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Words With Juan: The Future of Public Education

I have had the pleasure of serving on the Charlottesville School Board since 2006. Now in my fourth term, I have seen many changes in the education system both locally and nationally. These changes are not a surprise to me as a son a public school teacher in Richmond for nearly forty years. I heard changes and challenges discussed at the dinner table. Pubic education raised me. It is now my honor to serve in this capacity.

I am happy to share my thoughts on the future on pre- kindergarten-12 education:

The delivery of education will be highly personal in the future. With the use of computers, educators will be able to provide lessons to students on a continual and personal basis. The school day will not longer look like the current 8:00 a.m.-3:00 pm. This is being done to a certain degree currently. I predict it will be done on a wider scale in the future because it will be a more efficient way to serve the students and meet the needs of the employers that will be desperately seeking workers for jobs not even known at this time. I do not believe that standardized test will exist because education will be so highly personalized. These tests are highly biased and currently demand too much attention when measuring the success of our students.

Teaching critical thinking will also be a large part of the educational component in the future. Again, critical thinking is taught today, but primarily as part of other assignments. Not as an independent subject. Future residents, workers, leaders will need to be critical thinkers in order to thrive and be productive citizens. As stronger critical thinkers, all our students will embrace cultural diversity. Our schools have and will continue to lead the nation in the browning of the nation. The schools have been the melting pot for the changing demographics our of Nation.

Vocational and Technical education will play much larger in the future of public education. Most school districts have a VoTech School. CATEC (Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center) serves this role in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community. A larger percentage, if not all, of students will will have an internship or employment experience upon their graduation from high school. This, combined with increased critical thinking skills, will make future graduates prepared for employment.

I am confident that we will reach these educational goals as many school districts are heading in these directions, including Charlottesville. I am a firm believer that education is not static. It is dynamic and educators should be as well or we will fail our most precious asset- our children.

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