Texas Needs More Trained Workers

Greater emphasis on skills training is needed in this state, according to TWC Commissioner, Tom Pauken. We have a “real shortage of skilled workers” as well as significant job growth. Of course, that is music to a trainer’s ears – and to any who are looking for work. Texas needs you, and needs you trained and skilled.
I agree with Pauken that our existing public system is not sufficiently ready-ing student for work, however, he is incorrect that the reason is because it is too focused on ready-ing students for college. The same skills of self-discipline and self-application are needed. It is precisely these skills that the public school has increasingly failed to teach under the NCLB plan. Even though the NCLB plan was originally intended to increase rigor, at least on teachers and administration, when the Texas Legislature ordered that there would be no end to test re-takes and that it would be near impossible to fail students, then precisely these skills took a nose dive – along with the morale of good students and the best teachers.
Pauken suggests we institute yet another test – one that tests career readiness. In itself, that sounds good. Perhaps he means to leave testing academic readiness to the ACT or SAT, but if he intends merely to add yet another test, we must quote Dr. Karstaphen, Superintendent in Austin ISD, “Students do better when we teach them.” She cites the high number of days alloted to redundant testing (as well as truancy) as reasons why scores are not higher.
Yes, I am all for greater skills training. Yes, I am for reform of the system. As long as the public system is focused on manufacturing statistics that are invalid and unreliable, rather than on truly educating our students, then the citizens will have to rely on the private sector for education and skills training.

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