What is the purpose of K-12 education? Is it to get you into a good college? To provide you a career or military pathway? To prepare you for life? Maybe it’s all three. Maybe it depends on the student, or the needs of their family or community.
There’s considerable conversation around education and future success – but who is defining what success is? Is the path to success though a post-secondary degree? Are marginalized populations and students included in these conversations? And when many students will graduate into an uncertain future with new or different demands, thinking about the goals of a K-12 education needs to extend beyond workforce development.
This is a great moment to ask yourself and your learning community – including students! – a few questions:
- What are the skills and dispositions you guarantee your graduates will leave with?
- What learner-driven pathways will support the development of those skills?
- What opportunities could education provide for students to discover and cultivate the unique gifts, talents and interests they possess?
- In what ways do learners and the broader community think working will be different in the future? How might those changes impact learners’ aspirations?
- What traditional notions of success are at play in your learning community? How might they need to shift as the world of work shifts?
In a personalized, competency-based learning environment, the goal is for students to be adaptable, resilient, collaborative and self-aware – with research showing that these skills will serve students well regardless of the choices they make for their futures after graduation.