A Rallying Cry for the Obama Education Speech

A Rallying Cry for the Obama Education Speech

To the Editor:

The Obama education speech needs to be a rallying cry for those of us living in the “greatest nation” in the world. Considering that U.S. has begun losing its competitive position to countries which put education first, it’s unlikely that U.S. can possibly continue to be the nation to which all other countries aspire.

Consider some sobering facts. The U.S. lags behind many other countries in education based on the number of hours spent in school. For example, in U.S. schools elementary students get on average 183 days of education. In other countries, such as Korea, Japan and Singapore, to name a few, students are in school an average of 243 days. That’s a 40% increase over the United States! It’s no wonder many of these students are considered “overachievers.”

I live in the “wonderful” state of California, which by many measures is not too wonderful anymore. With unemployment over 10%, the state is almost bankrupt and we have a governor who approved $1.8 Billion in cuts toward education. And, that’s just for the 2009. Another $4 Billion is expected to be cut from the 2010 education budget!

The Obama education speech should hit a nerve in all Americans and it should hammer in a point to us Californians. I recently read an article by Tom Elias who reports that the dropout rate in California is about 33%. Thirty three percent. That means one in three kids will drop out of high school before they graduate.

He goes on to point out that this is one of the reasons that California corporations oftentimes go offshore to find skilled labor and leave the low paying, unskilled jobs to the rest. I don’t necessarily agree with that belief, but it is pretty disgraceful to think that one of the “wealthiest states” in the “greatest nation” has fallen to this level.

The Obama education speech addresses a far more sinister issue at stake for the United State. Education has been proven to be a program that lifts people out of poverty. Most third world countries have many other problems, including war, blight, and starvation. Education is the key to turning these problems around by giving the people the tools in which to elevate their living standards.

This lack of education support here in the U.S. puts our society at a disadvantage to those countries that used to be third world countries. They have gone through the cycle of war and poverty developed their education systems and created employable workers, as well as jobs. These same employable workers are now increasingly mobile, which is additional worry for us Americans. Technology has lowered the barrier to many jobs as it allows workers to be employed across the world.

If the Obama education speech did not get you incensed about our lackluster education performance, it should. Because not only are we losing jobs to higher skilled, better trained, off-shore workers, we’re creating a negative legacy for our children. We will have left them with a society that is less “well-off” than the generation before them. This, interestingly, is the first time ever in American history. I don’t think that this is how we want history to be written about our generation.

David Chan

Chan is a high tech professional who consults on business development, leadership and marketing opportunities. Read more about the Obama education speech and leave your comments on this issue at http://davidkchan.com.


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