Interesting Learning Initiatives in Texas and the UK

Texas and the UK don’t really have anything in common (barely even a language) but I spotted two learning initiatives in this morning’s newsletter batch that made me think because I am trying in my own little way to do both: learn Spanish and learn new skills.

The initiative in Texas is probably not really about learning Spanish, but more about helping limited English proficient students learn English in dual-language classrooms. The outcry against the idea is that students shouldn’t be immersed in an un-researched pedagogy. The potential problem to me is that the native Spanish speakers will learn English and when that happens, the native English speakers will not have mastered academic quality Spanish. There is a whole continent south of us with culture and literature and commerce that we could appreciate more if we were a bi-lingual nation. But let’s do it well.

The dual-language idea is with elementary students, but the other idea I want to feature today is for adults in the UK. Called “New Skills Help You Flourish at Work,” the public relations campaign is designed to encourage adults to learn new skills because the number of low skilled jobs is declining and because the UK will fall behind in the global economy if its workforce is not highly skilled. The skills in questions are numeracy and literacy skills and undoubtedly technology skills.

My concern is that employers will recognize and hire people qualified through the continuing education programs the government is promoting. I recently saw a report about US workers who had received government education loans for certificates and degrees that employers didn’t consider high enough to qualify the new adult graduates for the jobs they sought. These hopeful, hardworking folks now not only didn’t have jobs, they did have student loans.

Both the Texas and UK learning initiatives are promising if they are backed with the follow through that will truly bring results for the people whose lives are involved.

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