Where will this all end up?
When I retired from the ITT Technical Institute I was acquainted with some great teachers, leaders and schools. ITT had built a reputation of being one of the leading Associate Degree providers for students aspiring to a better life by obtaining entry level jobs. The mission of the ITT colleges were to offer programs that were in high demand and would create added value for the student graduate. This philosophy was instituted in 1946 when Sam’s Publishing Company started the schools for primarily returning service people from World War II. This generation took advantage of the opportunity in career education and after graduation became the fathers and mothers of the generation known as the baby boomers. In the 1960’s, the baby boomers now were looking to a new economy and the necessity to acquire a higher level of new skills in the fast changing technology world. This was a time where ITT Technical Institute acquired the schools with the intention of serving more students across the United States. History will show how the blueprint for theses schools were especially outlined to serve communities by collaborating with employers in the communities they served. Many of the post secondary schools in higher education focused on liberal arts and professional white collar professions but the ITT Institute stayed true to entry level jobs requiring specific skills. Many people associated these them as trade schools and later career schools. For seventy-years America experienced many thousands of graduates who were employed in their own communities. Often the teachers came from the ranks of industry, armed services people and community educators. ITT students enjoyed the experience these people brought to the table. It was my fortune after being employed for twenty years in the public education sector I was encouraged to join dedicated educators who had were committed to teaching.
It wasn’t hard to have respect for these schools and the teachers who worked everyday to prepare their students for the world of work. Knowing these instances of admirable intentions it is almost inconceivable to understand how these schools seventy years later are bankrupt. 2016, was one of the most depressing days I could imagine to know how many of these school employees and students who had aspired to a better life now were looking at locked doors. It is not my intention to spend time in this article on discussing student tuition, student loans, default rates or personnel. It is our intentions in America with schools to present higher opportunities for the students. Job placement was considered an outcome for graduates as a means to success.
The past ten years, has given me the opportunity to continue to follow/up with the changing times of America. Education with each year grows farther away from the common good rested in each school in America from best practices. Clearly, decisions for the common good of students were a collaborative effort with accreditation organizations, educators, communities, employers, and family traditions. Decision change was clear and made sense. Using a consortium of people worked well together for the improvement of education. Accreditation, leadership, research, and experimental activity was encouraged to raise the bar of performance. A known practice during this time was the ability for professionals to share knowledge for the opportunity to listen and be positive about all the critical thinking. Collaboration seems to be a thing of the past and ha lost ground in our future. Today, we are in a attitude for education of win, lose, my way and whose side are you representing.
Education never was intended to be from a leadership of partisan efforts. The partisan role has been prevalent and growing to greater levels from the 1990’s until present. Controlling and implementing education practices with partisan biases and prejudices have numerous drawbacks. During the past thirty-years my perceptions of what has been the effects of our new leadership philosophy has affected education operations:
- lack of freedom of choice
- Inequities of regulations for schools under federal aid
- Lack of focus on collaborative efforts between schools now dependent on who politically is in charge
- Lack of trust in the educational process
- It is not Integrity but what is important is who is power
- Lack of equity of funding based on prejudicial law makers where the majority come from ivy league schools
- Partisan creations coming from unwillingness to listen to all parties.
- Survival plans over improvement plans becoming the norm
- Lack of understanding of what makes education special
- Outcomes of growth measured rather than artificial standards
- Strings attached to funding with interpreters being politicians
Partisanship combining politics and education does not work!
When performance really matters by looking at growth outcomes education goals will be met. Education was originally a state responsibility but we have become globally competitive. The entire education system needs re-engineered. There are a multiple opportunities for our learning community with ample delivery teaching methods to meet the needs. It is time to encourage research, experimentation, implementation, review to practice. Our first step is to stop partisan influence and open the doors to collaboration.