My City Was Gone: the Goals of Education in the 21st Century


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Questions about the goals of education in the 21st Century with a focus on communities in economic decline

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My City Was Gone: the Goals of Education in the 21st Century

  1. 1. Critical Questions: Goals of Education/Goals of Community <br />Just who do you think you are?<br />WHY am I thinking about these kinds of questions? I have more than 10,000 classroom hours as a teacher/instructor & worked on youth, education, and women’s issues in New York City, Hollywood, Europe, the South Caucasus, and West Virginia. I am trying to uncover the essential questions for thinking about the goals of education.<br />I’m currently a doctoral student interested in: education for self-determination; technology for liberty; impact of technology in communities in economic decline; technology for self-governance; communities in decline and technology; the intersection of the arts and science/technology. I am also an eighth generation Appalachian. More about that on the next slides.<br />
  2. 2. MY CITY WAS GONE <br />I WENT BACK TO OHIO BUT MY CITY WAS GONE THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO<br />“My City Was Gone,” by the Pretenders<br />Before Rush Limbaugh took this as a theme song… Chrissie Hynde, the singer for the Pretenders, was singing about her hometown’s disappearance. I think I know how she feels…<br />
  3. 3. To set the stage of what worries me…here are some photos of my hometown. I worry about communities in economic decline… <br />Urban Appalachia<br />Empty street, empty parking building, the City of Bluefield, WV, 2010<br />Photo by Terry Rowe<br />
  4. 4. Urban Appalachia<br />Bluefield, WV, 2010<br />Photo by Terry Rowe<br />
  5. 5. Urban Appalachia<br />Abandoned building, Bluefield, WV, 2010<br />Photo by Terry Rowe<br />
  6. 6. Urban Appalachia<br />The Hotel Matz/Hotel Milner collapses on its own, Downtown, Bluefield, WV, 2009. <br />Photo by Terry Rowe<br />
  7. 7. So where is Bluefield, WV? It’s in Appalachia. Appalachia includes: NY State, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi. Central Appalachiaisresource-rich(coal, natural gas, minerals, wood, and now, geothermal, wind, etc.) but people poor. Mostly, money flows out, not in. My town collapsed after the coal industry mechanized. The workforce was just no longer needed to produce that much coal. Nothing came along (not yet) to fully replace the economic infrastructure in many former bustling towns. Map source:<br />Bluefield, WV is in Central Appalachia<br />
  8. 8. How does this relate to education?<br />
  9. 9. Creative DestructionTwo versions of what happens when the old dies off….<br />Karl Marx<br />Capitalism must clear old economic orders, wealth, ways, etc. away in order to create new wealth<br />Joseph Schumpeter<br />Innovation by entrepreneurs helps create an economic environment in which methods, processes, and products become obsolete by being replaced by invention coupled with innovation<br />What happens to people when the replacement doesn’t come? What if the replacement passes your community by? Is your community just supposed to pack up and go? Why didn’t they have a Plan B? Or is the Plan B, educate local and ship global (as the new global economy is more important than your local economy or community)?<br />
  10. 10. Maybe this is what is supposed to replace the old? Go get a job elsewhere. These are the main industry job projections over the next 10 years from the US Dept. of Labor. Maybe this is the purpose of education in these communities. Educate the young to export them, too, like many other resources.<br />US Labor Stats,<br />
  11. 11. Or this. These are the skills big corporations are saying people need to have in order to work in big corporations in the 21st Century. Thus, they advocate that education in the US should focus on these sets of skills.<br />The corps & orgs sponsoring the Partnership for 21st Century skills . <br />The Partnership for 21st Century Skills<br />• Adobe Systems, Inc. • American Association of School Librarians • Apple • ASCD • Blackboard, Inc. • Cable in the Classroom<br />• Crayola • Cisco Systems, Inc. • Corporation for Public Broadcasting • Dell, Inc. • EF Education • Education Networks of America • Educational Testing Service • Gale, Cengage Learning • Hewlett Packard • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • Intel Corporation • JA Worldwide® • K12 • KnowledgeWorks Foundation • LEGO Group • Lenovo • Learning Point Associates • Leadership and Learning Center • McGraw-Hill • Measured Progress • Microsoft Corporation • National Education Association • National Academy Foundation • Nellie Mae Education Foundation • netTrekker • Oracle Education Foundation • Pearson • Project Management Institute Educational Foundation • Quarasan! • Scholastic Education • Sesame Workshop • Sun Microsystems, Inc. • The Walt Disney Company • Verizon from: (<br />
  12. 12. Here is that word innovation again. Here is what some large corporations say should be the goal of US education. <br />Partnership for 21st Century Skills<br /> <br />Mission<br />P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.<br />
  13. 13. But you know, I am a citizen of this country, too. Should I have a voice in what people in our country ought to know? Should deciding what the goals are of education in the 21st Century be left only to corporations?<br />No one asked me what I thought we should be learning in the 21st Century.<br />No one asked me what I thought essential skills for the 21st Century might be.<br />As far as I know, no one went out into communities across the US and asked folks in them what they thought should be on the agenda for the 21st Century.<br />As far as I know, no one in my hometown of Bluefield, WV got asked what would be the most important thing for people in that community over the next 100 years.<br />
  14. 14. Let me reach from something I have been examining recently. I really like this concept and think it can be helpful to frame how to think about education:<br />One guiding principle of engineering:<br />Design a system, a product, etc. to withstand more weight than it can bear. Design a system, a product, etc. to withstand extremes to which it may never be subjected.<br />
  15. 15. Defining the other 21st Century Skills<br />Some questions that might provide a framework for thinking about other skills/knowledge and how they might be incorporated into K – Higher Ed., community-based, place-based, and adult learning:<br />Education at the Extremes<br />What if educational systems were designed for extremes i.e. to withstand weight they may never have to bear?What would be the characteristics of an education system/educational institutionor community “engineered” to withstand extremes? Is your education system, institution, or community also ready to withstand extremes? <br /> <br />Education for Community Resilience and Survival<br />What happens if the money stops? What if corporate or State (outside) money stopped coming into your community? What if education money and all kinds of other outside money stops flowing to towns like mine to prop them up/keep them alive? <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
  16. 16. What if you looked around tomorrow at your community and what you saw around you was it? That is, the resources and people you have in your immediate community were all you had to work with? <br />What knowledge would suddenly become most important? <br />Who would become the most important members of the community? <br /> <br />Thus, if designing for extremes, what if individual communities decided what the community members need to know? What if the goal was to stay together as a community, what<br />knowledge/education and which people would become important? <br /> <br />The Goals of Education and Who Decides These Goals<br />In the face in the coming years of much unpredictability of resources, work, environment, security, and equity, what really should be the goals of education? Who should be deciding these goals? How do they get decided?<br />
  17. 17. Reactions?<br />Reflections?<br />Directions?<br />Ideas?<br />Thoughts?<br />Answers?<br />Comments?<br />Go to to participate and give feedback<br />
  18. 18. Please add to, take, and share the survey at:<br /><br />Start/continue a conversation at:<br /><br />Be interviewed for the website or submit an interview for:<br /><br />Facebook:<br />Some organizations also working on some aspect of education by and for the community:<br />Transition US<br /><br />Place-based education:<br /><br />Thanks, and, <br />keep in touch!!<br />