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June 8, 2009

The Fall of General Motors… Does That Mean Something for Education?

by Chris Lindholm

Like the rest of America, I have been following the recent bankruptcy filing of General Motors and pondering what it means for the future of our country.  Certainly we cannot argue that "nobody saw it coming."  People such as Friedman, Toffler, and Pink have been screaming from the mountain tops about the future of world economics and America's need to re-tool for the 21st century or risk being the "country left behind."  Recently Scott McLeod referenced the happenings at GM in a blog post (http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2009/05/nomanufacturingjobs.html) linked to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics and GM's website.  The data speaks for itself (graph are from the BLS at http://www.bls.gov/iag/home.htm)… 

2009bls01

Are schools based on the industrial model of delivery (in come 30 students, pour information into them for 45 minutes, out go the 30 students to be replaced by 30 more, repeat process…) still the right framework for todays economy?  Is the fall of GM a precursor to what's coming in public education?  

GM will most certainly emerge from bankruptcy a leaner company more clearly focused on success in the flat world economy that all industries face today.  Manufacturing simply isn't what it used to be in America…  Will the company that emerges offer some insight into what public education should be reflecting?  If the manufacturing jobs that used to offer a "solid middle class lifestyle" in America are now in other countries or in America paying much smaller wages, then what are American schools preparing students for?  Are we aligned to that work place?

 

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