Consider the school of the late twentieth century. 1 It has not changed a whole lot in the last fifty years or so. Isolated from the rest of the world except for one or two school-business partnerships. Working at the edges of the school, these partnerships attempt to provide students with some insight into the working world or give some marginal discretionary resources for the principal to use. The resources are used on one of a multitude of unrelated programs that the school has set up to cope with the problems that society has dumped on the schools since World War II. Despite the partnerships, schools are failing badly in the United States, so says the common wisdom. But consider: little Johnny or Janey is sometimes left alone on the playground of the school as early as 7:00 or 7:30 A.M. because both Mom and Dad have to be at work. Maybe Mom and Dad are fighting and Janey is afraid that they, like many of her friends' parents, will soon divorce. When everyone finally gets home in the evening, making dinner and television take the place of extended conversation and attention to homework.
The school itself has created barriers that shelter and isolate it from the work of the world that goes on around it. The technological innovations that are pervasive in the business world have yet to penetrate the classrooms, except for a single computer in each classroom that the teacher barely knows how to use. Few businesspeople, even the partners, ever come to the school; those who do are shocked by the conditions they find and by the discipline problems with which teachers must contend. Still,