The Monster under the Bedby Stan Davis
Can your business compete?
In today's fast-paced world, knowledge is doubling nearly every seven years, while the life cycle of a business grows increasingly shorter. The best way -- and perhaps the only way -- to succeed is to/b>
Companies in the business of providing knowledge -- for profit -- will dominate the 21st-century global marketplace.
Can your business compete?
In today's fast-paced world, knowledge is doubling nearly every seven years, while the life cycle of a business grows increasingly shorter. The best way -- and perhaps the only way -- to succeed is to become a "knowledge-based" business. In The Monster Under the Bed, Stan Davis and Jim Botkin show how:
* Every business can become a knowledge business
* Every employee can become a knowledge worker
* Every customer can become a lifelong learner
The Monster Under the Bed explains why it's necessary for businesses to educate employees and consumers. Consider the fact that the vast majority of 60 million PC owners, for example, learned to use their computers not at school but at work or at home. Davis and Botkin explain how any high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech company can discover new markets and create new sources of income by building future business on a knowledge-for-profit basis -- and how, once it does, its competitors must follow or fail.
Filled with examples of high-profile companies that are riding the crest of this powerful wave, The Monster Under the Bed is an insightful exploration of the many ways that the knowledge-for-profit revolution will profoundly affect our businesses, our educational processes, and our everyday lives.
Robot Logsdon Kirkus Reviews Interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial; it should be read by students, parents, educators, government officials, business leaders, and the public at large. Highly recommended.
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Read an Excerpt
The Reluctant Heir
Most of the learning in use is of no great use.
From Church to State to Business
Through successive periods of history, different institutions have borne the major responsibility for education. Changes in education rake a very long time to evolve. They are a consequence of greater transformations, often social, political, economic, or religious, and therefore are always a kw steps behind the demands of the society they are deigned to serve. But today school are more than a kw steps behind, and many feel they are on the wrong path altogether.
Ben Franklin, James Madison, and Patrick Henry were all taught at home rather than in school. In colonial America, the kitchen was the schoolhouse, mother was the teacher, and church was the overseer. As the agrarian economy expanded, children were educated in one-room schoolhouses. With the move from an agrarian to an industrial economy, the small rural schoolhouse was supplanted by the big brick urban schoolhouse. Four decades ago, in the early 1950s, we began the move to another economy, but we have yet to develop a new educational paradigm, let alone create the "schoolhouse" of the future, which may be neither school nor house.
The coming shift from civil to commercial leadership in education has been evolving for decade, and it will take several decades more before it is complete. The tint great educational shift, from church to state dominance, followed a similar progression. How and why it happened helps explain the current and coming change.
The First Time 'Round
Education in America was dominated by church and family from the earliest European settlements until the end of the colonial period in the 1780s. Family, church, school, and civic authority were intermingled during this early period, although the family had the greatest influence. The Family Instructor, by Daniel Dele (1715), was as popular in pre-Revolutionary America as Dr. Spock was in the post-World War II United States. Most family education, however, was on religious matters. The guiding books were John Foxe's The Book of Martyrs (1563) and Lewis Bayly's The Practice Piety (1612). Christianity, like Judaism from which it emanated, has always been an educational system, with Christ as the divine teacher. Hazard's stated purpose, for example, was instruction to "know God and Jesus Christ."
Church control of education was exerted by the Puritans in New England, the Dutch Rearmed Church and Quakers in the mid-Atlantic region, and powerful Protestant and Catholic plantation families in the South, especially Virginia. Them were also many other church, sects, and religions, and competition among them led to the expansion of education.
The debate about whether church or sum should be responsible for education went on for over a hundred years before the Revolutionary War. It started in 1655, when a Hazard president was forced to resign over the issue of infant baptism. Another challenge to the church was repeated almost a century later when the Independent Whig, distributed from Boston to Savannah, declared: "The ancients were instructed by philosopher, and the moderns by priests. The first thought it their duty to make the students as useful as possible to their country; the latter as subservient to their order." Twelve decades later, with the Revolutionary War and the Constitution, which clearly delineated a separation between church and state, the responsibility for public education was assumed primarily by the state.
