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Business Must Do More To Help Schools, Amoco Chairman Says

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Arlington, Va--America's corporate executives must encourage school reforms and parental involvement in education if they are to ensure a steady supply of technologically literate employees, the head of a major corporation told educators last week.

"Technology is the linchpin of our economy," said Richard A. Morrow, chairman of the Chicago-based Amoco Corporation. "If we succeed elsewhere, but not in mathematics and science education, we will have failed."

Mr. Morrow was the keynote speaker at the Sixth National Symposium on Partnerships in Education, held here last week.

While praising the strides already made by corporate benefactors seeking to assist precollegiate education, Mr. Morrow added that the advances made to date were only a beginning.

"We are making progress, but we must do more," he said.

Failure to do so, he said, will force corporate America to face the prospect of recruiting from a technologically illiterate workforce within a decade.

"We will confront a generation of employees who understand little of the science and technology that already drive our economy," he stated.

Adding that "we need to ensure a solid education in mathematics and science for everyone, not just our brightest students," Mr. Morrow laid out a five-point plan that he said would help businesses improve the education of their future employees.

Most important, he said, America needs "more and better preservice and inservice teacher training to help our educators keep up with the tremendous strides" that science is making in changing working conditions.

But, he said, improvements must also be made in curriculum revision, school restructuring, and upgrading of school facilities.

Businesses, moreover, can and should encourage parents to become more involved in their children's education through a variety of incentive programs, Mr. Morrow argued.

As an example, he cited a publicity campaign sponsored by Amoco in the Chicago area that encouraged parents to set aside an hour a day to help their children with homework.

"The challenge to corporate America is to provide leadership," he said.--pw

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