Monday, February 26, 2007

How To Keep America Competitive

How To Keep America Competitive - Washington Post

The words of billionaire Bill Gates carry a vital warning for Blacks, even though he does not say this directly. While No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and other initiatives struggle to get kids, especially Black kids, through high school with serviceable educations, it is the dearth of Black college-level science and math graduates that define Blacks as dependant consumers versus self-determining producers.

Sadly, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that in the year 2001 less than 3% of all doctoral degrees conferred in the engineering sciences went to Blacks, in stark disproportion to the group as 13% of the total US population. The number of Ph.D.’s in engineering science infers a technology assimilation measure for the group which is soberingly consistent with that group’s average performance within the current society.

If, as Mr. Gates states, our primary and secondary schools have fallen behind the world, to 24th of 29 industrial nations, there is little or no hope for Blacks gaining parity. As nearly 45% percent of Black kids are failing the graduation requirements, within already non-competitive school systems, what we have is a crisis multiplied times two.

For too many of these kids and their parents, education is not seen as the way to a better life. Success is more realistically becoming a rap-star, or a professional athlete or, when these lottery-chance outcomes dissolve, simply a ward of the welfare or criminal justice system.

Gates rightly blames the country’s advancement ills on political will, but the responsibility for Blacks ceding their dreams away rest solely on a lack of will to see education, by ‘hook or crook’, including math and science, as the group’s savior.

James C. Collier


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