The changing of the guard from church to state was propelled chiefly by political rather than economic motives. In New England it took five decades after the Revolutionary War until the Puritans and the Congregational Church relinquished their domination of schools. It occurred first in 1827, when, by taxation, Massachusetts made the support of public schools compulsory. Public support of schools in the South did not occur until after the Civil War, nearly nine decades after ratification of the United States Constitution in 1789 and the Ordinance of 1787, which established "education as necessary to good government."
Only after independence from England did education begin to move from parent and pastor to schoolmaster and governmental authorities. The motivating factor was the need to build a free and independent government. The chief educators of the time, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were first and foremost political figures. As early as 1749, Franklin, in his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, announced a plan to establish a grammar school in Philadelphia that would use English, the vernacular of trade and daily life, rather than latin, the language of the church.
Fifty years later, in 1779, Jefferson introduced a "Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" in the Virginia Legislature, mandating that all children be educated at public expense, which made education a poetical rather than a religious function. The law was enacted twenty years later, although until the 1880s it met with substantial resistance, including armed dashes between the citizenry and enforcing militia.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1830 that "Americans are infinitely better educated than any other place in the world." Part of the evidence for this was the success of the school textbooks and dictionaries written by Noah Webster. The American Speller and the Elementary Spelling Book sold fifteen million copies by 1837. The purpose of his American spellers and dictionaries was again political, to create a national language, distinct from British, that would unify the new nation.
Yet at the same time that the political shift was occurring between England and America, both countries were also evolving from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The emphasis on a utilitarian education taught in a common language suited, and was reinforced by, America's emerging industrial economy. The common or public school, which taught reading, arithmetic, and citizenship, was an instrument first of Americanization and second of industrialization. Utilitarian goal took their place alongside civil and patriotic aims as the changes from colony to fledgling republic to industrial nation gradually occurred.
Industrialization also produced social changes that weakened the educative role of the family and posed further threats to older forms of religious schooling. Sunday schools, for example, were created because of extensive child labor. Since most children had to work twelve hours a day, their only time for schooling was on Sundays, when factories, mines, and mills were idle. Early Sunday schools taught reading, writing, and religion. When child labor laws were enacted, Sunday schools left the reading and writing to public school and concentrated exclusively on religious teaching.
By the late nineteenth century, in their attempt to limit the spread of Catholicism from large waves of new immigrants, state control of education was supported actively by mainstream Protestant churches that had once opposed it. Methodists, Baptism, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists hoped to instill generalized Protestant values of hard work, frugality, and respect for both private and public property into secular schools that would be attended by children of Catholic immigrants.
In sum, the changing responsibility for education was largely a reflection of a changing society. When society's needs shined, responsibility for education likewise shifted. It lay with family and church in colonial times and moved to civil authorities after independence from Britain. In agrarian America education was not thought of as a discrete segment of society. Nor was it truly a pan of the monetary economy or a mater of political concern and public consciousness until the emergence of the industrial era, when it was supported by mx dollars that were measured and accounted for. The one-room schoolhouse had been displaced by the statehouse, and public education grew like crazy.
"It's Déjà Vu All Over Again"
Boston opened the nation's first publicly supported high school in 1821, and in 1852 Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school-attendance law in the United States. Many people believed that the use of taxes to support secondary schools was unlawful. The disagreement was settled in 1874, when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that publicly supported high schools were legal. State after state then passed laws mandating that taxes be used to support a public school system of elementary, secondary, and even postsecondary school. Every state had such a law by 1918, thus consolidating process that had begun a hundred years before and ensuring government's control and responsibility for education.
