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Most Likely to Succeed

Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

By Tony Wagner & Ted Dintersmith
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Most Likely to Succeed by Tony Wagner & Ted Dintersmith

Most Likely to Succeed (2015) takes a close look at the current state of the US education system and its failure to prepare the next generation of kids for the era of innovation. These blinks detail the history of education, why it’s essential to rethink the way we teach our children and how we can do just that.

Key idea 1 of 9

The US education system leaves people unsuccessful, unhappy and uninformed.

When you were fresh out of college, did you have any difficulty finding a fulfilling job? Or did you nimbly climb right up the career ladder without encountering a single obstacle along the way?

Well, if you’re like the vast majority of US citizens, you probably fall into the former group. Right now, the education system in the United States isn’t sufficiently preparing students for career success.

If you think otherwise you need only look at the data:

A Gallup study done a few years ago found that only 11 percent of American business leaders feel that colleges prepare students to be successful in the workplace. It also found that over half of all recent college graduates are either unemployed or employed in jobs they could have done without a pricey university education.

But producing workforce-ready graduates isn’t the only thing the education system is failing to do – it’s also failing to create informed citizens.

For instance, the non-profit educational institute Just Facts conducted a poll of American voters, and found that people who vote most often know very little about the basic facts surrounding major election issues. This same group of people could only answer about 20 percent of questions correctly on topics such as government spending and climate change.

And finally, our education system is actually making people unhappy. Just consider the teen suicide rate; since 1950, the rate of suicide among college-aged people has doubled – and for high schoolers, it has tripled!

So, the education system is a disaster on multiple fronts, but our societies are still obsessed with academic credentials.

As a result, people are still asking questions about whether someone went to college and how prestigious their school was. It’s easy to see why when you consider that the aforementioned Gallup poll also found that 94 percent of American adults think college is essential to their children’s career prospects.

But why are we so obsessed with these supposed markers of success when students don’t seem to derive much benefit from them? To answer that question, we need to delve deep into the history of education.

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