Education in TN – part III

Business and Education: A Winning Partnership – part 3 in a series of 4

The most intriguing topic discussed in the gubernatorial debate on Education at Belmont was the value of the Business/Education partnership.  All the candidates agreed that the intended result of education was job creation and economic security. If job creation and economic security are the intended goals of public education, to exclude business from education planning and execution is irresponsible.

If we are serious about this, then school systems that do not have cooperating business and industry should be singled out and reprimanded for their failure to participate in the mission of their institutions. To be clear, that mission is not to hold class four hours per day for 180 days in a calendar year. It is to successfully prepare its students for productive work and financial stability. Those who choose to stand in the way of these partnerships should be shown the door.

If our government wishes to attract more corporate partners, it should require local school boards to spend time with local business owners. This collaboration would cultivate the best method for utilizing local business skills and talents in the classroom. Perhaps facilities would be planned and constructed in line with local and state needs rather than a broad federal plan from Washington, D.C. Perhaps instruction time would include off-campus experiences to give students some idea of what employment options really exist.

Finally, we can give our students all a great gift if we would require a class in money management. We often allow our children to graduate from high school (I was one of those) with no training in the value of a dollar, the value of work, the importance of fiscal discipline, balancing a checkbook, the imperative of saving, the concept of investing, and what it will take to one day be able to retire from work. The retirement program run by our Federal government was intended to help take care of retirees late in their lives. We can educate the students on how to better prepare for their future and leave the government program out of it.

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