ERIC Number: ED436643
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Dec
Reassessing a Decade of Reform. Workforce Development and the Changing Economy.
Bailey, Thomas; Gribovskaya, Alexandra
Education reform in the 1980s and 1990s emerged from a preoccupation with productivity and economic performance. In the 1980s, the country's education system was blamed for slowing productivity growth and weakening international competitiveness. By the end of the 1990s, the economic context had changed dramatically; unemployment rates were at historical lows, stock prices remained high, and impressive developments associated with computers and the Internet seemed only to scratch the surface of the potential in that sector. Still, in education, the United States is implementing a reform agenda that was developed in one economic context and, according to its advocates, was designed to solve a particular set of economic problems. The changing international comparisons during this period have a negative influence on those aspects of the education reform agenda that were most closely tied to employers and the workplace--employer participation, work-based learning, and systems of specifically focused skill standards. There is little evidence to evaluate the relationship between education and economic performance after 20 years of education reform explicitly designed to improve that performance. Although research suggests that more education improves national economic growth and increases economic performance, exactly which skills are most important and how they should be taught is not apparent. New research should be aimed at specific workplaces and classrooms and at the determinants of individual career progression in order to develop an understanding of the education and skill needs of the economy. (Contains 47 references.) (KC)
Descriptors: Economic Development, Education Work Relationship, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Philosophy, Educational Policy, International Education, Outcomes of Education, Performance Factors, Secondary Education, Vocational Education
National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, 1900 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1090 (order no. MDS-1197).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Berkeley, CA.