Business-school partnerships more vital than ever

Some leaders of the Williamsport Area School District held roundtable discussions over breakfast with business leaders last week.

The productive roundtables were education with a twist.

Those attending the roundtable had the opportunity to educate the educators. To their credit, they listened.

What they were told should be the blueprint for education in any school district and underlined just how important the partnership and business community can be.

They were told that too many kids are coming out of the school system unprepared for the real, working world. And a lot of that ill-preparedness is not necessarily the fault of the school system.

Kids who grow up using cell phone texts as their major form of communication often lack the face-to-face speaking skills necessary to success in a job interview or many jobs. Kids who grow in an environment where they don’t learn that showing up on time, dressing professionally and valuing a job are the cornerstones of getting ahead aren’t prepared to get ahead.

Conversely, a child with communication skills, work ethic and the correct attitude and even moderate educational skills can succeed in a variety of jobs in a world of unlimited opportunity that nevertheless requires versatility and professional hunger.

Some of these skills the school district should not be charged with nurturing. It should be going on at home. Sadly, it’s not going on in enough homes, so the district becomes a product that is part education, part developer of people.

The district can’t do it alone, although we appreciate the efforts it is making to meld social and professional development into the learning experience it is offering.

We also appreciate how much more the district is offering educationally that falls under the heading of practical training for those students who are meant to enter the work force rather than college after they graduate from high school.

The answer for Williamsport and all school districts in the region is to involve the business and professional community as much as possible in their educational product. The district is on the right track.