The JT has a reprint of a commentary by Bill Gates in today's paper. Gates argues that innovation, education and immigration are the keys to success for our country. It is hard to argue with any of that. And by immigration, Gates refers specifically to those foriegners with skills in math, science and computer science.
Gates notes that American school children are performing poorly in math. American student recently finished 24th among 29 industrialized nations in math competency. "Governments must work with educators to reform schools and improve educational excellence" says Gates. Again, it is hard to argue with that.
Here is my concern. If innovation is important, and I think it is, wouldn't it be important to have innovation in education? Does our present system of educating children foster innovation, or stifle it? Where would Bill Gates be today if we had a government run system for the research, production and distribution of technological products? Would we have technological innovation, or would it be stifled by a lumbering government bureaucracy?
Bill Gates is a billionaire in large part because we have a more or less free market for the production of technological products. We do not have a free market when it comes to education. As such, we do not have the innovation in education that we have in technology. If we had more of a free market in education, we would see innovation in education. Someone could make billions if they came up with great ways to engage and educate children. And our children would be smarter.
I look forward to the day that the US produces a Bill Gates of education.