Obama Focuses on Teaching Tech Skills

VOCATIONALIZING: President Obama's State of the Union address made it pretty clear: school programs need to get with the times and "equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy." He gave a shoutout to P-TECH high school, which offers a six-year vocation-focused program developed with support from IBM. (GigaOM followed up shortly afterward with an interview with its principal, Rashid Davis.) A couple days later, he expressed during a live Google+ Hangout that "it makes sense" for programming to be a required high school curriculum. "I want to make sure that (young people) know how to produce stuff using computers and not just consume stuff," he said. (That's music to the folks at Code.org, who want to help teach the world to code. Okay, they just starting and-- for now--sharing details on who's teaching coding in what schools around the U.S. Expect more from these guys.)

Liz Dwyer over at GOOD thinks the focus on STEM and tech training is all great, but cautions us to be mindful about the "danger to this narrow emphasis." The purpose of school isn't to "churn out workers for Google," she says. Creativity, empathy and other so-called "soft-skills" are just as critical to solving today's problems--and also needed at companies large and small.

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