It Takes a Mentor

Gallup says successful students had one or more teachers who were mentors, and they had an internship related to what they were learning in school.
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Oh joy. We can start tracking twelve-year-olds into “hands-on training programs” to prepare them for their “engaging and fulfilling” jobs operating machine tools, debugging software, or working in natural gas fields. What a great way to ensure that our kids can live meaningful lives.

29 2018-07-15 18:08:49 - Nancy

I am 60 and a software engineer. As long as I keep learning the latest technology on my own, there seems to be plenty of work out there for me.

I also keep my salary a little lower than what it could be.

I learned the lesson when they laid off my more expensive boss but kept me surviving during original down sizing recession of 1990.

In the meantime, the company I work for just hired 10 recent graduates, foreign students from China and India. Keep wages down? Maybe.

1 2017-06-11 06:42:01 - Charles

Let's just get rid of all this Education stuff and get right to Training ! Corporations don't want people who are Educated, they want folks that come already Trained so that the business can avoid the expense of training and get the dollars right to the executive bonus package.

With this approach, we can also reduce the cost of higher education by converting Universities into high powered Trade Schools.

To paraphrase 'Seinfeld', "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

8 2017-06-02 22:19:31 - topsight

Weird !! Why bother teaching kids at school ? just get companies to train children directly for employment. ... As if a company job is the only reason to educate people!!!!

14 2017-05-18 20:44:10 - michelle

The need for mentoring makes a lot of sense to me, both from my own experience and from witnessing the experiences (both negative and positive of others). But how did we make the hard turn from this issue to STEM?

I also think the advances and improvements we attribute to technology produce other consequences, with real costs, which we are not taking into account. I see us robbing Peter to pay Paul, especially because of our difficulty seeing (or wanting to see) what life is all about -- and it's not all about efficiency (not to mention not being all about pleasure, including taking the drudgery out of repetitive tasks -- we learn important things from many activities we can now avoid through the use of technology). I don't see the issue in moralistic terms, I see it in practical terms. For example, if technology has put jobs that can support them and their families out of the reach of many people, and this labor market has contributed to a societal malaise, income and wealth inequality, and political polarization, what have we really gained from it?

1 2017-03-14 18:10:15 - Diana Moses
Of course, in the last year or so, Friedman has also logged the "inevitability" of MOOCs changing the educational landscape. Please, Mr. Friedman, educate us in the way that MOOCs foster a mentor-protégé relationship. We await the reconciliation...
3 2017-03-13 12:35:15 - Paul

At the heart of successful education is the relationship with the teacher — that is the take-home from this article. Mentor, coach, role-model, whatever you want to call it, it's via the relationship that the excitement and satisfaction of mastering something comes through and then students really *want* to learn.

We are galloping down a dead-end path by trying to measure our way to academic excellence with standardized tests, new technology, etc. It is impossible really to measure relationships. Oh, we can get some metrics that probably are useful, and we should continue to try to improve these, but the heart of the matter will elude quantification.

That is the problem with systematizing excellence in education — how do you attract and train and encourage teachers to have real relationships with their students? The answers are not simple, sound-bite solutions, and revising the system so that relationships are central to teaching will not be easy, especially in this age of instant fixes and immediate gratification.

"It's bad when you don't have the answer, but it's *really* bad when you don't see the problem."

27 2017-03-08 03:59:17 - Peter

Yawn. You can have all the mentors you want, unless there are jobs and lots of them, none of this will work. Lots of the current well paying jobs do not involve any skill that is so cutting edge, it's just that the people who have them were born at the right time. Until we address how globalization has hallowed out America, all the rest is fluff.

26 2017-02-11 10:47:52 - Jack

Many of those who have succeeded may have had mentors in high school or university, but that does not mean that having a mentor will lead to success.

A teacher or instructor will likely mentor a student who has unusual potential and there is a good chance that they will have succeeded in any case.

And there are many teachers and instructors who have mentored and caused damage to the student.

