Hedrick Smith

Author-journalist Hedrick Smith told the July 12, 1995, NPC luncheon what he learned researching his latest book, "Rethinking America." Smith questioned the quality of the workforce produced by American schools. Contrasting American education with that in Germany and Japan, Smith called American education irrelevant to future life for most students. Giving a concrete example, Smith said American students are learning with obsolete and outmoded tools and equipment passed on to schools by businesses. Ergo, when the future employee goes to work, he has to be retrained. Our international competitors have a different concept of education, according to Smith. They train young people for specific jobs which will be waiting for them upon graduation, in some cases working as apprentices in the very jobs they will get, if they qualify, when they graduate. "We will need a different kind of worker, therefore we need a different kind of educational system," Smith said. He called for the media to be "proactive" in changing America. Responding to the question, "What are we doing wrong?", Smith called the media the bearer of bad tidings. He said the media reports winners and losers in sports, elections and in business, but not in the area of social policy. This results in a cynicism about government. Before speaking, Smith participated with NPC President Bud Karmin in the presentation of the 1995 NPC Journalism Awards. National Press Club Record , Volume XLV, No. 27. July 20, 1995.

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