For Public Education, the Future is Now!
A Strategic Briefing for Educators
David Pearce Snyder
Since the early 1980s, there has been an increasingly strident public debate over how to improve U.S. student achievement. There has also been considerable scholarly research and experimentation that has yielded powerful insights about the productive factors in education. But these insights have been all but ignored by the largely ideological public debate, forestalling any purposeful, system-wide educational reform. The resulting stagnation of U.S. student achievement, however, did not pose a significant problem for the Nation until recently, since the U.S. economy had created many more low skill-low pay jobs than high skill-high pay jobs between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s.
Today, however, the boom growth in high-tech employment and an increasing shortage of skilled recruits have made the poor performance of U.S. public education the number one political issue in America, surpassing crime, Social Security, health care and the economy. But the acrimonious and counter-productive debates of the past 20 years are likely to continue unless the pedagogical community gets off the sidelines and actively enters those debates to promote the proven best practices, successful innovations and other lessons learned from our research. We know what works in education; to further delay putting that knowledge into practice will not only prolong the criminal waste of our human potential, but endanger the Nationís future.
Futurist David Pearce Snyder will open this fast-paced session with an illustrated "instant pre-play" of the next 10 years in America, describing how powerful, mature information technology has finally begun to rapidly transform the organization of all enterprise and the basic skills required of all work. Just as The Industrial Revolution required us to invent public education in the 19th Century, the Info-mation Revolution now requires the RE-invention of public education for the 21st Century. In the second half of his presentation, Mr. Snyder will spell out the curriculum content and instructional modes that will be essential if public schools are to prepare todayís students for the emerging realities of life and work in the post-industrial world.
© 2000 David Pearce Snyder
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