Education Reform: At What Cost?
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is currently a topic of discussion across this nation. Renewal of ESEA (formerly known as NCLB) will surely have a number of stakeholders weighing in on what is good for our children and, thusly, our nation’s future. Meanwhile, school districts in nearly every state have closed schools at all levels or slashed vital programs (i.e., career and technical education). Some, in fact, are considering going to a 4-day school week in order to cut costs and still deliver a minimum level of service!
Measuring success is difficult and often framed in business terms. To this end, Diane Ravitch’s recently published book suggests that we reconsider how we measure success within our K-12 system. Education is a public good similar to the service delivered by our police officers and fire fighters. Do we fire police officers or close police stations when the crime rate goes up? The point is that we should not judge teachers, students, and/or schools solely on one measure: standardized tests.
This author highly recommends that RAPs get involved in framing the discussion above (See link below for a model). Sooner or later, you will be dealing with the product of the K-12 systems mentioned above. Now is the time to speak-up or be prepared to deal with potential remediation issues in the future!
The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently conducted a study of the (EESS) energy efficiency services sector workforce needs. In its’ findings, there’s a shortage of formal training programs in energy efficiency and a need for more funding to train the trainers also and is a high demand right now. This growth is in part due to the funding for energy efficiency programs both federal and state budgets through the use of American Recovery Reinvestment Act Funding.
Berkeley Lab researchers decided to examine whether education and training programs were adequate to meet the workforce needs of the next ten years; and to define the energy efficiency workforce sector, including occupations, employers need and current education and training approaches, as this had not been explored in previous studies. Although this study began in 2008, prior to the passing of the Recovery Act; a lack of formal training programs could hamper the rate of expansion. The building and construction trades make up around 65-70% of the energy efficiency services sector.
The following recommendations were made as a result of the study:
• Providing targeted education and training programs for the construction and building trades.
• Coordinating and tracking training efforts particularly in states that do not already have well established energy efficiency programs and to share best practices across states.
• Increase short-duration, applied trainings to augment on-the-job training for existing EESS workers and to introduce new entrants to the field.
• Increase funding to train the trainers.
• Prepare the next generation of EESS professionals.