Saturday, February 19, 2011

Climbing the ladder of competitiveness through education

President Obama
Last week (February 19) President Barack Obama, speaking outside of Portland, Oregon at Intel, stressed the importance of a quality education and global competitiveness. He talked science and math, and a 10 year plan to achieve his goal.

“Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education beyond high school, many requiring proficiency in math and science. And yet today we’ve fallen behind in math, science, and graduation rates. As a result, companies like Intel struggle to hire American workers with the skills that fit their needs.

"If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industries, we’ve got to win the global competition to educate our people. We’ve got to have the best trained, best skilled workforce in the world. That’s how we’ll ensure that the next Intel, the next Google, or the next Microsoft is created in America, and hires American workers,” President Obama said.

If America is to climb back to the top of the education ladder, a quality, well-rounded education is key. Facebook, Texting and Twittering are social instrument. No skills are required to use them. These are limited information tools, not classrooms where knowledge should be acquired and required to graduate.

The public school system is failing students with the help of enabling parents. President Obama is endeavoring to rebuild--not the physical structures--but the minds within the classrooms, starting with weeding out poor teachers, principals and superintendents. He understands the significance and weight of a global education.

Former Chancellor of DC Public Schools, Michelle Rhee, caught triple hell from teachers and the union when she attempted to clean up D. C.’s stagnant schools. Students were failing. She fired ineffective teaches and staff members. She had the backing of Mayor Adrian Fenty, who lost an election to Vincent Gray in November. Gray was not willing to work with Rhee.

I agree that the unionization of teachers has stifled creativity, competition and excellence in the classroom. Not saying that unions are bad, but it’s blindingly clear that unions are on the wrong side of education. The union’s responsibility and allegiance is one dimensional. It's


s devoted to protecting poor teachers who commit fraud in classrooms five days a week. A school system that graduates incompetent students is criminal. Just as bad are parents who focus more on extracurricular activities and the socialization of their children.

An ABC News 20/20 documentary titled Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids with John Stossel--was an indicting report on the public schools system in America. He said in conclusion: “Competition inspires people to do what we didn't think we could do. If people got to choose their kids' school, education options would be endless.

“There could soon be technology schools, science schools, virtual schools where you learn at home on your computer, sports schools, music schools, schools that go all year, schools with uniforms, schools that open early and keep kids later, and, who knows what else. If there were competition, all kinds of new ideas would bloom.”

Unfortunately, the redlining of students depends on the kind of education they earn. For thousands of kids deficient schools are all they have. They are trapped behind the eight ball. They will never get a chance to run the table of educational opportunities.

The eight ball trap leads to failure, and that leads to hopelessness and that leads to disaster and that leads to . . . You fill in the blank.

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