Best and Brightest Not Served Adequately by Schools


Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T said today at the National Governors Conference that U.S. schools “are failing to develop the best and brightest in math and science. We’ve got to change that. I can’t think of a job today that’s not high tech.”

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano opened the plenary session of the National Governors Association 2007. The session focused on innovation and technology, including the link to postsecondary education. She urges that governors consider “a sense of urgency” for innovation.

“What do we need to do as governors, state by state, to make sure the next generation is fully prepared for the globalization of the 21st Century?” she said. “How do we make the U.S.a place were jobs are in-sourced, not out-sourced, as a result of our mental capital?”

Here are notes from remarks by Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google:

Expect that “as broadband penetration crosses 75% (of households and businesses), broadband will be the first place people will go for information.”

“… teachers are among the most isolated workers …”

“Since we can measure results” of teaching, instead of educators engaging in never ending strategy discussions, educators in local schools should initiate five new experimental interactions (teaching), test results, adjust procedures, retest, …

Teachers are not using unpresidented availability of resources on the Internet.

By the year 2019, a hand held device like a cell phone could house 85 years of video information, more than a person born that year will likely view in that person’s lifetime.

Expect more major devices at least every 18 months (as described by Moore’s Law about the rate of electronic equipment evolution), not fewer; convergence of technologies will yield more new devices, not fewer.

Notes of more remarks by Stephenson:

Competition is good, including in schools.

More competition will yield more innovation … and a better economy.

Communication transmissions will continue to increase in velocity. The more efficient the transmission, the faster the velocity, already allowing almost instantanious transmission worldwide in real time.

Governors should encourage accelerating velocity of transmissions by increasing infrastructures and by demanding more of students.

We can measure outcomes, so initiate new activities, measure, refine, measure, …

India now competes with US “brains” by graduating more engneeers and paying them lower wages, so US industries increasingly outsource engineering problems to India and then sends product designs to China to manufacture products shipped to the US and sold here.

US must produce the best and brightest in math and science in order to invent new products in order to compete as a global economy.

Education is one leg of a three legged stool required for national competition, innovation, and technology. Communication and commerce are the other two legs.

By inference of the context of this description, he argues that schools must use state of the art communications, specifically the Internet and electronic devices in schools, to increase their performance levels in order for commerce to remain globally competitive.

Napolitano said states should focus more on higher education and producing products that no other countries produce and market.

Governors are increasingly focused on increasing the alignment of postsecondary education with the economy of their states.

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.