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Ten Imperatives for the Schools

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The reform strategy embodied in this policy statement can be characterized by the following ten imperatives for guiding the public schools:

1. Educational priorities should be better defined, and resources should be invested where the payoffs will be high. As a proportion of total spending, instruction requires a larger investment; administration and bureaucracy need less. Priority should be given to preschool programs for the disadvantaged and to programs that address the special educational needs of junior high school students.
2. Employability should not be confused with vocationalism. Employability requires problem-solving skills, command of the English language, self discipline, and the ability to acquire and apply knowledge.
3. The central purpose of education is to develop the potential of every student, regardless of race, sex, or physical handicap.
4. Teachers are professionals. They should be held to high standards and rewarded accordingly.
5. Parents are a critical component of successful public schools.

6. Greater trust should be placed in the initiative of individual schools. Teachers and administrators should have increased decision-making power.
7. States should refrain from excessive regulation, centralization, and control of the the schools. But they should set standards, monitor achievement, and intervene if schools fail to perform.

8. A new coalition to support the public schools is needed--one that joins business, labor, and civic leaders with parents, educators, and school boards.

9. Education research and development and its effective utilization should be given greater emphasis. There is a great deal that we do not yet know about education, and much of what we do know is not being applied in the classroom.
10. Business should make a long-term commitment to support the public schools. Companies should provide policy and project support and targeted funding, with the expectation that the schools will improve their performance. But business should not be expected to provide general funding for education beyond the taxes it pays to the community.

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