INDUSTRIAL COLL OF THE ARMED FORCES WASHINGTON DC
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The US has moved from an agrarian to a post-industrial society, presenting multiple crossroads to the US education industry. How the industry deals with three strategic themes of accountability, quality, and cost during the next few years will determine the paths taken at these critical crossroads. This report addresses three primary issues illustrating these themes No Child Left Behind Act reauthorization, international competitiveness, and recruiting and retention of quality teachers. The US education industry is absolutely critical to national security and other industries. The formal education sector is solid overall, as indicated by the desire of other countries to copy its ability to foster innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. Yet, there are challenges that justifiably concern industry stakeholders and require difficult choices. A more centralized education system has many advantages, and the US should move in that direction with respect to national standards. However, careful thought must be given to potential trade-offs between federal and statelocal involvement to ensure these changes are made without compromising the foundational principles of American democracy. Isolation is not an option for the US today the education system must produce the skilled workers necessary for the twenty-first century. Toward this end, it is critical that the US maintain a balance between math and science skills, innovation and creativity, and international education, as all these areas are integral to future success. Finally, additional funding alone is not the answer to the education systems challenges. Investment increases at all levels of government must be carefully targeted to specific issues.
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