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«DOCUMENT RESUME ED 278 089 EA 019 067 AUTHOR McCune, Shirley D. TITLE Guide to Strategic Planning for Educators. INSTITUTION Association for ...»

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Work itself will include a sig-nificant amount of learning and the development of new knowledge. Future projections suggest that employers should budget as much as 25 percent of their labor costs for the education and training of professional and technical workers."

Shifts in the use of information as key elements of work have created an inextricable dependency between knowledge and the economic activities of our society. Knowledge creates new goods and Services, improves production and manufacturing procedures, and results in better management and organizational strategies. Future increases in productivity and economic growth are closely linked to quantitative and qualitative increases in the nation's educational and training systems. It is estimated that two-thirds of the increases in productivity are the results of human resources while capital resources account for about one-third of the input components.0 The nation's ability to recognize this and restructure educational and training systems will determine, in large measure, our economic and social well-being.

The Power that Drives Society The power sources of a society not only determine the nature of production and productivity but also shape societal development. The agricultural era of American society was organized around the use of human and animal power and the natural energies of wind, sun, and water. These power sources were comparatively inefficient, uncontrolled, and undependable. The physical strength of a man was often the most important consideration in his getting and holding a job.


The transition of the United States from an agricultural to an industrial society was made possible by the development of machinery and technologies. The invention of the steam engine and gasoline motor, and the generation of electricity, made possible a society where human and animal power could be replaced by machines fueled by coal and oil. These became the primary power sources. They opened the door to mass production systems that could produce goods more efficiently than ever imagined. The effect was, indeed, revolutionary.

Today, another revolution is in the making. The development of the microprocessor has made possible new breakthroughs in the use of information. The storage or communication of information using such devices as the telephone, telegraph, radio, television, movies, and so on, had already increased the speed of information transmission, the quality of information, and the distribution of information. What was missing, however, was a readily available way to process, analyze, and store information. The microchip provided an effective, efficient, and relatively inexpensive method of handling large quantities of information. Information thus became a major power for developing products and technologies.

Although science and technological developments played a role in American life for over a century, it was the success of science and technology in World War II that stimulated a national policy to promote scientific research and development. This policy brought forth a period of remarkable growth in scientific knowledge and led to advances in a wide range of techpologies.'2 The scientific background and experience created an infrastructure waiting for breakthroughs in more effective ways of conducting research and handling information. The microchip provided this power or sparkthe needed breakthrough for developments in science and technology.

Seven technologies that are shaping and will continue to shape the U.S. economy and society are microelectronics, biogenetics, robotics, lasers, fiber optics, solar exploration, and underseas mining. The incredible progress in these areas has been made possible, in large measure, by the ability the microchip has given us to process large amounts of data efficiently and inexpensively.

Microprocessors have become an essential element of scientific and technological progress. Incredibly, their influence is felt in nearly every area of our lives. In the workplace, information tools are changing the nature of work itself, the structure of organizations, the relationship of employees to organizations and their work, and the type of products and services produced. Microprocessors are becoming commonplace in the home as control devices for domestic appliances, as tools for personnel and management, as extensions of other communications technologies, and as vehicles for education and training.


For the two decades following World War H, the United States dominated worldwide scientific and technological research and development. Since then, as other countries have made strides in research and technology, the position of the United States has declined. Today America conducts roughly over one-third of the world's total basic research with the remainder divided equally betw.Ien Western Europe and Japan on one side, and the nations of the Soviet bloc on the other."

To a large extent, the microchip has made possible the rapid development of other countries.

It is apparent that maintaining a strong position in science and technology is essential to our future well being. Technology has been one of America's key exports and contributions to the world. Not only must we continue to develop scientifically and technologically, we must also use the knowledge we gain to help educate the literate and skilled populations essential to our future.

While U.S. scientists are among the best in the world, many Americans are mathematically and scientifically illiterate. International comparisons demonstrate that American students lag behind students in most countries tested. A University of Michigan study suggests, "not only does American achievement lag behind that of children in Japan and Taiwan, but it does so virtually from the first day they enter school. "14 The p- er of the microchip must be applied not only in science, technology, and economic development, but also to extend the knowledge and skills of our people. Developing human capital is critical if we are to maintain a strong economy and position within the world community.

The U.S. Position in World Trade The United States economy has grown from a national to a global one. World trade, which comprised 6 percent of the U.S. Gross National Product (GNP) in the early 1960s accounted for 15 percent of the GNP in the early 1980s. However, the United States' share of world trade is decliningin 1980 it was 11 percent, down from 20 percent in 1950 (fig. 1-2).15 United States exports declined from $38.2 billion in 1981 to $21.9 billion in 1983, a reduction estimated to have cost us 25,000 jobs. As exports declined, imports increased by 10.9 percent between 1981 and

1983. Imported goods now account for 19 percent of American consumption, up from 9 percent in 1970. This trade imbalance of exports and imports resulted in a deficit of nearly $150 billion in 1985."

