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Education panel discusses college, career, citizenship


By Steve Seepersaud

Michael Cohen '72Without a more concerted effort to reach out to today's students, this generation of young people may achieve much less than their parents' generation. Four Binghamton University alumni with distinguished careers in education expressed this concern during a panel discussion which took place at Homecoming. (Michael Cohen '72, right)

The Graduate School of Education and the Alumni Association sponsored "College, Career and Citizenship: The Challenge of All", aimed at Binghamton-area teachers and school administrators.

Ivan Charner '70, vice president and director of the National Institute for Work and Learning at the Academy for Educational Development, said many students lack motivation and a basic understanding of why they're in school. For this reason, Charner said it is critical for universities to better prepare aspiring teachers.

"We've got a lot of kids whom we call hall walkers," Charner said. "They're in the building, but they're not in the classroom, and they're not connected to what's going on."

Elliot Masie '72, head of The MASIE Center, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., think tank focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce, said high schools should focus more attention on preparing graduating seniors for post-secondary education.

"We're doing a good job on the diploma-level work, but we're not asking [students] about readiness," Masie said. "I believe readiness comes from a rich exposure to what your options are, and an intensity to engage in those." 

Michael Cohen '72, president of Achieve and former senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley during the Clinton administration, discussed the knowledge and skills that students will need to engage in college-level academic work.

"There has been a fair amount of research underway in the last five years to try and get a handle on those skills," Cohen said. "In literacy and quantitative reasoning, the skills you need for college and the skills you need for the workplace are essentially the same."

Mitch Pearlstein '70, founder and president of Center of the American Experiment, a nonpartisan, public policy and educational institution that brings conservative and free market ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing Minnesota and the nation, said the breakdown of the traditional family unit has hindered academic progress for many young people.

"One of my concerns is -- and this is an issue that is spoken of more frequently on the left than on the right -- growing class differences," Pearlstein said. "One group gets married, has families with two incomes and the other does not. One group has a lot of education and the other does not."

Graduate School of Education Dean S.G. Grant was the moderator for the session. Click on the panelists' names above to see interviews in which they discuss their careers and how Binghamton University impacted them.

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Last Updated: 8/5/14