The 21st Century Student

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According to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, we live in a world where technological innovation and global competition are increasing at a pace never before seen. Now is the time to invest in our children to make sure they are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

Competing in the 21st Century, to many parents, means making sure that there’s a computer in the house. However, in order to compete in a global world, it is recommended that students be well trained in Math, Science and critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. Unfortunately, not all states require a minimum of three years of Math and Science for graduation, and less than 50% of high school students are enrolled in a foreign language class

If left to students, most would enroll in the minimum courses required for graduation. As parents, you must explain the importance of enrolling in higher level courses. Then you must monitor your child’s progress and provide opportunities for your children to be successful. In order to do this, you can:

  • Make sure that your child knows the importance of Math and Science in elementary school.

  • If possible, enroll them in a foreign language class, beginning in elementary school.

  • Encourage your child to take Advance Placement classes in high school.

  • Encourage participation in school tutorial and other academic assistance programs.

  • Find out what kind of critical language courses your child’s school offers and encourage your child to enroll.

  • Make sure that your child takes four years of Math and Science, in high school.

A few months ago, I read an article in Time magazine that stated, this is a story about the big public conversation the nation is not having about education…whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good formation from bad, or speak a language other than English. Not only is this a conversation that government and schools are not having, parents are not having this conversation either. Almost 75% of high school graduates enter college. However, only 12% of them complete a significant college-prep high school program. Research shows that students who take rigorous courses in high school stand a far greater chance of succeeding in college, than those who don’t.

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