Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

RantWatch: Silicon Valley Schools Should Be Showcases Not Basket Cases

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 10, 2010

Today's Silicon Valley Index report was very harsh on the state of education in Silicon Valley.

The New York Times reported:

California must do a better job educating local students, said Stephen Levy, director and senior economist of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, who has served as an adviser to the annual study. "We're not going to be able to live on global talent forever," Mr. Levy said.

However, 5 percent fewer high school graduates are meeting requirements for entrance to state universities, the number of science and engineering degrees has leveled off and state general fund spending on higher education dropped 17 percent last year, according to the report.

It's a disgrace. I've raised this topic before. I've even raised it with John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco Systems, one of our best business leaders. He told me: "Tom, we've tried, and the educational system here can't be fixed."

I don't believe it. And I'm surprised that Mr Chambers would give up so easily. Surely, Silicon Valley is in the business of solving tough problems?

Silicon Valley's schools should be showcases and not basket cases.

How can Silicon Valley say to the world 'we are inventing the future' when its own neighborhoods cannot benefit from all that innovation?

Within a five minute walk of every Silicon Valley school there are enormous resources that could be used to raise educational standards.

Our Silicon Valley CEOs will fly to Washington D.C to complain about the state of US education, yet they won't walk down the street and address a local high school. That would be inspiring. Instead, It's embarrassing.


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