America’s last competitive advantage — its ability to innovate — is at risk as a result of the country’s lackluster education system, according to research by Harvard Innovation Education Fellow Tony Wagner. Taking the stage at Skillshare’s Penny Conference, Wagner pointed out the skills it takes to become an innovator, the downfalls of America’s current education system, and how parents, teachers, mentors, and employers can band together to create innovators. American Education: A Broken System
One message is delivered relentlessly in American education: Everyone should go to college. As a result, competition within the college admission game has been increasing for several decades as more and more students apply to attend universities. While many view this upward trend in college applications and attendance as a positive shift in the value of a higher education, professors at American’s universities are increasingly exposed to underprepared students. Due to these rising college expectations in youth, a post-secondary education has become a necessity to enter the white-collar job market. Subsequently, as the number of college graduates increases, the economic markets become over-saturated with qualified job candidates. While a college diploma is an attractive asset in the job market, American universities are not appropriately addressing the needs of young people. In reality, few people either need, or are able to handle, the rigorous training that college is supposed to provide. In a 1867 discussion on the nature of education, John Stuart Mills told university students, “Universities are not intended to teach the knowledge required to fit men for some special mode of gaining their livelihood” (qtd. in Murray, par. 1). Too many people are attending college, resulting in underprepared students, a decrease in the value of a college degree, and a shift in the goals of education. In order to the American college system to effectively prepare...
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