Education

In an interview with Edutopia Magazine in January 2007, futurist and bestselling author Alvin Toffler offered this analogy about America’s educational system: “Imagine that you’re a policeman, and you’ve got a radar gun, and you’re measuring the speed of cars going by. Each car represents an American institution. The first car is going by at 100 miles per hour. It’s called business. Businesses have to change at 100 miles per hour because if they don’t, they die. Competition just puts them out of the game. So they’re traveling very, very fast.

“Then comes another car and it is going 10 miles per hour. That’s the public education system. Schools are supposed to be preparing kids for the business world of tomorrow, to take jobs, to make our economy functional. The schools are changing, if anything, at 10 miles per hour. So, how do you match an economy that requires 100 miles per hour with an institution like public education—a system that changes, if at all, at 10 miles per hour?”

The irony, then, is that companies in high-tech regions such as Silicon Valley, including Facebook and Google, are clamoring for employees. These firms are offering prospective workers free home cleaning, meals, babysitting, dry cleaning, and take-home dinners. Name it and they’ll give it to you, so long as you go to work for them. Almost all of these positions pay extremely generous salaries.

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