The most significant education act of the nineteenth century was the federal Morrill Act of 1862, which established land-grant colleges and universities to "teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arm." In the midge of Se Civil War, Congress granted the states huge tracts of land to sell, in order to finance the building of agricultural and technical colleges and universities. Proceeds from the sale of over 17.4 million acres of land went to finance developments in public education.
The Morrill Act fused the interest of government, education, and the farming community into a national policy, and it led to the establishment of agricultural extension programs, the mechanization of agriculture, and the birth of modern farming in the United States. Between 1855 and 1895, for example, the hourly labor required to produce one bushel of corn declined from four hours and thirty-four minutes to forty-one minute, and, between 1830 and 1894 the equivalent wheat production time declined from over three hours to only ten minutes. Perhaps the most impressive legacy born of the Morrill Act was the understanding that education, open to all and focused on learning applicable to real economic needs, could not be divorced from economic growth and national strategy. It is a lesson we need to relearn today.
By contrast, a lesson that we know all too well is that government is often very late meeting market needs, and once it has met a need, it does not step aside. Ironically, the land-grant act established the highly successful agricultural extension program just as America's agricultural economy was drawing to a close. Public spending on agricultural extension programs today is $1.4 billion compared to the about $80 million spent on industrial extension programs, even though agricultural producers contribute about 2 percent to the GNP compared to manufacturers' 18 percent. Worse still, there are no educational extension programs at all to support the remaining 80 percent in services or information jobs, except for some extension studies in nursing and education.
However nobly we may interpret the land-grant act today, its main purpose originally was political. With the country in the middle of the Civil War, education rearm was not exactly a topic on the front burner. The act may have bribed western and border states to stay in the Union, and after the Civil War it assuaged and enticed the South to accept rejoining the Union. The major incentives for educational change were thus political rather than economic.
Nevertheless, when the politics of national unity coincided with the politics of economic development in America, significant advances occurred in education. Today the politics of unity focus on mdt equality and elimination of class distinction. The politics of economic development, on the other hand, focus on international trade, global competition, and jobs. The two are not aligned, and that is why political action is not moving education into the twenty-first century.
Why is education one of the few remaining institutions that is national, rather than international, in scope? The reason, again, is that educational institutions are generally shaped by soot and political forces rather than economic concerns. Every country has used education to promote national unity. Bismarck, in particular, developed the Prussian education system because of the need to unify German principalities. Colonial powers used it to override ethnic and tribal loyalties. Education is now governed by just the opposite logic -- to revive these loyalties and often instill social and political rivalries. Had the motive force of educational development been economic, school would have evolved globally along with the current shift to a global economy.
The most significant governmental education act of the twentieth century was the GI Bill of Rights. Like the Morrill Act, it came in response to war, stimulated more by soot and political change than by economic and technological conditions. The federal government has often justified changes in educational policy on the basis of military needs. Since its inception in 1944, the GI Bill has Other paid or lent money to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It has been the tinge largest educational initiative in the United States, with over $140 billion in grants or loans and a total of seventeen million college-bound recipients.
The GI Bill, however, benefited veterans' personal lives after they left the service more than it alleged our military preparedness. It was intended to repay our debt to those who defended the country, not to direct their study into areas that would secure our national defense. The GI of the forties became the "man in the gray flannel suit" of the fifties. And the education that veterans receded, again ironically, was deigned largely to meet the needs of an industrial economy that was even then on the wane.
The launching of Sputnik in 1957 marked the end of the industrial era and the beginning of the information economy. The country instantly became gripped by the Soviet threat to our national security and saw education in science, math, and engineering as an important way to counter it. Relying on past political rallying calls, the government responded with the National Defense Education Act of 1958. The military-industrial complex poured the economy, and education was more captive to government defense initiatives than it was responsive to larger market needs.
The next sign that government-run education was faltering and continuing to ignore market needs came in 1983, when a blue-ribbon government panel known as the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued the widely quoted report, A Nation at Risk. Again pushing political hot buttons, the report cited national defense, not the economy and technology, as reasons to act. "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today," it said, "we might well have viewed it as an act of war."
