Educating children in the 21st century is not easy. Children must learn life, literacy, social networking and academic skills to have hope for a modicum of success in society. Technological advancements, globalization, global warming and economic collapse present problems that seem almost insurmountable for most children.
Providers of education in the 21st century must redefine the education delivery system. Being realistic, providers of education must face the growing reality that technological advancements have made traditional middle and high school challenging in the provision of education. Although, there exists many reasons for maintaining the education delivery system just as it is, evidence exists that the system is undergoing transformations because of advances in technology.
Students in some high schools are graduating with Associate degrees from community colleges before they finish high school. Youth in elementary school know just as much, or more than their counterparts on the middle and high school level, and therefore are making the conversation necessary about the relevance of today’s educational environment for middle and high schools to continue as they do today.
The discussion of the relevance of middle and high school in the current education system create a need to redefine alternative education. Alternative education is necessary and is occurring every day in society because of the proliferation of technology. Alternative education exists in some form at every level of education. Once thought to be for disadvantaged and/or minority students, the need for alternative education is undergoing changes because of technology and its effect on the business market.
Alternative education is the provision of education outside of the parameters of the normal school setting. Online education is becoming one of the most noticeable alternative paths to education. Technology provides students with the opportunity to gain an education anywhere, anytime, and in almost any subject. The obsolescence of the normal school setting is occurring rapidly.
Proponents of mainstream education must adapt to the changing trends in education. Not all students are college material, but all students can learn. Therefore, redefining alternative education to encompass all paths of education outside the mainstream of education is necessary. Educators must begin to think outside the box and become creative and innovative. The current education system is failing many students. The current system is not keeping pace with the changing needs of society.
Educators must begin to use new standards to measure student accomplishment. The lack of computers, comprehension, logic, interpersonal and intra-personal skills are detrimental to today’s youth. In addition to the current curriculum, students need to develop technical and soft skills to become successful in the 21st century’s global society.
The deployment of alternative paths to gain an education may be the answer to the growing problems in education. Although threatened by economic shortfalls, educators must push the boundaries of education to reignite the thirst to learn in youth.
Answers to the questions of how to fix the education system lie within the realm of possibility. Educators hold the key. Teams of educators can forge a new path by unleashing the untapped tacit knowledge within. When educators become creative and innovative, things can change.
Challenges do exist in the structure of school administration, laws, and technology. When educators, parents, administrators and students join forces and work as a team new paths of learning will emerge from the shadows of today’s education system. These new paths of change will be the catalyst to overcome the obstacles that change brings. Change is inevitable. Change requires new ways of viewing education. Change requires the redefinition of education, alternative education and school.