Teaching students basic life skills

By David Yockey

  I recently attended the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  The featured speaker at this conference was Josh Davies of the Colorado Workforce Development Coalition.  As always, the keynote speaker delivered a thought-provoking message.  His message was that we need to do more in today’s society to make sure that our students learn basic traditional life skills.  The State of Ohio gives us very little choice in the need to make certain that our students do well on the State achievement tests with the publishing of a State report card and grading of school systems based on these State tests.  However, we must be cautious that we do not ignore other life skills that are important to students in the workplace.  Mr. Davies pointed out that in one study only 11% of those fired from jobs were fired because of a lack of skills after they had originally shown that they met the qualifications for the job.  He said that most of the reasons people had been fired were attitudinal in nature.  Some of these were (1) dishonesty, (2) lying on a resume, (3) refusing to follow directions, (4) conducting personal business at work, (5) inconsistency in their work, (6) an inability to get along with others, (7) tardiness, (8) absenteeism, and (9) drug and alcohol abuse.  He says we need to continue to help students understand that businesses expect employees to meet these personal expectations.  I am very pleased that we have recently hired a person whose job it will be to coordinate shadowing and mentoring experiences for students in the workplace where students will reinforce these concepts.  I am currently serving on a task force through the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce which is trying to find ways that we can cooperate between businesses and the schools to better prepare students for the workplace and to better understand what businesses expect of them.  It is important that we not forget these characteristics and that they not get lost in our need to prepare students to perform well on State academic achievement tests.  Mr. Davies says in the past these were attitudes that were shaped in the home but that in today’s world many students do not develop these skills and that we must do more in schools to help students develop them.

David Yockey is a candidate in the November 5, 2013 school board election. Visit his website at www.davidyockey.com.

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One thought on “Teaching students basic life skills

  1. There’s no doubt that most firings in the private sector are the result of an employee‘s bad behavior. Mr. Davies may call this “attitudes” and use euphemistic terms like “basic life skills”. But lying, stealing, insubordination, failing to show up for work on time, etc. is hardly “attitudinal” in nature. Nor are any skills involved. However, the suggestion that the public sector step in and begin shaping these “basic life skills” and “attitudes” is frightening.

    The public sector succeeds at virtually nothing. Just look at the mountain of bureaucratic fiascos they’ve created in this country. Our public school system, for example, is the second highest financed in the world. At best it produces mediocre results. Oh sure, there are a bundle of excuses. They need more money. There are the unfunded mandates. They have No Child Left Behind to deal with. And so on and so forth. Imagine a workforce whose “attitudes” are shaped by the precepts of public employee unions. Consider those of the Teachers Union whose members would do the actual “attitude” shaping Davies discussed. Pay for performance is prohibited. Employees guilty of bad behavior receive union protection. But, they get full pay. They get promotions. They get benefits. They get raises. They don’t get fired. The Anaoi case right here is a good example of that. In the private sector those perpetrators would have been fired and possibly prosecuted. There’s no way that kind of behavior would have been tolerated in the private sector.

    Mr. Davies may have the right intentions. But the things he points out belong in the home environment where morals, traditions, and good behavior must be taught without public sector indoctrination. The private sector is well equipped to enforce what it expects of its employees. Let them set the work standards. Those who choose to ignore those standards do so under their own free will. They should be left to suffer the consequences of their decisions

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