Thus, political forces have dominated American education reform for more than centuries, sometimes mandating reform to address issues of national unity, sometimes responding to concerns about national defense. In either event, education initiatives served the needs of the state. Historically economic growth and productivity were never the major cause of systemic change in education.
Today the civil servants in the education establishment are on the defensive, trying to hold on to their dominant role, but they are no longer able to couch educational reform and the mission of schools in terms of national defense and responsible citizens and ignore the needs of individuals concerned about their jobs and of companies concerned about global competition. With the demise of the Soviet Union, education's mission is hardly preparation for war.
This Time the Motivation Is Economic
"History doesn't repeat itself," said Mark Twain. "At best it sometimes rhymes." The last shift in the forces driving education was from religious to political; this time it is from political to economic.
The values mixing from the government-dominated educational system that the business-led replacement will more likely institute are not related to greater social or political equality. The misting values are fundamentally economic. They are about our pocketbooks and how to restore our intergenerational rise in living standards. They are about keeping the American dream from becoming a nightmare.
The establishment of business values in our educational systems addresses the need to revive our economic leadership. The flee market brought down communist and socialist governments around the world and is likely to bring down the hegemony of government-directed education. Maintaining any developed country's high standard of living will mean an emphasis on economic values over social and political ones. Future business dominance of the educating function, therefore, will emphasize values such as competition, service, and standards.
When all the universities in Texas combined graduate two people qualified to teach calculus but more than five hundred trained to coach football, it is an indication that values of soot consumption have crushed values of economic production. The calculus/coach ratio can be token as a measure of market demand. If government presses for a new ratio, and all that it implies, it is interpreted as an attempt to regulate education and not allow the free market to operate. If business presses for a new ratio, however, it is interpreted as an attempt to protect our economic future.
The effort to redirect education toward math, science, and technology is guiding the educational marketplace, whether it is made by government or by business. Its got is to redefine basic values and recapture a high standard of living, irrespective of the difference between flee venus regulated educational markets.
The private sector doesn't want to rake over the public schools. It wants an education system that supplies the necessary human skills to keep the economy and society healthy. The current system does not do that. It was butt to serve an economy and society that no longer exit. The new ways of learning and educating for the future are evolving right now. There are roles for everyone to play -- executives, educator, government, and the public -- and they are very different from previous roles. The pace of technological change is transforming everyone, not just student, into learners, and it is pushing our economic institutions to become educator.
Since personal computers hit the market in 1981, for example, a third of U.S. households have at least one, and more than sixty million people have learned to operate them. Although some commercial schools and some progressive elementary and secondary schools teach computing, most of those sixty minion people learned computing in other ways, outside of school. In addition to trial and error, these included sale-teaching from manuals; washing neighbors or other "coaches," videos distributed by software vendors, and learning channels on telethon; and utilizing tutorials that software programs routinely have built into them. Computers linking interactively with television to produce edutainment will experience similar growth and require similar training in the future. This, too, is likely to rake place outside the classroom.
Educating employees has also become a big business. Members of the baby boom generation have long since left schools and campuses, where growth is now flat or negative, and are employed in the workplace, where they continue learning, now more work related, through their business rather than the government.
While this increase in consumer and employee education is raking place, there is also a parallel increase in the number of businesses helping existing school systems. There are, for example, over 140,000 business-education partnerships. Most are philanthropic and create good pubic relations, and while a small number of these programs are creative and successful, even the best do not spread systemically or transform how the nation's students learn. Nearly one out of two schools depend on private companies to make up for budgetary shortfalls created by government cutbacks. Both business and society are serving their mutual interests by endeavoring to upgrade student education in order to head off a perceived shortage of qualified labor.
