IT Business Edge blogger Dennis Byron recently wrote about an "absolutely scary hour" he spent listening to Intel's Craig Barrett, former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner and other experts discussing shortcomings in the U.S. educational system that are damaging our nation's competitiveness in the global economy.
For example, 70 percent of high school students in some cities are taught by teachers not certified in the subject they are teaching. It would be like getting open heart surgery from a dermatologist. Gerstner has hundreds of other similar statistics, as well as some solutions. The nut of the problem: Teachers aren't treated as or paid as professionals.
I covered similar ground in a post from last spring, pointing out that the U.S. is lagging countries like China and India in getting students interested in science, engineering and other IT-related fields.
Now here's another worrisome statistic: Two Chinese universities provide the greatest number of doctoral candidates to America's Ph.D. programs, having toppled former leader University of California-Berkeley. More than a third of folks earning doctorates in science and engineering from U.S. schools come from other countries, according to the National Science Foundation.
Dennis Hengstler, UC-Berkeley's assistant vice chancellor of planning and analysis, tells MercuryNews.com
There has been, over last decade, a strong emphasis in China to produce more scientists and engineers. Why is this a strong interest in China, and less of an interest for students graduating from U.S. colleges? It is a concern for our nation's future competitiveness.
There's a little bit of silver in this cloud. Many of the new doctorate recipients want to stay and work in the U.S. The MercuryNews.com mentions a survey that found 93 percent of all new doctorate recipients holding permanent visas and 65 percent of temporary visa holders said they would remain in the U.S. after graduation.
The U.S. isn't the only country experiencing a decline in native-born engineering graduates. Japan has the same problem.