ABSTRACT

Over a decade ago I had occasion to respond to a published essay by Marc Tucker titled “Readying Future Workers to Move from Challenge to Challenge.” In that article, Tucker, then director of something called the Project on Information Technology and Education, offered speculations about the implications of a high-technology economy for education. He argued that if the United States is to compete with low-wage competitors and still maintain high-wage jobs, it would require an entire nation of workers who “think for a living,” who are continually on the “cutting edge” of technological innovation, whose expertise perpetually adds value to custom-designed, “state-of-the-art” products. “We need a labor force that is creative, knowledgeable and flexible,” wrote Tucker, with workers “who can move from challenge to challenge.” A consequence was that students and workers would need far better education and training than ever before. Tucker concluded, “It is now very important to think about our education and economic policies in tandem. If we do not, we will have to decide how to share among ourselves a swiftly declining national income.”