An enlightened colleague sent me this SFGate article by Norman Augustine, retired CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin. Even though the content has been fodder in Haulin’ ‘Net since ’05, I’m passing the article along to stoke the forward-thinking conversation.
Here’s a refresher from the article:
Fifty years after Sputnik, I find that my sinking feeling has returned. One might say, “America, we have a problem.” The rest of the world caught up as we became complacent. We have lost our edge in math and science, two of the essential economic tools of the 21st century.
We are at the dawn of the 21st century, and our children no longer measure up in these disciplines to their peers in the rest of the world. We rank 24th internationally among 15-year-olds in math performance.
There’s no point in looking for a scapegoat. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We dropped the science ball a number of years ago, under-emphasizing research and education, while our international competitors were learning how to make “slam dunks.”
Unfortunately, our future might not be as bright as our past. Countries such as India, South Korea, Japan and China have copied the approach to innovation that has driven our economy for the last half century, and they are using that approach to beat us at our own game, even in our backyard.
It’s not just math and science. Arguably, the building block of school success is good old fashioned literacy—the ability to read and write very well.
Today’s students will not only have to deal with the fallout of the “silver tsunami,” but as Augustine reminds us they will also have to compete globally in a flattening world. And do the majority of them even have a clue?
Just about every school system has a mission statement akin to this: The mission of XYZ School System is to prepare students to be productive citizens.
So, how’s that future-ready discussion going?