I’m a believer in lifelong learning. More than ever, education is critical. I consider the opportunities that abound for adults at seminars, conferences, short-term classes, community college courses and other opportunities as niche learning. It’s nice to know that if you feel a void in your understanding in almost any subject, there’s an option. These classes are shorter and less expensive and offer an opportunity to learn then earn right away.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding education at every level. We are worried about our investment in pre-K programs, K-12 districts and our educators. Our system of education in Michigan has been a battle. Announcements that our test scores are low, our commitment to funding is one of the worst in the country and kids are suffering because of it make it an important topic and difficult to solve. Although this isn’t a simple issue, I know that it is difficult for students to focus on learning when there aren’t resources.
I’m anxious to see how learning will change over the next few years. In the classroom, students need to achieve minimum standards but stretch forward and compete in a global society; however, that’s going to take time, financial commitment and a lot of work on everyone’s part. I’m encouraged that this continues to be a topic of conversation that is getting attention.
Going PRO, a campaign launched by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., is working to show the need and value of student engagement in the skilled trades. These messages are working to change the perception that all students must have a college education to be successful.
When I completed my education in the early 1990s, I took a position making $7.25 per hour as a reporter for a daily newspaper. My youngest brother went to a technical school for a quarter of the time and went straight into a position making nearly $60,000. As excited and happy as I was for my sibling, it was shocking to me that there was a way to begin a career without a four-year degree. I just didn’t understand it at the time. Since then, his career in electrical engineering has grown and he end up with a bachelor’s degree in his late 30s. This illustrates that getting educated on the career path as needed can be quite beneficial.
I love the idea that people who have a passion for education, community and children volunteer their time and efforts on school boards to help districts succeed. When I was a reporter, I covered many school board meetings. Although it’s difficult to remember the many topics, I truly recall the passion. School administrative issues are complicated. As we move into another school year, make a point of appreciating educators, supporting students and understanding how you can help make Michigan’s talent competitive in our country and the world.