Expecting more Featured

5:28am EDT July 28, 2003
Remember Reaganomics and the trickledown theory? It seems that economics isn't the only place that experiences this trickledown effect.

After speaking with OSU President Karen Holbrook, I realized that changes in education start their own series of trickledown impacts. Dr. Holbrook says that the expectations of college students have changed a great deal in the past decade. For one, students want housing facilities with more amenities, including Internet access.

So where does this change in expectations start? Employers expect new hires fresh from college to be computer- and technology-savvy, which is one reason college students demand 24-hour access to computers. But it doesn't stop there. High school students have their own of expectations, especially those who are college-bound.

Basic and advanced college-prep courses teach students to conduct research over the Internet and to turn in papers that aren't typewritten but printed out via computer.

The pattern continues all the way down to elementary schools, and even some preschools, where computers assist children in learning shapes, numbers and other basics. But not all schools are able to equip students with this important tool.

So if we expect to hire college graduates who have this expected level of education and experience, which begins at the earliest age, are we supporting schools and enabling them to provide these? Are we putting our money where our expectations are? Not always -- especially in urban areas and in public schools where funding is shrinking.

If we really expect our future doctors, lawyers and executives to enter the job market fully prepared, we need to provide our schools and educators with the tools they need to do the job, starting at preschool and all the way up through high school and college.

The payback will provide another trickledown effect: Better employees mean better services and products for you. You'll be doing yourself a favor.