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MIT Professor to Discuss Applying Basic Business Skills to K-12 Education

MIT professor Frank Levy, co-author of a book entitled Teaching the
New Basic Skills, will discuss the need to apply real world business
standards and skills to elementary and secondary education at an MIT
seminar on Monday, March 31, from 4:30-6pm in Room 6-120.

Dr. Levy, the Daniel Rose Professor of Urban Economics, is the
featured speaker in the fifth Forum on Public Education sponsored by the
Council on Primary and Secondary Education (CPSE) and the Museum of

The book, written with Harvard University Professor Richard
Murnane, describes the difficulty parents currently have in assessing
their children's schools. The authors make the point that while most
schools are slightly better than they were 15 years ago, job
requirements have increased much faster than schools have improved.

To deal with today's job market, Professors Levy and Murnane
propose that schools prepare students for the workplace by teaching them
the value of initiative, flexibility and teamwork as well as math,
reading and writing. To accomplish this, the authors suggest that
educators adopt five basic management principles, assuring that students
have: 1) an understanding of the problems to be addressed, 2) incentives
and opportunities to participate in formulating solutions, 3) first-
class training, 4) regular feedback, and 5) perseverance and
encouragement to learn from mistakes.

"Use of the five management principles can help schools improve
what they do to enable all students to become responsible adults who
will keep the economy strong and the democracy vibrant," Boston
Superintendent of Schools Thomas W. Payzant wrote in a foreword to the
book. "What is at stake is the quality of life for everyone."

Professor Levy, who has a PhD and master's degree in economics from
Yale and an SB in economics from MIT, will speak for about 40 minutes
before addressing questions from the audience. He will be introduced by
Ronald M. Latanision, a professor of materials science and engineering,
who is chairman of the CPSE.

"The work by Professors Levy and Murnane is at the heart of the
national discussion regarding work-based learning," said Professor
Latanision. "From our experience with internships and the Practice
School we known that this is effective at the university level. We don't
know how this is applicable a the K-12 level."

Speakers at the previous seminars were John Silber, chancellor of
Boston University and chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education;
Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Science; Paul
Reville of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and

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