want to hold on to our roots and our culture. Even as Europe comes together economically,
I think the Germans will become more German and the French more French."
The downside of this is obvious: the "ethnic
cleansing" and horror of the civil war in the former Balkan country of Yugoslavia;
the Middle East wars, often with religious overtones; rebellion in parts of the former
Soviet Union; the racial bigotry in many countries.
But the positive challenges for education are equally
obvious. The more technology thrives, the more the striving to capture our cultural
heritage, in music, dance, language, art and history. Where individual communities are
inspiring new directions in education, particularly among so-called minority groups, we're
seeing a flowering of cultural initiatives - and a tremendous rise in self-esteem.
12. The growing underclass
You don't have to move too
far from the centre of the city in places like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los
Angeles to see the grim signs of a soaring underclass - predominantly associated with
colour and educational failure, and overwhelmingly among unemployed youth.
Statistic after statistic shows that members of this
underclass are often trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle. Back in 1970 Alvin Toffler
predicted in Future Shock the era of the fractured family: more
divorces, changing lifestyles, the breakdown of the nuclear family. Most of his
predictions have come true. And where the fractured family has coincided with
unemployment, the ingredients have formed the recipe for social disaster.
Education is a vital key to unlock an alternative
future. In America's ten largest cities, the number of jobs requiring less than a
high-school education has dropped by half since 1970. Two thirds of new jobs created in
America since 1989 have been professional and managerial.38 In Germany, by 2010 only 10 percent of jobs will
be appropriate for unskilled workers, compared with 35 percent in 1976.39
But this is not only an unemployment problem.
Unemployed young men tend to commit more violent crimes and not take on the responsibility
of parenthood. "Adolescent boys are the most volatile
and violent of all. Those under 24 are responsible for half of America's violent crime;
those under 18 commit a quarter. The figures for most western countries are
Contents Page Preface