he 1980s began during a great upswing in the Southwest economy, but what lay ahead was a decade of plummeting oil prices, deflated real estatevaluesandunprecedentedbankfailures. Thethemeofthe Federal T Reserve BankofDallas' second annual conferenceon the Southwesteconomy, "The 1990s: A Different Decade," reflected our belief that the beginning ofthe new decade would mark a turn toward economic strength in the Southwest. The conference, held Oct. 26-27, 1989, at Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, brought together more than 250 interested individuals and speakers for anexchangeofinformationand ideas. Topics rangedfrom the currentcondition of the Southwest economy to the factors shaping the future. Theinfluences on the Southwest economy are diverse but interrelated. For example, the Southwest faces a complex dilemma in reforming its educational system. As conference speakers illustrated many times, education reform and the quality ofour schools are closely linked to the region's, if not the nation's, ability to compete in future world markets. These proceedings follow the basic organizational pattern of the confer ence. Keynote and luncheon addresses appear in the first section, General Meetings-The 1990s: ADifferent Decade, which includes speeches by Bobby R. Inman, admiral, United States Navy (retired), and private investor; Robert H. Boykin, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; WilliamH. Cunningham; presidentofthe UniversityofTexas, Austin;and John B. McCoy, chairman and chief executive officer of Banc One Corp. Session One, Meeting the Challenges in Education, provides insight from five experts, who survey the current state ofeducation, past attempts at reform andpossiblesolutions for problemsintheeducationalsystemsofthe Southwest.