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Quote of the Week
“Work to become, not to acquire.” —Elbert Hubbard.
Published on July 13, 2021
An educator, speaker, consultant, founder, investor, and squash and soccer enthusiast. Glen is the co-founder of the WorkSchool.
What We Can Learn from Billionaires Going to Space
Two competing billionaires have launched successful trips to space in the race for commercial space travel. On Tuesday, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos blasted off into space on the New Shepard spacecraft. Last week, Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson rocketed into space on his own aircraft. Here are the differences between the two flights.
Bezos and three crewmates lifted off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch site and rocketed to an altitude of more than 62 miles above the Earth.
By the numbers
The suborbital space tourism market could be worth $8 billion by 2030, according to analysts at Canaccord Genuity. That would require over 1 million potential customers wealthy enough to afford the ticket and be interested in going to space.
After he landed yesterday, Bezos said sales for private seats on Blue Origin flights (two more of which are planned for this year) are already approaching $100 million. “The demand is very, very high,” Bezos said.
For now, space tourism companies are courting the Saint-Tropez crowd. Virgin Galactic, the company that launched founder Richard Branson to space earlier this month, promised that its astronauts would be outfitted in spaceflight suits tailored by Under Armour and served post-flight drinks, such as the “Beyond the Clouds Cocktail.”
Reality check: While space tourism news has gotten the recent buzz, it’s just a small slice of the overall space market, which is currently dominated by SpaceX. In its big report on the space industry, Morgan Stanley identified the 10 drivers of a space economy that could grow to $1 trillion by 2040. Space tourism is just one of those drivers.
Bottom line: More than anything else, these launches have been great marketing vehicles for the industry. Space-tech startups have raised $3.6 billion across 94 deals in the first six months of this year, and fundraising is on track to shatter last year’s record.
School Librarian: New Study Shows a 20 Percent Decline in the Last 10 Years
In spite of the high increase in the number of students who sort information through online mediums, the number of school librarians who could help them learn the fundamentals of research and media literacy have been quietly disappearing.
A report published on Monday from the School Librarian Investigation: Decline or Evolution? (SLIDE), a research project through Antioch University Seattle and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, highlights an ongoing decline in the number of districts nationwide with school librarians.
What is happening? According to the findings, there were about 20 percent fewer librarians during the 2018-2019 school year in the 13,000 districts examined than a decade prior. But the absence of these educators isn’t equally distributed; Smaller, rural districts, and those with higher proportions of English-language learners, Hispanic students, and low-income students were more likely to lack a librarian.
“What we knew from our work since 2018 is that we've been losing school librarians at a pretty alarming rate for a decade,” says Keith Curry Lance, a library statistics and research associate with the RSL Research Group, and co-author of the study. “But everybody’s not losing their school librarians, just the people who can least afford to lose them.”
Backstory: The dropping rate of districts with librarians isn’t a recent change. In fact, the steepest declines happened in the early 2010s, although a downward trend has been consistent throughout the decade. As of 2018-2019, about three in ten school districts lacked even a single librarian.
That trend contrasts with changes to other education professions over the same period. Instructional coordinators and district and school administrators increased significantly over the past ten years and teachers decreased slightly. None experienced the sustained year-after-year losses that school librarians did.
What to know: Districts with higher levels of students living in poverty, English language learners, and Hispanic students were significantly less likely to have librarians on staff. In fact, majority Hispanic districts were more than twice as likely to have no librarians. Majority non-white districts generally were also less likely to employ a librarian, although the correlation wasn’t as dramatic.
Notably, the researchers found that financial resources were not correlated to librarian staffing. They examined various levels of per-pupil spending among districts and found that those that spent the least actually had better staffing than some that spent more.
“The explanation you get nine times out of ten when you ask ‘Why did you cut your librarians?’ is ‘We just couldn't afford it. We hated to do it but we just didn't have enough money,’” says Lance. “Well, that doesn't line up with the per-pupil spending data.”
The study authors also found that nine out of ten charter districts, which can sometimes include a single school, had no librarians as of the 2018-2019 school year.
One important determining factor for districts is legislation mandating some level of school librarian staffing. Although these policies are not always enforced, having laws on the books still correlates with having a school librarian in at least one school in the district. States that had more university programs that train K-12 teachers in library media and grant them endorsements are also more likely to hire them across their districts, but those programs are on the decline.
“This is the chicken-or-the-egg situation. As the universities don't produce [librarians], school districts are saying, ‘I can't find people so we won't have the school librarian,’” says Debra E. Kachel, affiliate faculty at Antioch University Seattle and the study’s other co-author.
Bottom line: The new research does, however, provide important context for understanding the landscape immediately before the latest economic downturn. And looking ahead, the effects of these losses will compound over time, says Kachel. She found that only a small fraction of districts without a librarian a few years ago reinstated any of those educators.
“There are a lot of school administrators now who have been in districts where there have been no school librarians ever,” she says. “Why would an administrator want to add a position when he or she has never experienced working with that type of professional?”
TOP 5 COURSES ON WORKSCHOOL THIS WEEK
It is a new week, there are many interesting and exciting courses on WorkSchool this week. Looking for the best way to start or elevate your tech career, this is the best place to start.
Finding it difficult on which online course to take? Or you have been having impostor syndrome? Worry no more. Taking online courses gives you the opportunity to improve yourself and change your condition. Are you looking for the best career learning path? We got you. This week, we highlight five courses you can take on our website.
Top 5 courses on WorkSchool:
Why these courses: Getting a technical skill and a soft skill is the best thing you can do for your career, at this point. These courses will help you improve at your current job, and give you the opportunity to pick up a new skill. There are endless possibilities in tech, and taking any of these courses will put you on the right path.
Duration: You can complete the courses and earn your certificate within some hours.
Big picture: There is no sector in the world where technical skills are not needed. An average computer programmer makes over $50,000usd. You can be among the few people transforming their lives with tech. Transitioning to tech is made easy with WorkSchool.
Salesforce closes $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack
Software giant Salesforce (CRM) officially closed on its $27.7 billion record acquisition of messaging app Slack Technologies (WORK) on Wednesday, as the company bets big on a digital work-from-anywhere future.
“Together we'll define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement.
Slack's co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, who will continue to lead the company, called the deal “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and reshape how and where we work.”
“Salesforce and Slack are uniquely positioned to lead this historic shift to a digital-first world. I could not be more excited for what's to come,” Butterfield added.
Backstory: In December, Salesforce signed a definitive agreement to acquire the popular messaging software platform Slack Technologies in a cash and stock deal worth $27.7 billion, making it Salesforce's largest-ever acquisition. Last week, the Department of Justice told the company it closed its antitrust investigation of the deal, giving the green light for the transaction's close.
As companies debate the future of work post-COVID, Salesforce said companies learned last year that “if you don't have a digital way to connect with your employees, customers, and partners, you don't have much of a chance of surviving.”
“Headquarters are no longer on Madison Avenue or Main Street—they are in the cloud. Every business—in every industry—has to optimize for a digital-first customer, employee, and partner experience,” the company said in its announcement.
Way to go: Shares of Salesforce were last trading up 0.14%, or 34 cents, near $240.45 in the pre-market. Shares of Salesforce are up 7.9% year-to-date.
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-David Atilola contributed to this article.
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