It is basically a throw of the dice.

3 2017-01-28 14:30:04 - Joshua Schwartz

@DJS: Mandating paid internships is a great aspiration with ZERO possibility of being implemented. But there is a simpler solution. There are already laws on the books regarding legal requirements for unpaid internships at for-profit corporations. All the government needs to do is to show the will to enforce what is already law. That is possible to be done without ay action from our do nothing, know nothing Conrge$$, but I am NOT sanguine about the executive branch showing the spine to do so.
The rues are here:

1 2017-01-15 12:39:12 - Paul

They should get rid of those who have been laying around too long in the corporate offices. Especially the CEO's office.

3 2016-12-15 08:59:05 - JKile

Other cultures rely on more than the nuclear family for support. Perhaps part of the problem observed here is that we focus so much on the nuclear family, and hence the presence and abilities of one or two people carry more weight than maybe makes practical sense.

4 2016-12-08 11:26:35 - Diana Moses

So, business wants taxpayers to fund specific job training for its employees in addition to everything else business wants taxpayers to pay for, while continuing to do everything they possibly can to avoid paying taxes themselves. When does it ever end?

105 2016-11-23 03:57:44 - John V

The corporations, in addition to wanting "plug and play" workers, also want tax cuts too.

It must be nice.

20 2016-10-31 04:56:38 - Principia

Yes, I know your pain personally. I have similar stories. The college needs to do more to STRUCTURALLY build in mentoring and student support opportunities. Traditionally, a college student IS on their own...but for many of them they are not particularly good at it yet.

Also, national surveys indicate that somewhere in the range of 40% of all students feel psychological stress to the level that makes it hard for them to function. A large fraction of those have symptoms that are diagnosed - severe enough to need intervention.

So, how can we provide the support students need when they ignore us, may not be strong enough to seek help, and come from backgrounds that did not prepare them for college?

I am confronted with these issues daily while at the same time trying to teach, support, and mentor too many students with too many issues.

2 2016-10-29 01:03:02 - Cheddarcheese

The conservative business community is all for letting the "free market" determine prices, isn't it. That is, until a scarcity in labor drives up wages for workers. Then it becomes a "dire shortage", and they demand relaxing of immigration enforcement, more H1B visas, etc. I think that they are seeing that labor rates may go up in the future, and they are just planning ahead, should the free market, God forbid, force them to pay higher wages.

1 2016-10-25 22:41:57 - Hydraulic Engineer

How can schools that have classes of 20 to 30 students and one teacher, create a mentor for these students? Every student needs and deserves one mentor but how?
Businesses also need to mentor new employees, but most businesses don't have the time to allow another employee to teach. Businesses should also have interns if not necessarily for themselves but for the knowledge of the workplace for the intern.
In my work experience we took several interns yearly from various near by colleges with degree programs. It was a wonderful experience for the interns to comprehend how their classes actually related to their future professions. Several contacted us over the ensuing years to thank us for this invaluable experience.

0 2016-10-07 18:38:29 - CA

Free ride with everything, not only training, how about healthcare, paying corporate taxes, etc. Corporate welfare is the name of the game. We pay for everything and the execs and stockholders are drowning us all.

3 2016-10-06 15:00:14 - mtrav

Tesla is coming to Nevada and there are already big plans to gear up the educational and experience venues of those who will be hired to fill the well paid "on the line" manufacturing jobs. Both the University of Nevada-Reno and the local community colleges are becoming working partners with not only Tesla but the the other hi-tech companies that are moving to the area. Finally, the need to train students for the jobs of the 21st century and beyond is being understood and put into action by the powers that be. Finally !

2 2016-09-27 22:06:04 - renolady

Sounds more or less what the Germans have been doing for many years. Integrate work with education and the transition to work is more successful. Like the German system buy in comes at the academic/vocational schools, businesses, and state/federal government. They all must contribute financially and occupationally to make the process work.

5 2016-09-26 21:24:31 - Tom Cinoman

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