Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Archive >  October 2010 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

Needed: High Quality Graduates
Jacob Fattal, Publisher
Every so often, the newshounds on TV and radio get hold of a new study or set of statistics that tell us just how bad our education system is in the United States. To hear them tell it, it's a wonder that we are able to continue to maintain our technological superiority (often challenged these days) in the global market.

It's no news to most of us that the U.S. education system is sadly underperforming, and has been doing so for many years. All too many college-bound students graduate from high school with a very poor grasp of the English language and will not willingly pick up a book for the sheer joy of reading.

Yet they go off to college, often ill-prepared for the rigorous courses of study that lie ahead. Okay, some of them do have a grasp of English — of sorts. They have become expert at texting on their cell phones in a verbal shorthand that many of us old-timers find difficult to comprehend without a dictionary or "cheat sheet" of some kind close at hand. And this raises the question: why should I have to have a Rosetta Stone nearby to understand what today's teens and young adults are saying?

The sad part of this whole proposition is that our colleges are not graduating the large numbers of scientists and engineers that we need coming from our own education system. Instead, a large percentage of these science and engineering graduates come to the U.S. from other countries to take advantage of our still-excellent university system. To what degree these students can be of benefit to the U.S. depends on whether they choose to stay and work here after they graduate. Naturally, the bulk of them go back to their countries of origin — in many cases as part of the payback for being sponsored and financed through college.

It's safe to say that we owe the continuing excellence of our nation's colleges and universities to (1)High standards set by each institution's board of governors, (2)Generous contributions and endowments from wealthy and grateful alumni; and (3)A large number of talented students from overseas. Isn't it time we added a fourth item — large numbers of talented students from the U.S. educational system? Yes, it's possible; it will take a lot of effort to get there, and time is running out. Can we do it?  

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