A Corporate Consultant’s Point of View on the Current State of Education

Kit Fay, a Corporate Consultant and Educator, offered this perspective to Education Transformations.  We thought it was relevant, and we got permission to share it.  We’d love to hear your perspective – do you agree, disagree, or how did this strike you?

I develop courses for corporations, to fill the educational system gap, to help the companies select candidates (technical – technicians, machinists, etc.) for hiring and promotion. Guess in what area? Soft skills: Speaking up at meetings; Following instructions; Working with other people on a team; [and so on].

Over the past three years I’ve taught corporate sponsored training, Junior Achievement, and, as adjunct staff employee, technical courses, at a number of local elementary, high school, and post secondary schools. Teachers in secondary schools tell me they are burnt out, frustrated, etc. They are told they CAN’T fail anyone, not even the student who never does the work, etc. They tell me they spend so much time on admin, they are pressed to keep continuity of soft skill activities. Their hands are tied, they can’t bring in outside help. They love the guest taught classes, which focus a lot on soft skills with interactive exercises, etc. But they can’t just bring in the resources. Their academic schedule is preset and predetermined, with many days set aside for overhead tasks.

The teachers I’ve worked with don’t have any authority to approve an outside resource. Usually they can do so only after their higher funding authority (depending on district structure, school principal, or board) has approved/delegated the funding for the ‘project’. And the time allocated from aforementioned schedule set by higher authority. To my observation, priority of said higher authority is on meeting reporting deadlines. Doing more activities beyond […]