ERIC Number: ED181261
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
The Work Ethic and American Schools: The Roots of Change.
Johnson, James N.
The comtemporary dialogue on work needs to be placed within an historical perspective so as not to view issues now coming to the fore as faddish or mere fallout from the sixties. Today's society still contends with tension between the values of pre-industrial America and those of the evolving corporate state. The crux of this ongoing struggle is the conflict between individual and corporate definitions of the individual as worker and the culture's deep commitment to ideals of personal sovereignty. Meanwhile, two of education's primary functions--promoting full individual development and producing workers--are increasingly seen as contradictory. Education has responded to, not directed, changes in the nature and meaning of work; it has served, not defined, society's needs. Dominant sections of society seem unready to change that situation or to modify assumptions about profit and efficiency. Yet, some observers hold schools somewhat responsible for current unrest. Schools have influenced the direction of values change, e.g., in promoting self actualization that feeds the new anti-authoritarianism. There is room for debate here, and need to realize that preparing people for work is not merely a matter of marketable skills and aptitudes and "matching." The first step is to ask if conceptions about work underlying current educational practice are in tune with modern realities. (CP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, San Francisco, CA.
Identifiers: United States