Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The State of Minnesota Education in 2025

Our educational system, like our economy, is influenced by a myriad of factors. Though it is hard to predict what the future of Minnesota’s schools will look like with near perfect certainty there are some developing trends, both a state and national level, that provide reasonable indications of the shape of the world that may exist come 2025.

The readings that informed our discussions can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/ mnlfi2025/home/focus-areas/big-picture---mn-in-2025. The NCES study, Projections of Educational Statistics to 2018 was extremely useful in its summation of the major trends in U.S. education. Looking at this report, in conjunction with the developing MN population projects and the Minnesota and the New Normal presentation information, helped to provide a sense of what our state educational system will look like in 2025. Literary learning in the Hyperdigital Age was a good exercise in what types of service libraries may offer in the near future as we seek to further carve out a niche in the increasingly digital world.

During the small group time our discussions converged on these trends and topics:

Growth, growth, growth...and some declines
  • Large increases in student enrollment predicted for South (18%) and Western states (15%). A decrease is predicted for Northeast (5%). The Midwest will remain stable, with little to no change in enrollment. On a K-12 spectrum the largest enrollment increases will be at the K-8 levels, at around 10%.
  • High school graduation rates will mirror K-12 enrollment rates in that there will be increases in public school grad rates, declines at private schools, and geographically the South and West will have the most increases in high school graduates while the Northeast will experience decreases

A more diverse and public-school oriented sector
  • It will be a much more diverse group enrolling at post secondary institutions (largest will be Hispanic)
  • There exists a continual trend of more women enrolling then men, both at the undergraduate and graduate level in higher education. However, there will still be an increase for both men and women in obtainment of post-secondary degrees, but larger gains will be made by women (most drastic change at the Doctorate level). And on a whole the 25-34 year old age group is expected to see biggest enrollment increases.
  • Post-secondary enrollment will be about the same for both private and public institutions
  • Most striking about high school grad rates is the drastic change in private school graduation rates, changing from a 27% increase from ‘93-’06 to a projected 10% decrease.

Doing more (but will it be with less?)
  • The number of elementary and secondary teachers is projected to increase (as related to projected levels of enrollments and education revenue receipts from state sources per capita) and large increases will occur in educational spending.

Non-digital spaces
  • Libraries existing as non-digital spaces as a counter to texting, keyboarding, “IM”ing, blogging, tweeting, etc serving to help foster and augment good writing and reading. Can libraries maintain a “productive tension” that exists between non-digital and digital spaces?

Enrollment growths will mirror the population growth hot spots in the West and South and we will see a growth in diversity in our school populations that reflects this demographic shift as well. As the number of teachers, K-12, is projected to increase, supposedly also is educational spending. But with growing state debts and a continuing national recession will educators just really be asked to do more with less? What are your thoughts? How much will economic considerations influence the resources available to our schools and can libraries occupy spaces within the educational sector that might mitigate economic strains upon our school systems?

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