• Timothy McLaughlin

Better Preparing Our Future Workforce

Education is critical to any society. For the past decade in Rhode Island, we have seen our state of education flounder when compared to other states. We have outdated curricula. Students are failing standardized tests at an unprecedented rate. State legislators crippled the system with its current laws. We cannot trust them to fix it. Now that I am in a private university, I see the challenges that schools face in preparing students to pass standardized tests. Yet, these very tests are the pathway to getting into college. The reason students are failing these tests are because they are not being adequately prepared. State legislators have been late in realizing that it is the quality of our curricula that produces poor test results. The legislation being considered this session does not go far enough. It mandates a “high standard” for all materials to be taught but nothing defines what a high standard is nor how to achieve it. These test results reflect the standard of education taught in our schools.

Rhode Island needs to better equip students with the skills to be successful in the workforce. Classrooms today are mostly based on concepts of the 20th century. Today’s work environment has changed drastically. When students leave high school, they enter the workforce shocked and ill prepared. They do not have the necessary skills to be successful in the workforce and in their everyday lives. For students entering college and universities, the workload isn’t just different, but the expectations as well. The methods in which you learn are different. We are inadequately preparing our students with the proper skills they need to enter today’s workforce and colleges.

Legislation needs to be passed that addresses what basic subjects students must take. For instance, a class dedicated to civics and citizenship. Students in many schools are not learning the fundamentals of democracy and are not learning how to become active citizens in their communities. Some schools, such as Westerly High School, have adopted this class into their school curriculum. Although some schools have included this course requirement, we must ensure that every student in our state has this opportunity.

High Schools should prepare students with a fundamental knowledge of personal finance. This is an invaluable life skill. Students are expected to understand calculus and how nuclear reactions work, but not how to budget money, balance a checkbook, compose a resume, or fill out a job application.

When in office, one of my main priorities will be to propose legislation that will update course curricula. Subjects must align to the needs of today’s workforce, as well as better prepare students for college. I will pursue the passage of Civics and Personal Finance education in our secondary schools.

Stay tuned for future and further updates on education, environment and more.

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©2019 by Timothy McLaughlin