The World of Work and the Common Core

If you spend any time reading through the Common Core curriculum — and I mean reading deep into it, not just the standards — then you come to realize just how much emphasis is on the aspect of career readiness when it comes to learning — almost as much as college readiness, but not quite (I think college still outweighs career in the standards). So much of the learning objectives revolve around getting students, even young kids, ready for their lives of work in the world, and I often have a hard time keeping that goal in mind when considering my 11 year old students (and this is one of the striking criticisms of the Common Core — that it is not so much about learning in the moment but more about learning for the future). I know I am planting seeds here in sixth grade, and I know I want them to have a productive and enriching life. I know I have a part in that. It’s just hard sometimes to see that bigger picture.

This is a very roundabout way to talk about a colorful advertising flier (complete with fake Angry Bird-like creatures on the cover) that came in the mailbox the other day. It is promoting an event for business leaders called “Social Media Marketing Conference” in a nearby city. After doing some digging around on the Web, I found it is being put on by a company that helps businesses with marketing campaigns.

Here is what the blurb on the cover says:

“A real-world guide to understanding social media and using it to generate leads, connect with customers, expand your market reach, create life-long customers, drive web traffic — and grow your business.”

I’m not all that interested in the conference itself, but I was intrigued by the sessions going on. Check out some of the titles:

  • The key to social media success: getting off to a good start
  • Success stories
  • Cool tools and how to use them
  • The art of writing for a social audience
  • Managing your online reputation
  • Monitoring what people are saying about you online

The session around “writing for a social audience” intrigued me. Here is what the blurb says that attendees will learn about:

  • How the social audience is different—and what this means to your writing
  • 6 foolproof tips for writing compelling posts, Tweets and blogs
  • Out with the fluff! There’s no room for it in this new social world
  • Reusing content: A good practice—or not?
  • How to sound like a genuine, caring human being—not a corporate robot
  • Responses can be automated—but should they be?

Those are all good skills to have, no matter what field you are in. I’d love to just pop in and hear that sessions, you know?

I also can’t help but think: those are almost the same titles of sessions in educational conferences I have attended in the past few years, with a few wrinkles designed for the business audience as opposed to an educational audience. These sessions center on writing persuasive text, reading for content, collaboration with technology, and use of informational text and media for purpose. Sound familiar? That’s the crux of the Common Core.

I’m not sure what big point I am trying to make here about education and the world of work, other than noticing that businesses are expecting graduates to be using social media and technology for specific aims (even as we often warn students about how they are using social media), and I wonder how many students in high schools are considering how their social media lives might help them land a good job. Meanwhile, those same students need to learn the filters that can weed through the drone of business tweets, Facebook likes, and more that are clearly becoming the norm of the advertising world, and growing every day. Our students need to be armed both for getting jobs and for media-blitz advertising, and be able to take advantage of both.

Peace (in the filter),


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