Thursday, March 08, 2007

Americans Falling Behind

I've been reading The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman and makes me extremely nervous for the future our nation. Not only are developing nations like India, China, and Russia increasing their education systems, America's education system is severely falling behind. Our children's curriculum is less stringent and less focused on subjects like math and science, that have been driving our nation's innovation for the last 50 years.

As the world gets flatter, more and more white collar jobs will shift overseas due the amount of knowledge that these other countries will now possess and their ability to do it for less. If our knowledge base continues to decrease, as is the current trend, our standard of living will be affected as well. Corporations don't care where their workforces come from and if Americans don't wake up, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Further driving home this point is Bill Gates, who was testifying in Congress asking to remove limits on H1-B visas. These visas are designed for professional workers like engineers, computer programmers, scientists, and other individuals in the technology and related fields.

Despite America being a leader in rollout of high-speed internet connections several years ago, we have actually fallen behind and France has almost caught up to us. When President Bush took office in 2001, we were 3rd in the world in total high speed connections, now we are 13th. Why? Because tax cuts for the wealthy were more important than allocating more funds for education of America's children or training programs for people who have lost jobs to automation or even more training for our educators.

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