While many reasons are cited for this trade imbalance (the value of the U.S. dollar, debts of other countries, etc.), the primary factor is our standard of living and the wages of U.S. workers compared to


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workers in other countries In 1983, for example, the average hourly wage for auto workers in the U.S. was $19.07, while in Japan it was $7.91.

In the past we viewed Japan as our chief competitor. Today, however, we find Korea and a host of other countries producing goods at much lower costs than possible in the United States or Japan. Korean


workers, for example, work 7 days a week (with 2 days off a year), 12 hours a day, to produce home video recorders sold in the U S They earn only $3,000 a year.17 Ob..Tiously, American producers cannot compete with these labor cos1s. We must find other ways to be more productive.

An optimist's global strategy once envisioned a worldwide assembly line with the U.S. supplying knowledge and technology, the other countries providing low-wage, low-skilled labor. Other countries, especially Japan, are beginning to realize that their future also depends on the production of knowledge and technology for countries with lower labor costs, and they are moving into many areas the United States once dominated.

If the U.S. wants to compete, one undesirable alternative is to lower the standard of living of its low-skilled workers. A more realistic alternative, however, is to train highly skilled and educated workers and support them with the best technologies. The lead time required for this people investment is considerable, making immediate action essential.

Yet another cause for our declining balance of trade is our general neglect of international issues and perspectives. Although most Americans understand the importance of a strong military defense and the foreign policies underlying world peace, many are woefully uninformed about the geography, history, and culture of other countries. U.S. students must be prepared to live and think in terms of a global economy and understand the need for cultural exchange and trade with other countries. They must learn to view situations within a context of history and culture different from our own. Curriculum should include a second language for all students, world history, world geography, and a gTasp of culture as a primary framework for analyzing all areas of knowledge.

Patterns of Employment Relatively stable in the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. eamomy underwent a recession beginning in the mid-1970s and then moved into a short-term recovery in the 1980s. Continued economic growth is projected, although at a slower rate than in the past. This "shakedown" of the economy has created patterns of change that represent significant deviations from the past.

Perhaps one of the most important changes has been the growth of entrepreneurial small businesses. An estimated 640,000 new businesses started up in 1984, outnumbering business closures 20 to 1.18 This may be compared to an estimated 50,000 businesses started in 1980.


This growth of small to methum-sized businesses has been prompted by several factors: technological changes that do not require extensive capital outlays; the rise uf the service industry, which also does not require extensive capital; and the targeting of specialized markets.

Finally, more and more people desire to be autonomous and to work for themselves.

These businesses offer new services and products as well as jobs for many. Over time, however, they have a high rate of failure. This points to the need for preparing our population with a better understanding of the business world and knowledge of the skills and cornpetencies required to manage businesses.

A second trend in the employment sphere is the polarization of jobs into highly skilled/high pay and low skilled/low pay. Jobs requiring middle-level skills for middle-level pay are scarce due to production cutbacks in the steel and automotive industries, the wider use of automation to perform supervisory and mid-management tracking functions, and a general upgrading ofjobs without a commensurate increase in salaries.

Unemployment levels in the 1980s rose from 6 to 9 percent with a current stabilization at approximately 7 percent. This rate has been reduced somewhat by growing numbers of part-time employees. While some part-time employment may be a sign of worker preference, a good deal results from lack of full-timu jobs.

Unemployment affects minorities and women disproportionately.

In 1980, the unemployment rate for black males was 12.4 percent; for black females, 11.9 percent; for white males, 5.3 percent; and for white females, 5.6 percent.19 Disproportionate unemployment rates result from discrimination, inadequate training and skills, plus a host of related social problems such as transportation, child care, access to training, and so on.

Although efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to overcome race and sex discrimination resulted in significant progress for many Americans, the outlook is discouraging. Conflicts regarding enforcement of civil rights laws, continuing underrepresentation of minorities in science and technology programs, the decline of minorities enrolled in college, and societal stereotyping continue to limit opportunities for a significant portion of the population.

Composition of the Work Force The large-scale entry of women into the paid work force is one of the most significant changes of this century. In 1982, 53 percent of American women were employed, compared to 38 percent of all women in 1960. The most recent entrants to the work force have been women with children under six. Whereas 28 percent of women with children


under six worked in 1970, 45 percent of these women were working in 1982.20 (See fig. 1-3.) Approximately seven of ten women work due to economic neces.

sity. Of the 37 million women who work, 8.5 million are single; 6.9 million are widowed, divorced, or separated; and 9.5 million are married to husbands earning less than $10,000 a year.2' Despite growing numbers of women in the work force, women are unlikely to soon command salaries comparable to those of men. Women currently earn 61 cents for every dollar earned by men, down from 64 cents in 1955. In 1984, on the average, a female college graduate earned $2,000 a year less than a man who had completed only high school.22 Efforts continue for women to gain equal pay for work of equal value.

The reasons for inequitable pay vary. One is that women are concentrated in sex-segregated low-paying professions. Differences in education, age, and years of experience also contribute to the overall pattern of inequity. But even in studies where these variables are held constant, women are consistently paid less. For example, women's pay in administrative and managerial fields is only 52 percent of male earnings.23 A certain amount of this differential must be attributed to sex discrimination.

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