How Can an “Educonomy” Benefit Our Students?

August 8, 2014

Sara Melnick, Deputy Director

And what is an educonomy anyway? Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, argues that Americans need to build an “educonomy” that integrates the educational system, employers, and job creators in order to maintain our role as “leader of the free world.”

Busteed, who will be speaking at the Tuesday plenary luncheon at the NCAN national conference in September, articulates his thoughts in the article Why the Education Economy is the Next Big Thing for the American Workforce. The article summarizes what Gallup has learned from the studies it’s done on the linkages between education and long-term success in life and work:

  • 76% of elementary students are engaged at school but only 44% of high schoolers are. So the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they are.
  • 69% of teachers are not engaged at work and many don’t feel their “opinions count.” And teacher engagement is directly related to student engagement.
  • Only 11% of business leaders believe college graduates are well prepared for success at work; 96% of chief academic officers are somewhat or very confident they’re preparing college students for success in the workplace.
  • College graduates who had an opportunity to engage in a long term project focused on solving real-world problems were more likely to be engaged at work later in life.
  • Parents, current college students and others studied by Gallup agree that the number one reason to go to college is to “get a good job.”

Busteed proposes that one of the most effective ways to strengthen our economy is to strengthen the ties between education and business. Employers can offer internships to students and teachers/faculty. Education leaders can focus on teacher engagement and consequently, student engagement. NCAN members can also forge relationships with the business community to provide these internship opportunities to their students – in fact many already are. Busteed will expand on this idea at the NCAN conference; his talk will undoubtedly be provocative and engaging.









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