- While substandard education does not seal anyone’s fate, it makes it exceedingly likely that its recipients will be far behind those who had received a better education or had excelled to the extent of getting good grades.
- Teaching is essential and empowering in creating competent leaders and workers.
- When quality education is given, it is taken and used to the benefit of its recipients and eventually becomes the benefit of its investors who have contributed to a more educated society.
The role that education plays in future success is immense. Earnings and grades are highly correlated at all educational levels. It is not a law that good grades mean future success and bad grades indicate future failure, but instead a high statistical likelihood.
Education is not the only factor that helps predict future success/failure outcomes. Other factors include parental education levels and systematic institutional problems, among countless others. Something as complex as the cause of bad grades inevitably has a multi-dimensional explanation.
One takeaway from this article should not be that getting low grades or a lousy education dooms one to failure; learning never truly has to end.
While substandard education does not seal anyone’s fate, it makes it exceedingly likely that its recipients will be far behind those who had received a better education or had excelled to the extent of getting good grades. Therefore, teaching is essential and empowering in creating competent leaders and workers.
Given that most Americans do not fit the criteria for having been well-educated (the United States gets a C+ in the future preparedness of students, for instance – not bad, but not good!), it is fair to say that a massive failure on the part of the U.S. education system has occurred that needs fixing. But how?
Given that the work world is changing rapidly, and the complexity of skill requirements is ever-increasing, it is deeply worrying that so many Americans are not prepared for the future by the education system.
It is so worrying that historians like Yuval Noah Harari predict that a new class that he coins as “the useless class” will develop out of the working class, in which most of this class will be unable to keep up with the increasingly complex skill demands in the world of work.
In combination with the education problem, Harari believes that the jobs which compose most working-class jobs are essentially redundant and therefore are easily automatable.
Whether or not this will happen is yet to be seen, but given its intuitive plausibility, Harari’s prediction is something we need to take seriously. The worry is valid, especially considering he is essentially right about the automation of working-class jobs.
Can corporations help the education crisis?
Some corporations have taken measures to aid communities disproportionally affected by the flawed U.S. education system. JP Morgan & Chase, for example, have teamed up with Kevin Hart to teach financial literacy in disaffected communities.
Given that financial literacy is generally not taught in the U.S. education system, this is undoubtedly a good way of going about things.
Ideally, education reforms should occur to the extent that these materials are widely taught. Still, given the long-term governmental gridlock on the problem of bolstering education, we ought not to expect any such reform anytime soon.
How many companies are willing to step up to the plate to contribute to furthering the education of the populace? That much is unclear. What is clear, however, is that companies cannot afford a pool of C+ ready workers.
Various companies, such as IBM, Google, Meta, and others [predominantly in silicon valley], are ahead of the curve in this respect, offering educational courses as a path to eligibility for employment in well-paying jobs.
Corporations investing in education is a win-win for all
PwC ranks investing in education as one of its pillars of “maximizing potential” for firms.
When such investments are made, they do not go to waste. For example, the EYF (Earn Your Future) Program in the U.S. is a multi-million dollar funded program that teaches financial literacy, reaching upwards of 3.5 million American students.
Of its 3.5 million, 78% of students say they have quickly gone on to apply the skills they learned from EYF to their everyday life.
When quality education is given, it is taken and used to the benefit of its recipients and eventually becomes the benefit of its investors who have contributed to a more educated society.
The more companies that follow this example or one that is similar – namely, investing in education – the education crisis in the United States will lessen, creating a population – and thereby, a workforce – that goes beyond a C+ for future preparedness.
How can this not be a win-win for company investors and citizen students? The more educated a workforce is, the more problems companies can solve far into the future. Moreover, companies and society at large will benefit significantly from similarly substantial investments into educating the workforce of all ages.