Jarche elaborates:

We are on the cusp of being a digitally networked and computer-driven society and it seems we are throwing away the only thing that will enable people to have a valued role in it. Common core education standards are useless for this world of work. So are standard academic disciplines, as well as standard job competencies. These are all for machines, not humans. The future of human work is complex, creative, and unique.

So instead of preparing students to pass tests that measure skills that prepare students for tasks a computer can do more effectively and efficiently— work that is “routine, procedural, and standardized”, we should be preparing students for work that is complex, creative, and unique. 

Jarche is not concerned with how public education might address this change in the workplace. Indeed, the balance of his post describes workshops he offers to adults who already have a slot in today’s work force. But it is impossible to envision schooling that prepares students for a complex, creative and unique future that remains stuck in age-based grade-level cohorts where students are homogeneously batched by “ability levels” to facilitate the routine and procedural learning that takes place to prepare students for standardized tests that measure whether or not the students have mastered the Common Core. Mr. Jarche’s workshops feature peer-to-peer learning and focus on collaboration as opposed to competition. Maybe schools need to look at where the workplace is headed instead of where the workplace is today…

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  1. April 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Reblogged this on orgcompetet and commented:
    El futuro de la educación en red…nos preparamos para la complejidad, la creatividad y el ser único…

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