Ironically, when it comes to education business is more aware of its supportive role as a reformer than of is leadership role as a revolutionary. As a reformer helping student, teachers, and schools, is efforts may serve to path up a failed, existing public system. But they are largely demonstrations of good corporate citizenship and are only indirectly related to the basic purpose of enterprise. That purpose is the provision of goods and services to meet market needs, and it is in carrying out this task that, without even knowing it, business will revolutionize learning.
The major reason is that the business community, not the education establishment, must embrace new technologies to survive. Computers, telecommunications, and consumer electronics have become the infrastructure technologies of this economy. And whichever sectors of society take them up, they profoundly alter the way we learn. To an extraordinary degree, business has taken them up, but education has not. Crumbling restitutions rarely embrace new technologies as a means to revive themselves. But those institutions that do adopt new technologies will transform how learning rakes place for those within their ranks and those they reach outside.
At first these revolutions in learning will have indirect, even unintended, consequence. Businesses simply need to keep up-to-date with the necessary tools of value-creation and management. The economic value they add to the marketplace derives increasingly from these technologies, and more and more of that value is related to service, information, knowledge, and learning. Thus, ever so slowly, enterprise becomes educator, largely unaware of this new role, not wanting it, not thinking of itself this way, and certainly not crowning itself as inheritor of it. Meanwhile, people begin to learn more outage of schools than in, and as schools lose their monopoly over "schooling," they become less and less relevant to our lives. Nevertheless, the need for learning and education continues, and the participants expand beyond students and teachers to new players, this time in the business community, which sparked the revolution in the first place.
Today a few businesses emphasize the importance of phrases like "smart products," "machine indigence," "interactive learning systems," and "knowledge-based enterprise." Remember, it took one or two decades for "data-base" to become "database," for the term to move from technical jargon to common speech. Knowledge-based products and services today am still described in cobbled phrases, but as they become more familiar to us through time, they too will lose their strangeness and become more commonplace, a pan of the natural way things are done. When that happens, companies will refer to themselves intentionally as in the knowledge business -- sure, isn't everyone? -- the way 90 percent of the economy today is in the service business.
Business's freedom of action is limited to how, not whether, it will respond to the challenge of educating. Just as government took over the lead from church and family, business will become heir to the lead at this next historical turn. But it is a very reluctant heir.
Business will not assume the Mad by usurping the rom of director of the nation's public school. It does not wish or seek to inherit this public trust. Instead, overlapping with the declining public school system, it is almost unintentionally evolving new meanings for learning and new methods for delivering education. And it is doing so in ways that are consistent with its fundamental role as business, competitively fulfilling unmet needs in the marketplace. All business visions are anchored in this fundamental belief.
In our economic system, we believe that competition is good because it keeps the players active in their search for new and better ways to provide goods and services. When success leads to an overwhelming market share, however, a culture emerges that is arrogant, self-satisfied, inward-looking, and unaware of threatening change. The same is true with regard to competition among sectors of society for predominance in education. When church and state were competitors, each had to vie to demonstrate its greater ability to meet society's needs. But now that the state has a virtual monopoly, it has become less responsive to those needs. Had it been subject to the rigors of competition and the demands of the marketplace, it might have returned its social and economic relevance.
Values Determine Which Problems Are Addressed
Each institution bearing the mantle of education rakes values, beliefs, and practices that are instrumental to its own success and applies them to education. The particular traits of successive leaders of learning define anew, in what they teach, the problems society deems most critical. Often their solutions are not a panacea but a best choice. Their efforts do not solve all educational problems so much as determine which old, problems to chose to solve, which ones to continue to live with, and which new ones to contend with later. In their wake these efforts create other problems, dimly perceived but accepted at the time as unimportant. Meanwhile, completely new problems are unwittingly generated that are scarcely considered. The results are nether all good nor entirely bad.
Religious dominance of education in colonial times emphasized such values as learning to live according to God's will. The results included Quaker toleration as well as puritan intolerance. Family-based educational values in agrarian America strengthened the extended family. To be a good Christian and to honor thy father and mother were among the values that were explicitly articulated in the classroom. But such values also established a righteous foundation for disregarding the social and ethnic values of "other" groups outside the family circle.
