April 27, 2005

What does the U.S. future look like?

Information Week has an interesting snippet about one of the things that's hurting the U.S. The Gates being quoted here is Bill Gates of Microsoft fame.

"The opportunity for innovation is stronger today than ever before," Gates said. But he added that the climate is also a "bit scary," noting that investment in education in the United States is eroding at the same time investment in research funding and interest in science are going down.

"I'm quite concerned that the U.S. will lose its relative position in something that is very critical to this country," Gates said.

The impact that's had on Microsoft centers on hiring. "The jobs are there and they are high-paying jobs, but we are not seeing the pipeline [of talented job applicants] as it used to be," Gates said. Instead, talented foreign students are either not coming to the United States to study or they're returning home for other opportunities once they graduate, he said.

Microsoft isn't finding an adequate labor pool in the United States, Gates said. Despite Commerce Department statistics to the contrary, he said, "Anyone who's got the education and the experience, they're not out there unemployed."

Tilghman argued that there's a paradox in American society about education. "The U.S. has the finest higher-education system in the world," she said. "What's failing is the K-12 system." She added, "By the time they get to us [at the university level] they are math-phobic and science-phobic."

Posted by Ted at April 27, 2005 9:10 PM