You might be surprised by how many education leaders have a hard time answering what seems to be a very basic question about what they do: What’s the goal of education?
The reason, of course, is not because they don’t know what education is, but because education is not a single-focus endeavor. As educators, we’re not just trying to impart knowledge, we’re also trying to instill personal value, civic responsibility, success habits, and more.
So perhaps the best way to sum up all of these goals is to say: “We seek to offer our students better lives.”
And with that in mind, consider this: When you tell people about your life, what do you tell them? Almost immediately, when we’re meeting someone new, we tell them what we do for work.
We’re firefighters. We’re accountants. We’re electricians. We’re teachers. To a very great extent, we are what we do. And so offering students better lives truly must include offering them a vision and pathway to what they will do.
That doesn’t mean putting them in a box. If you’ve ever changed careers — and research shows most people do that many times during their working lives — you know that what you’ve done before almost always helps you be better at what you’re doing now, even if it is in a seemingly unrelated pursuit.
That’s why we’re big supporters of college and career readiness — not because it helps “slot” students for jobs, but because it simultaneously gives them a pathway to career options while building the social and emotional skills that will make them better at anything they seek to do.
The research that backs this connection is highlighted in our latest literature review on the link between college and career readiness and academic resiliency. You can download it here.
The result? Better lives.
And that’s not a bad goal.