In the interest of forging a union of many competing religious groups, the Founding Fathers emphasized separation of church and state, and schools slowly dropped teaching all but the most basic social values. As with church-dominated education, the government-run variety also installed its own practices. School was "democratized" -- open to all; school boards were duly elected; and teaching was a public service rather than a service to God. Loyalty was redefined as "good citizenship" rather than "service to God." School became compulsory because democracy required a knowledgeable citizenry. Student government, while not required, was commonly found in public high schools; but there is no comparable "student church" in church-run schools, and it remains to be seen whether here will be anything like "student business" in business-led education.
Government's lead in education stressed the need to produce literacy and mathematical competence for large numbers of people, to serve both economic and political needs. But it also weakened religious and family values and fostered an educational democracy based on the lowest common denominator.
Government, like the churches before, brought in a kaleidoscope of funding policies and problems. Bemuse of the politics of states' rights and local autonomy, public schools were funded largely by property taxes, a practice that meant wealthy suburbs where property values were high could afford well-funded schools. By contrast, inner cities -- where property values were relatively low and demands for other social services were high -- were grossly underfunded. This American peculiarity of funding schools locally would seem at odds with democratic ideals of equal treatment, and it created a two-tiered school system in which the quality of education was linked to factors such as race and wealth. School systems in most developed countries are funded from taxes levied nationally.
With the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, the government-run school system became the major institution used in the struggle for racial integration. In doing so, it seemed to experience a shift in core values from learning to social justice and the resolution of social conflict. "Putting social ends ahead of the goal of learning," Peter Drucker argues, "became a major factor in the decline of American basic education."
In a learning system dominated by business, a key question will be whether its values and practices -- such as hie need to integrate a workforce increasingly diversified by race, gender, and national origin -- will lead to greater success than the government has had in its attempts to legally enforce integration. Or will business-led education shortchange the needy, favor the white-collar class, and further skew our social structure, creating a have and have-not nation with a shrunken middle?
If there is reason for hope here, it will not be because business has a more liberal social policy than government, but because demography requires social integration in business. And businesses understand that. They pay attention to the bilingual and multiethnic labor force, the two-income family, the graying of America, and other demographic trends that are transforming our labor force and our marketplace. They do not try to hold back demographic shifts; they try to prepare for them.
Business, therefore, will educate minorities. To be sure, it will do so more for its own good than for the larger social good, but the effect will be much the same. If students leave school unable to read and use math, business will teach them what they lack. It will do so, not to improve ghetto life, but because it needs competent workers to sustain good corporate performance. Acting out of self-concern, business will very probably redress our soot concerns no less adequately than church and government have done.
As business becomes more influential in setting educational objectives, we will get a strong dose of business values. A debate about these values and the purpose they serve will inevitably follow, centered around the question of which ones will be acceptable and which not. Because the new is always suspect, many business values will not be welcomed as they enter the educational world. Will they bring a focus on profit and materialism, as many critics of business fear? Will they bring a concern for self-development and sustainable growth, as many proponents hope?
Another debate will focus on the distinction between mort and practical learning. There has always been a division between those who see education as the repository and training ground for our moral values and those who emphasize the practical reasons for education, such as supplying a labor force that is prepared for the requirements of enterprise and economic health. The former include many humanists, ministers, voting citizens, democratic leaders, and members of the professional educational establishment. The business community has always been the primary spokesperson for emphasis on the latter.
This debate ebbs and flows, as though we could select between the alternatives, as though, if we made up our minds, we could direct education one way or the other. We don't quite have that much choice. Historical forces will not anoint one the winner and the other the loser. What will happen is that, as when any institution rakes an increasingly dominant role in education, the values it represents will gain greater emphasis, while the values of the institutions whose educational role is shrinking will become less dominant. Just as church-based education emphasizes morality, for example, enterprise-based education emphasizes practicality. As corporations rake on mole and more of the educating role, the thrust of that education will be oriented toward their needs, which are more practical than moral.
