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Professor Frank Levy, co-author of a book entitled Teaching the New Basic Skills, will discuss the need to apply real-world business standards and skills to elementary and secondary education at an MIT seminar on Monday, March 31 from 4:30-6pm in Rm 6-120.
Dr. Levy, the Daniel Rose Professor of Urban Economics, is the featured speaker in the fifth Forum on Public Education sponsored by the Council on Primary and Secondary Education (CPSE) and the Museum of Science.
The book, written with Harvard University Professor Richard Murnane, describes the difficulty parents currently have in assessing their children's schools. The authors make the point that while most schools are slightly better than they were 15 years ago, job requirements have increased much faster than schools have improved.
To deal with today's job market, Professors Levy and Murnane propose that schools prepare students for the workplace by teaching them the value of initiative, flexibility and teamwork as well as math, reading and writing. To accomplish this, the authors suggest that educators adopt five principles that will assure students have an understanding of the problems to be addressed, incentives and opportunities to participate in formulating solutions, first-class training, regular feedback, and perseverance and encouragement to learn from mistakes.
"Use of the five management principles can help schools improve what they do to enable all students to become responsible adults who will keep the economy strong and the democracy vibrant," Boston Superintendent of Schools Thomas W. Payzant wrote in a foreword to the book. "What is at stake is the quality of life for everyone."
Professor Levy, who holds PhD and master's degrees in economics from Yale and the SB ('63) in economics from MIT, will speak for about 40 minutes before taking questions from the audience. He will be introduced by Ronald M. Latanision, professor of materials science and engineering and CPSE chairman.
"The work by Professors Levy and Murnane is at the heart of the national discussion regarding work-based learning," said Professor Latanision. "From our experience with internships and the Practice School, we known that this is effective at the university level. We don't know how this is applicable at the K-12 level. We hope that people in the MIT community will take advantage of the opportunity to hear one of our own speak on this issue."
Speakers at the previous seminars were John Silber, chancellor of Boston University and chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education; Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Science; Paul Reville of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and Dr. Payzant.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 19, 1997.