Being happy is using your skills productively, no matter what they are.

“Kids make their mark in life by doing what they can do, not what they can’t… School is important, but life is more important. Being happy is using your skills productively, no matter what they are.” ~ Howard Gardner  10492471_799282496770248_8954768568170265285_n Learning is about discovering your purpose and passion in life. Schools should provide diverse pathways and opportunities for students to explore and unleash their specialized skills and abilities…not standardize them.

Testing and training students to meet common standards does not prepare them for the social and emotional challenges of uncommon careers.

“The second concern is justifying the Common Core on the highly dubious notion that college and career skills are the same. On its face, the idea is absurd. After all, do chefs, policemen, welders, hotel managers, professional baseball players and health technicians all require college skills for their careers? 

Do college students all require learning occupational skills in a wide array of careers? In making the “same skills” claim, proponents are really saying that college skills are necessary for all careers and not that large numbers of career skills are necessary for college…

Nearly every study of employer needs over the past 20 years comes up with the same answers. Successful workers communicate effectively orally and in writing and have social and behavioral skills that make them responsible and good at teamwork. They are creative and techno-savvy, have a good command of fractions and basic statistics, and can apply relatively simple math to real-world problems like financial or health literacy…

All students should master a verifiable set of skills, but not necessarily the same skills. High schools fail so many kids partly because educators can’t get free of the notion that all students — regardless of their career aspirations — need the same basic preparation.

As states pile on academic courses, they give less attention to the arts and downplay career and technical education to make way for a double portion of math. Maintaining our one-size-fits-all approach will hurt many of the kids we are trying most to help. Maybe the approach will just lead to another unmet education goal. But it won’t resolve the already high rate at which students drop out or graduate without the skills and social behaviors required for career success.”

Robert Lerman, “Are College and Career Skills Really the Same?” – The Business Desk / PBS NewsHour

1393507_675711665793999_502843546_n Common Core evangelists would do well to consider the possibility that close reading and the ability to independently answer text-dependent questions may not be the essential and primary skills many employers are looking for in their employees. That’s because the answers to most of the on-the-job questions and problems our students encounter in the future, will not be found in the text. While we wouldn’t have skyscrapers and bridges without properly trained and educated architects and engineers our vibrant cities would be nothing more than 3D architectural models without the collective efforts of masons, steel workers, electricians, authors, plumbers, door men, sculptors, maintenance workers, street vendors, sanitation workers, waiters, first responders, actresses, painters, landscapers, taxi drivers, athletes, bus drivers, opera singers, tow truck operators, ferry captains, curators, orchestra members, poets, chefs, toll collectors, zoo keepers, elevator repair men, street performers, pilots, conductors, horse-drawn carriage drivers and…. superhero window washers! SuperHeroes-3 “These great thinkers [Gardner, Armstrong ] have proposed a much healthier question regarding intellect, not how smart are you but, How are you smart?…The ways in which you are smart are a part of the seed within you and hold the key to your further growth.” ~ Jim Cathcart