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The New Normal
Since the beginning of the Great Recession our country has witnessed a plunge in the housing market, a rise in unemployment, roller coaster stocks, global economic defaults, ever increasing oil prices and a federal government that resembles the characters from Wonderland. Every day we awaken to a world a little more changed, a little more unstable than it was the day before. It seems like the only constant is collective uncertainity. Welcome to the New Normal.
Back in 2008 when economy first hit the skids we were promised by our political leaders that a bailout would get the economy back on track and unemployment would decline. We were led to believe that the Recession was temporary- eighteen months until things would start to pick up again. This week, the Federal Reserve has admitted what our great leaders have failed to; the “Recession” is here to stay. This is going to be life as we know it for several years or more. Stock markets are unstable, the new average time for being unemployed is nine months. No work, no income, no hope?
It is in this environment that we start a new school year. We are the individuals that the kids will be looking to to make sense of this new reality. How do we justify encouraging a college education when so many college graduates are unemployed? Does the “new normal” mean we re think our educational priorities? Should we give students school to work skills instead or preparing them for post secondary education? More importantly, how dow we help students understand and prepare for a future that none of can possibly predict? The way the world looks today is certainly not how it will look five years from now; will the economy be stronger? Weaker? Willour society be more service oriented? Will the world be greener or will our dependency on fossil fuels be our demise?
These are the issues we need to face in education- this year and from now on. We cannot be like our politicians refusing to address the reality of the situation and ignoring the need to examine the truth. We will lose kids if we don’t make their six hours a day with us relevant and authentic and give them something more to walk out of high school with than just a paper diploma.