This doesn't mean that education will cease to emphasize humanistic, political, and moral values. It means that these values will be addressed by more specialized players in the educational arena. Private religious schools, for example, maintain a high degree of morally based education, and they tend to deliver it with better quality than any other educating institution. Similarly, in the long-term future, government-based education has an opportunity to pick up the educational market segments or functions to which it, not business, is particularly suited, such as regulation and national standards. Preparedness to earn a living is something that business knows more about.
Since the teaching of moral values has long been the province of the church, church educators are often surprised to discover that corporations devote more time to values education than public schools do. Business, too, is intensely interested in values and deals with them in employee education. Thus business-driven learning does not mean less moral and ethical education than under government-led learning. There are good and bad models for a moral education in all walks of life, and we wouldn't want such coupes taught by Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken any more than by Richard Nixon and Alan Cranston.
Here is a contemporary example of how enterprise-based education blends morality and practicality, token from the "Values Challenge Taker" program developed for DuPont.
You are the senior environmental engineer at one of our plant sites. A serious process problem has developed that will increase the discharge of toxic effluent. This increase is above your targeted operating level and will impact the environment to a degree, but it is within regulatory limits. The problem can be fixed now with a two-day shutdown and lost production, or it can be done at the next scheduled shutdown in three months' time. Do you
(a) live with it for three months?
(b) shut down and fix it now?
(c) pass on the information and let someone else decide?
(d) shape the facts to minimize the concern of others?
Here's another question raised in values education; it will be familiar to women executives. On occasion you and your manager travel together on business. During one of these trips, after an evening of cocktails, he makes a pass at you in the elevator. He has never made any kind of advance to you in the past. You
(a) suggest he's had too much to drink and just forget it.
(b) report him to his manager.
(c) tell him if he doesn't cut it out, you'll report him.
(d) ignore it because, since he didn't threaten your job, you have no right to complain.
(e) say "Thanks, but no thanks."
The danger in a business-led learning revolution is not that practical education will eliminate education about values; the real danger lies in the future of an economic underclass that has already grown to alarming proportions, despite the efforts of government programs such as busing to overcome segregation, welfare to overcome poverty, and school lunch programs to combat malnutrition. A major challenge for business is not whether it will cut or increase funding for these social goals, but whether it can invent alternative solutions to problems that threaten to undermine its own success. Smart products will not sell to dumb consumers; worker training programs will not rake illiterate new hires.
One future possibility is that government-run school will focus on becoming the high-volume, low-cost producer of excellent basic education. Its market then will be the underclass that the private sector will gladly leave to it as the least attractive end of education from a business perspective. From a social perspective, however, the wont thing that business could do is abandon public sector education to this fate.
The best thing it can do is help pubic education use all the tools and techniques of the information economy so that it can provide the excellent basic education necessary to business and to society as a whole. These tool and techniques must also be used in education by government, church, family, and the individual to provide a vital new life for public education, a share in the schoolhouse of the future. We cannot afford a third-world country inside our country. Neither can we afford a third-rate education system pinning us down.
Copyright © 1994 by Stanley M. Davis and James W. Botkin
Meet the Author
Stan Davis is a distinguished public speaker, author, and business adviser, most known for his creative thinking and mind-stretching perspectives. His 2020 Vision was named Fortune magazine's Best Management Book of 1991 ("the most mind-bending of the bunch") and his influential work Future Perfect received Tom Peters' "Book of the Decade" Award in 1989. This is what led Federal Express, in 1993, to grant him their first "Visionary of the Year Award." His eight books appear in fifteen languages and he addresses audiences throughout the world. Dr. Davis consults about the strategy, technology, management, and organization of both major corporations and fast-growing enterprises. He taught for two decades at the Harvard Business School, and Columbia and Boston universities. He lives and works in Chestnut Hill, Boston, Massachusetts.
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