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Students Need Incentives To Excel, Panel Contends

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Washington--The President should encourage state and local school systems to establish educational goals and timetables that they could use to challenge students to excel, a federal commission on workforce competitiveness argues in a new report.

But the Commission on Workforce Quality and Labor Market Efficiency also argues in the report, "Investing in People: A Strategy to Address America's Workforce Crisis," that the nation's students must work harder if the nation is to maintain its competitive edge.

"[T]here can be no doubt that increased effort by American students would contribute significantly to increased educational achievement," the report states.

Providing incentives to improve student motivation and achievement is one of "three primary fronts on which this nation will wage the battle to restore workforce quality," Commission Chairman Richard F. Shubert, a former president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, said in submitting the report to Secretary of Labor Elizabeth H. Dole this month in Chicago.

Of the 44 recommendations contained in the report, 16 propose steps at the federal, state, and local levels to improve precollegiate education.

Among the 20 members of the nonpartisan commission were Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Constance E. Clayton, superintendent of schools in Philadelphia.

The 61-page report was drafted in response to a 1987 study called "Workforce 2000," which warned of an impending crisis of inadequacy in the nation's labor force.

The new report also takes to task an educational system in which the majority of students "know that the quality of their school work and the grades they receive will have little effect on their immediate employment prospects and virtually no effect on their entry-level wage rate."

To remedy that situation, the report calls for "making high-school transcripts and national achievement-test scores integral parts of employers' evaluations of job applicants."

Copies of the report (stock number 029-000-00428-5) are available for $3.75 each from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402-9238.--pw

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