During the typical K-12 school years we learn how to read, write and calculate with numbers. In addition, we absorb some history, geography and science; all necessary subjects that help round out a basic education.
For most kids, school is a necessary evil; hence, we attend because we must, not because we enjoy the experience. Then one day we get that coveted goal; a high school diploma. However, does that mean we are prepared for a good job in the marketplace at the ripe young age of 18? Perhaps, we need more schooling, therefore, we set a new goal; a college degree. Four years later, we attend a ceremony at our alma-mater and are handed another sheepskin, certifying that we have achieved a higher level of education. Surely, by this point, we are ready for a successful career; right? Lantana residents Gregg and Ryan Jackson say, “Not necessarily!”
The Jacksons are a father and son team that have created a plethora of educational videos that help prepare people to navigate through the murky waters of the job market after more than 12 years in classrooms. “Our current system of education teaches kids a lot of subjects, but gives them very little instruction on how to apply what they’ve learned in the business world,” says Gregg. His son, Ryan, gave up a high-paying job in the corporate world to join his dad in a business enterprise which they named: Acceleron Learning (AL).
Gregg Jackson, a super successful businessman, who made his fortune manufacturing automotive components, retired a few years ago in his early fifties. He says he’s always wanted to add practical life skills that are sorely missing in the way students are educated. “In order for people to survive in the world outside the corridors of academia, they should be equipped with certain principles of everyday life,” Gregg said.
The point is; after most of us complete the functional skills of literacy and numeracy, we may think we’re prepared to transfer what we’ve learned to an employment situation. Are we? What has the school system taught us about job preparation, financial literacy, career dynamics, legal basics and personal wellness? AL was developed to provide those “soft skills” that are at least, if not more, valuable than traditional education. To properly illustrate those skills, AL hired PhDs, MDs, CPAs, MBAs, MLHRs and JDs, all of whom are experts and practitioners, to demonstrate practical life skills through the use of video lectures and powerful training tools. In order to explain the need for these skills, Ryan wrote a book entitled: Our Bad – Why practical life skills are missing, and what to do about it.
I asked why it is so difficult to get this type of skill set into the current curriculum. “There are two things that contribute to that challenge,” Gregg said. “One is that these subjects are treated as electives. But, it is much too important to be viewed that way. Everyone will have to learn how to make a budget and live within it. They’ll also have to understand how to enter into contracts from time to time in their lives; a mortgage being just one of them,” he added. What the Jacksons are saying is that there is a vast gap between what we need from our educational system, and what is being provided. We learn the basics, but we don’t learn how to apply what we’ve learned in school to the world outside the classroom. Suppose you had been exposed to some of the practical implications of day-to-day living before you embarked on the road to adulthood? If you had an introduction to the practical skills you’ll need going forward, you’re likely to feel more secure about where you’re going and how to get there.
From Our Bad: “Imagine what might happen if large chunks of our population acquire even basic financial literacy. Rather than living beyond their means, being enslaved to debt, and falling victim to predatory practices by financial service companies, people might instead experience financial stability, or even financial freedom simply by understanding concepts in money management (budgeting), asset protection (insurance), and wealth accumulation (investing).”
Some of AL’s endorsements come from leading academics such as Dr. Natalie Lundsteen, MIT Assistant Director of Graduate Career Services: “I have seen first-hand what Our Bad illustrates – the surprising unpreparedness of young people for the world of work. Acceleron Learning’s products offer organizations, academic institutions, and students a way to begin solving the problem.” Dr. Danial J. Curran, President, University of Dayton (Ohio), while discussing implementation plans for AL at Dayton U., wrote: “Acceleron is timely and fascinating. My son needs this product.”
If the purpose of education is to prepare our kids for the conditions they will face after their school years have concluded, we might want to see what this company is offering. For a view of what’s available, the information about the company and the videos can be accessed online at: www.acceleronlearning.com.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.