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New School

The current education system does entrepreneurs no favors.

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This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

For nearly 40 years, Alvin and Heidi Toffler have been writing books forecasting major advents like the digital revolution and the increasing importance of communication. Business and world leaders have taken cues from the Tofflers' ideas since their first book, Future Shock. Their latest, Revolutionary Wealth: How It Will Be Created and How It Will Change Our Lives, delves into myriad topics, including the problems with the $400 billion a year U.S. education system. Alvin explains that business can have a tremendous impact on fixing the broken school system; otherwise, entrepreneurs will undoubtedly feel the effects.

Unskilled Labor: Alvin says that the U.S. education system was designed to introduce children to "industrial discipline," grooming them with rigid schedules and repetitive work for life in a factory. But he warns that the jobs of tomorrow will be even more technologically advanced than today's. "We need a completely different set of skills for kids to operate well in what we call a 'Third Wave,' or knowledge-based, economy. We must therefore radically redesign our conception [of schools]." Alvin says many imagi-native proposals are possible, a modest one being three days a week of conventional school with two days of community service and another activity.

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