Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dianne Talarico gave a presentation of her 2025 Plan: A Vision For Our Future at a League of Women Voters meeting on Saturday, March 24.
Talarico emphasized that the way education is administered must be changed because the workforce skills needed for the 21st century are different from the past. Today’s students will be competing in a global economy, and the United States is falling behind “because of the rigor and passion for learning in other countries.” In addition, the job market and work environment is changing, and “we are preparing students for a future we can’t predict.”
Another issue is the rapid advances being made in technology, which means that it is important to “instill the concept of lifelong learning in our students.” Other goals of 21st century education, according to Talarico, should be to train students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, inventors and creators, collaborators who can work in teams, bilingual or multi-lingual, competent, highly-effective communicators and exemplary presenters.
The Superintendent also discussed the effects of easy access to the Internet. She noted, “Kids can teach themselves anywhere with Internet access, but with so much knowledge we need to teach them how to filter it, how to analyze it and how to make judgments about it.”
Also in the 21st century, the Superintendent said, educators and students must ask themselves three questions developed by Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind. These questions are: “Can someone overseas do it cheaper? Can a computer do it faster? Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?”
The Superintendent also discussed the 20-year Facilities Master Plan, which is being created by the School District based on the initiatives developed in the District’s 2002 Strategic Plan. Talarico explained that all the identified needs would cost $800 million. The District is planning on doing $268 million worth of projects in the next three years. This amount is equal to funds that will be available from Measure BB, passed by voters in November. At this time, Talarico doesn’t know if another facilities bond measure will need to placed on the ballot in the future. The superintendent also noted that she used the initiatives from the strategic plan to help craft her 2025 vision, specifically equity, differentiated instruction and early childhood instruction.