Education expert addresses 21st century learning

This is the first of a series of articles on the Community Conversaton meeting held Thursday at the Peabody Library.How many of you have your high school diploma? I do. Walked across the stage and received it back in 1989. That was a proud day for my parents and me. I went on to get my B.A. and proudly received that diploma.Tuesday evening, while sitting in the new Peabody Public Library auditorium, I began to question, not the fact of my diploma, but the quality of my diploma—both of them. Who would consider such a characteristic of a piece of paper and four years we were required to endure?Dr. David Dresslar, a former high school science teacher and now the Executive Director of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning based in Indianapolis, brought this thinking to a large group of community members Tuesday night.Invited by the Whitley County Community Foundation and sponsored by the Indiana Humanities Council, Dresslar started the conversation for the community regarding a 21st century education for our children. He focused on three main points:• what we teach our students—content knowledge;• how we teach our students—teachers deliver it;• why we teach our students—it’s tradition.So then, how high is the quality of our kid’s diplomas?Dresslar asked, “Do they go to college and thrive? Or do they take remedial classes? Do they drop out, coming home after six weeks?”Statistics shared included one that especially caught the crowd’s attention: Indiana ranks 43rd in the percentage of adults with college degrees. Dresslar has seen and heard the diversity of international students who attend our engineering schools. “We educate the world’s graduate students,” said Dresslar.Then they return home to use that knowledge. The knowledge, skills and talent are lost for Indiana.So are Whitley County kids ready for the 21st century? Have we prepared them for 21st century jobs?If not, what do we, as a community, need to do to fulfill our responsibility to our children?The conversation continues.