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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Should we all be learning Chinese?

"Twelfth graders [in the United States] rank in the 10th percentile in math globally [for the mathematically challenged that means 90% are better than us,] but first in their opinion of their own math skills." I continue to marvel at our capacity for self-delusion.

That, suggests Clyde Prestowitz in his recent book, Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, is symptomatic of problems endemic to the United States. The United States will survive as a world leader only if it can replace job that are being lost by equivalent or better ones. Innovation and creativity will be the only ways to improve. Education is critical to betterment and it is becoming clear that education in India, China, Japan and Europe is increasingly better than in the United States where the main emphasis seems to be on whether the football team can beat the crap out of the neighboring community's team.

Some of his other suggestions:
Increase teacher salaries, offer portable wage and health insurance, reduce oil consumption, reduce the trade-deficit, and tax spending, not saving. Hardly provocative.

Note that if John B. Anderson had been elected years ago and had been able to implement his 50 cent per gallon gas tax we would be in much better shape from an energy standpoint.

Pet peeve of the week:

I recently attended some meetings in Springfield, Illinois, the state capitol. They should be ashamed of their inability to spell the word correctly. There is a Capital Street; I attended meetings at the Capital City Center (run by a community college, tsk, tsk) and saw numerous other instances of the word that I suspect were mispelled [pun intended] out of ignorance, not cleverness.
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