(And this article was written in 1982!!)
“Information Society: Will Our High School Graduates Be Ready?” was prepared by Roy Forbes, director of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Lynn Grover Gisi, a research assistant and writer with NAEP. Its intention, the authors say, is to “stimulate research and communication among the groups concerned with technology’s impact on education.” The Forbes-Gisi report reviews labor-force projections, summarizes recent National Assessment findings, and outlines “recent corporate, educational, and legislative actions” designed to address the problem.“Unless the decline of high-order skills among high-school students is reversed,” warns a new report from the Education Commission of the states, “as many as two million students may graduate [in 1990] without the essential skills required for employment in tomorrow’s technically-oriented labor force.”
AN ARTICLE ENTITLED “GRADUATES LACK TECHNICAL TRAINING, STUDY WARNS—BY 1990, 2 Million May Not Have Essential Skills Needed for Employment in ‘Information Society’” was published in the May 12, 1982 issue of Education Week. This article clearly placed the responsibility for the transformation from traditional academic education to workforce training at the feet of the Carnegie Corporation-spawned Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This article fired one of the first shots across the bow of traditional academic education. It clearly defined the new “education” landscape when it described the need for Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy (high level skills of critical thinking; i.e., evaluation, analysis, synthesis, application, etc.) versus “low level basic skills,” emphasizing the use of the brain for processing, not storage (explained by Thomas Kelly in the January 1994 issue of The Effective School Report). The terminology in this article would, eleven years later, be reflected in the major Goals 2000 restructuring legislation, the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act of 1994 (H.R. 6) which referred to the learning of basic academic skills and the emphasis on repetitive drill and practice in elementary school as a “disproven theory.” Some excerpts from this enlightening article follow:
“Unless the decline of high-order skills among high-school students is reversed,” warns a new report from the Education Commission of the states, “as many as two million students may graduate [in 1990] without the essential skills required for employment in tomorrow’s technically-oriented labor force.”
“Information Society: Will Our High School Graduates Be Ready?” was prepared by Roy Forbes, director of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Lynn Grover Gisi, a research assistant and writer with NAEP. Its intention, the authors say, is to “stimulate research and communication among the groups concerned with technology’s impact on education.”
The Forbes-Gisi report reviews labor-force projections, summarizes recent National Assessment findings, and outlines “recent corporate, educational, and legislative actions” designed to address the problem.
Arguing that the computer chip will replace oil in the U.S. economy, and will form the basis for a new information society, the authors say that the “basics” mastered by the highschool gaduates of the future will have to include more complex skills than minimal reading, writing, and computing. Among the higher-level skills the information age will require, they argue, will be “evaluation and analysis, critical thinking; problem-solving strategies, including mathematical problem-solving, organization and reference skills; synthesis; application; creativity; decision-making given complete information; and communication skills through a variety of modes.” …The data from the National Assessment provide convincing evidence that by the time students reach the age of 17, many do not possess [the above listed]… higher-order skills. The “elements of the problem,” says the report, are:
- Foreign competition. The age of high technology is rapidly changing the roles of production and other countries are responding—faster than the U.S.—by upgrading their educational programs on a national level. The U.S. educational system, says the report, “poses unique problems by its inherent commitment to diversity and emphasis on local and state control.”…
- Students. Technology used for educational purposes has the potential to reshape instructional delivery systems, the report says, and that may result in a decentralization of learning from traditional schools into homes, communities and industries.…
- Responsibilities and relevance. Education must become more relevant to the world of work, the report contends, and this requires “informational feedback systems on the successes of students who have completed the required curriculum. Quality control has focused on the inputs into a system—teachers and textbooks, for example—and not the outcomes. Thus there has been no attempt to incorporate long-term information into the management system’s program planning.” The report’s authors agree with a report of the Southern Regional Education Board that American schooling no longer lacks the basics rather the “complexities that make for mature learning, mature citizenship, or adult success.”…
Unless the U.S. can keep pace, the report contends, its “position as a leader of technology and competitor for world markets will be severely threatened.”
Only cooperative efforts involving all segments of society will solve the problem, the report states. In particular, it calls on American industry and labor to play a greater role….
…”Industries cannot afford to pass up these opportunities and others because their future existence will depend upon it…. Clearly we are not cultivating the raw materials, our future workers, who are vital not only for economic progress, but ultimately for economic survival.”
[Ed. Note: There are many responses this writer could make to the above article, but the first of which is that the statement “Clearly we are not cultivating the raw materials, our future workers”—our children!—is the most offensive of all. The use of those words alone when referring to human beings should tell the reader that something is very, very wrong in the United States of America. One has more respect for their pet animals than to refer to them as “raw materials.”
Secondly, the report’s agreement with the Southern Regional Education Board “that American schooling no longer lacks the basics” defies logic! From a region which consistently scores at the bottom of the heap, this is particularly repugnant. The idea that “higher order skills” should be the focus of our educational efforts can only be the product of the thinking of persons who are not concerned with whether or not students can read, write, or compute unless it is to perform a workforce function. Without a basic ability to read, write and compute on a broad base, it is impossible for anyone to have substance about which to “think critically”! Thinking critically—making choices and comparisons—requires a base knowledge that is either acquired through study (as in the case with most children who are students) or through life experience (which adults, but not children, can claim).
Lastly, the use of technology to decentralize “learning” from traditional schools into homes, communities and industries should raise a tall, red flag for successful homeschoolers. These folks are talking about government control of this process.]
Excerpted from the deliberate dumbing down of america, pp. 186-188.