Friday, February 20, 2009

Competition of the future & the American education system

A few months ago, I sat down with friends over dinner and engaged in a passionate argument about the education system in America. I argued on the side that the times were changing and what had worked in America until now was not going to work in the future. I said that America is woefully behind on education in math and science and that the future belonged to kids who excel in math and science. The next generation of world leaders in both private and public sectors would come from countries that pushed math and science vigorously.

My friends argued that America has a more holistic education system and that it prepares kids to be more creative and artistic. They argued that they would want their kids to pursue their dreams and also consider becoming artists or go into other fields that don't necessarily need math and science. These career paths as opposed to scientists and doctors, the fields which require intense math and science reading.

I argued that it does not matter what fields people go to, but quickness of math and a higher than general knowledge of science are essential components of the next generation of workers. My argument was that it has become imperative that knowledge in these fields is now essential as the global workforce is a lot smarter and individuals have to deal with a more business savvy approach to everyday life. The discussion continued into the wee hours of the dawn, but many did not make an effort to view the scene from my point.

I talked about the documentary "2 Million Minutes", which hopefully will give them some more food for thought about the discussions we had.

I just found this other data point today and it was quite revealing in terms of some of the metrics. I hope you view this as well.

In ending, I just want to say that public school systems in America in general are doing what they can to prepare the next generation of kids, given the fiscal constraints that they work with. However, it is upto the parents to guide their children and help them succeed given the new reality.

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