The World Economic Forum describes these fundamental shifts as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, writes:
“As automation substitutes for labor across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor. On the other hand, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology will, in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs. We cannot foresee at this point which scenario is likely to emerge, and history suggests that the outcome is likely to be some combination of the two. However, I am convinced of one thing—that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production.”
Students exiting the pre-K-12 education system will need to be prepared for radical societal and workplace changes if they are to have any shot at thriving personally or professionally. By and large, however, our school systems are failing to prepare them for this emerging reality. Far from making plans to educate students to thrive in the economy and society of the near- term future, most school systems are still struggling to do an adequate job providing students with the basic skills needed for twentieth-century life and work.