Last year nearly 100 of the top corporate CEOs met and concluded that to ensure a healthy economy, the nation's top priorities are more effective science and mathematics education and increased investment by the federal government in fundamental research.

Illustration: A. Canamucio
It is time to eliminate the defensiveness that greets every critique of education and take strategic action. To succeed, our education systems must become "learning organizations" that learn every week how to be more effective. Lifelong learning is not a distant goal for a few scholars; it is a necessity for everyone in American education systems. At the midpoint of the 20th century, we did not even conceive of such wonders as cracking the universal genetic code, transplanting hearts, or making human insulin in bacteria. We now expect revolutions.

Our most regular mistake is that we make excuses for all the learning that doesn't happen and then expand...

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