The annual Speak Up survey returns, with some unsettling data
revealing a disconnect between students and their educators.
TWENTY-THREE PERCENT. Twenty-three
That is the number of students--
self-labeled "advanced tech"-- who
answered yes to the following question
on last year's Speak Up survey: Is your
school doing a good job of preparing
you for future jobs?
That is an amazingly and alarmingly
low number. Even more alarming--
in relation to this and many other
questions-- is how out of sync with
those students are our school principals,
district administrators, teachers,
and parents. Witness the breakdown
of the percentage of yes answers to
the same question about job readiness
received from each group:
school principals, 66 percent; district
administrators, 48 percent; teachers,
47 percent; parents, 43 percent.
There's even a 20-point margin
between the students and the group
whose viewpoint they are in closest
accord with-- ironically, their parents.
This is but one chunk of stats
available from Speak Up, an
annual online survey coordinated
by Project Tomorrow that
collects, analyzes, and reports
on the authentic, unfiltered
voices of K-12 students,
teachers, parents, and
part in the 2008
survey at the Project
through Dec. 19.
Perhaps all of us in
the educational technology
community have at
some point acknowledged
a disparity between how
students act in school
and out of school, as well as a disconnect
between the tools they use
in school and out. A new concern of
ours should be this enormous gap
between how students assess their
education and preparedness and how
the adults around them feel about it.
Do the kids perceive a real and
serious problem, or are educators
and parents more sensible and have
a greater understanding of the big
picture? And what to make of the
nearly 20-point gap between principals
and the other adults, not to
mention the 40-plus-point gap
between principals and students?
The hope of addressing this
generational divide is one reason why
T.H.E. Journal and the Education Group
of 1105 Media, our publishing company,
are delighted to announce the
formation of a special partnership
with Project Tomorrow. Starting with
our January 2009 issue, Project
Tomorrow will be providing data for the
page of stats that closes out each
issue of our magazine. Our thanks
go out to Jeanne Hayes and Tom
Greaves for drilling down the
past two years to supply us with
compelling data each month from
their America's Digital Schools survey.
Look for facts and
figures from the
2008 Speak Up
survey in our
on our website. In the
take the survey.
-Geoffrey H. Fletcher, Editorial director
This article originally appeared in the 12/01/2008 issue of THE Journal.