Knock, Knock… Who’s there?


I am an immigrant to this great country, but I did become an American. For a long time I have been telling people how much better the education system is in Colombia compared to here, but people always gave me a puzzled look and moved along.

I am not sure if it is the National Geographic specials in India’s and China’s economy, or having read The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman, but the topic that worried me the most about globalization is education. It seems I am not the only one since this morning I listened to a radio add about the topic.

A young voice starts saying the name of countries, at first I started to think of the Olympics, but then then a voice over beings saying that America ranks 21st amongst developed countries when it comes to education. Nothing shocking to me yet, but then the voice over continues to sound the alarm saying that with education, jobs go. This is a harsh reality that we all have to face, unless our education system improves, we are going to have a generations of under qualified people, if not many.

Research is one of the fields that worries me the most. While the ethical and moral debate on stem-cell research is happening in this country, Germany, China and Japan are moving full steam ahead with not just research but human trials. Yes, in China you can already get stem-cells implanted.

Just the other day I was discussing the illness of an acquaintance, then I mentioned something that to me was common knowledge, but it was brand new to them. Germany has some of the best medical research in the world. Everyone thinks of the top place in medicine to be the Mayo Clinic or Harvard have the best in the world, but that is old information in today’s reality.

Talking with my wife about Colombia made me very sad. If instead of having to fight a drug war for the past 20 years, Colombia would have invested on taking education further, we would be in the same position as South Korea. It is a place where technology and intellectual growth has catapulted an emerging nation.

Space research was something that NASA pretty much had cornered. In today’s world, a lot of countries have a space program. Heck, even Colombia has its own satellite. The US is not the only one in the game anymore.

The U.S. is still an economic giant, but we should be concerned when just today it was announced that Mainland China is now the biggest importer of Japanese products. Just think of the acquisition power they now have with an emerging middle class… and that is not even thinking of India.

Watching the Olympics my wife said, wow, Beijing is such a beautiful city. I agreed, but then I immediately thought of the preconception that many people have that everywhere but the US is just underdeveloped jungle. How many people think that huge metropolitan areas are not exploding around the world. While this brings us another big questions which is the natural resources in the planet to sustain the growth in population, I still think the immediate issue for the U.S. is education.

Another trend that is kind of scary is people getting an education in the US at a high level, and then tanking those brains somewhere else. While there are some people that via telecommuting are working from a sunny beach most of the year, what worries me is the best innovative minds in the world not being here in America.

Don’t continue to think the rest of the world does not matter. Wake up call people, we drop down our education standards, and we will lose the skilled jobs of the future.

17 comments on “Knock, Knock… Who’s there?

  1. I hope not, because it is part of why high end jobs ore going overseas. More competent for less money is hard to argue with.

    If we could pump people out of our education systems that were as advanced as we (as a nation) think we are, it would be once again advantageous to spend a couple bucks here.

    Or maybe not, but it couldn’t help to have more advanced people here. Not everybody can be an actor, athlete or politician.

  2. I jest NUKE! But since knowing & reading Logtar since March of this year I take his broad generalizations of America with a grain of salt. He takes huge generalizations about America and most of the world. I agree that Education is very important. =D

  3. Not exactly related but you mentioned how Beijing looks and I just recently read a post from a builder who participated in all pre-Olympic construction describing how crappy it was built due to time constraints and will hardly last or be useful in the next 2-5 years. he mentioned bad design, overflowing sewers and much more, which were sacrificed for impressive looks. for 1980 Olympics in Moscow they repaired all the fences,house fronts and front roofs (but not elsewhere) along the roads used by foreigners. this very similar-impressive but for looks only.

  4. While I do generalize sometimes, I think this topic is very important for the country as a whole… check out the website (Strong American Schools)… this is not the only resource, but it has some good info…

    The world is changing, jobs are evolving, and far too many students are simply not being prepared to be successful adults:

    * Seventy percent of eighth graders are not proficient in reading—and most will never catch up.
    * Every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school.
    * Many of those who do graduate are not ready for college, for the workplace, and for life.

    This is not about schools in some far-off city. This is about the students you see in your own neighborhood. This is not someone else’s problem. This is an American problem that affects us all.

  5. The planet Golgafrincham creatively solved the problem of middle managemers: it blasted them in to space.

    Golgafrinchan Telephone Sanitisers, Management Consultants and Marketing executives were persuaded that the planet was under threat from an enormous mutant star goat. The useless third of their population was then packed in Ark spaceships and sent to an insignificant planet.

    That planet turned out to be Earth, where the arrival of the Golgafrincham B Ark rather disrupted an experiment designed to find the question to the ultimate Answer. Wich of couse is 42.

  6. The planet Golgafrincham remaining populations of thinkers and doers, went on to have a very productive life until they were all whiped out by a plauge contracted from a dirty telephone.

  7. One might argue that the decline in school performance is due to being a large importer of Japanese products.

  8. So, what is the answer to fix our school system then? Actually raise kids that CARE about their education? Throw more money at them? Drive them to compete thus bringing the cream to the top? Get rid of systems that allow bad teachers to continue?

  9. Actually, it’s pretty scary to think of how our education system is declining — or how little emphasis that we place on its importance. I think of the fact that I could give my dad a run for his money while watching Jeopardy in 8th grade and I don’t think most 8th graders can do that now. I think that overall, we’ve become lazy and it doesn’t help that things are almost too easy to get to and come by nowadays.

  10. Some say TV is “The Great Baby-sitter”, but in actuallity, it is our school system.

    All parents want out of school is a safe haven to put their child in for 7-8 hours while they goto work.

  11. Hi. New blog reader here!

    I agree with you about the education system in this country. It’s far too easy on the students and needs to be a lot harder. I will say that I can’t speak from public school experience though– I went to all private schools. Still, I know that the level of education is not what it is in other countries. I’m not sure what the answer is, especially with all those that like to dumb down the school system.

    If you drop out of high school these days, you’re pretty much guaranteed a bad/minimum wage job. Here in Ohio (especially the north part of the state), it’s amazing to me the people that think you can drop out of high school and get a $70,000/year job in the automobile industry.

    There needs to be a serious reality check for education.

  12. The problem is not education. Our institutes of higher education are the best in the world. It is why immigrants come from all over the globe to study here and then to make money here. It is the American Dream.

    Unfortuntely many people here do not live that dream. They expect to be taken care of by society.

    Still confuses me how somebody so intelligent (and Catholic no less) can still support Obama after everything that we know about him now. Seriously?

    Anyway, regardless of that I think the growing problem this country faces is the next 50 years is the aging of our population. This means that the majority of the population will either of retirement age, or too young to work. This leaves less of the workforce to pay for their children, and their parents. The burden is growing.

    That is going to be our problem. Beyond that, in 50 years the US Census predicts that only 48% of the population will be white. And I am not referring to any race terms either. With a white minority and a non-working age majority, where do you think the USA will be in 50 years?

    That’s what keeps me up in the middle of the night. Seriously.

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