U.S. Education Department Puts Premium on Timely Learning

Article excerpt

Create "just-in-time" adult classes to respond to a developing job market. Drop the senior year in high school.

Those are among the priorities for education research into the next century, according to an Education Department report released Monday.

The goal: to get Americans to learn how to learn throughout their lifetimes. The report says, "In order to meet new challenges in the workplace and in civic life, America's learners will need a firm grasp of basic competencies, a broad general knowledge of their world and the skills to respond to the rapid generation of new knowledge." Now, according to the report, the public school system teaches information but few skills to effectively use it. "The vast majority of high school seniors cannot synthesize and learn from specialized reading materials, nor can they solve multistep problems. In short, they lack precisely the skills that will be more highly valued and more highly rewarded in coming decades." The report set seven top educational research priorities: Improving pre-kindergarten learning programs to take advantage of what researchers know is a person's primary development period. Making education at all levels better to promote not only high academic achievement but also problem-solving abilities, creativity and the motivation for more learning. …