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Business Leaders Must Do Much More Than Lament the Educational Crisis in America

February 18, 1990

James Flanigan echoes the laments of corporate leaders ("The Nation's Educational Crisis Is Also a Business Crisis," Jan. 21) regarding the education crisis. If those leaders feel compelled to contribute to educational reform, I suggest that they look at a couple of factors in addition to the schools.

On the one hand, education must be emphasized not only for its economic and practical consequences, but as an end in itself. To do that involves, in part, elevating teaching and administration to true professional status, with all of the tangible and intangible rewards that go with that status. For instance, does the chairman of 3M Co. (quoted in Flanigan's article) support salaries for the teachers who train his future employees that are commensurate with those of the lawyers and accountants who advise his company at the management level?

But beyond that, we should recognize that learning begins with a concept that has all but become a dirty word: discipline. The process is simple: Discipline in the form of clearly understood rules, expectations and consequences must be imposed on young people to the point where it is internalized into self-discipline. Self-discipline produces achievement, which in turn nurtures self-esteem and confidence. In this process, learning becomes natural and rewarding, even fun.

RICHARD B. HAUSER

Oxnard

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