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YardleyLabs
01-07-2010, 08:08 PM
The White House has launched a program called Educate to Innovate to combat what it describes as America's fall to the lower levels among developed countries in education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It points to the fact that American students scored 21st out of 30 developed nations in science literacy and 25th out of 30 in math literacy. In the President's words, "the nation that out educates us today will out compete us tomorrow."

I am not really posting this to defend the President's proposed program (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/educate-innovate). In fact, it strikes me as being a little light. However, I believe that the points raised in launching the program represent a much bigger challenge to our future than terrorism, climate change, or taxes.

The strength of America's economy has resulted from having better education in science, technology, engineering and math than other countries. We combined that educational foundation with a pragmatic national character open to the change -- both technological and social -- inherent in embracing new science and technology. Innovation stimulated our economy and stimulated our society. Our population became more mobile geographically and socially.

The best and the brightest from other countries were eager to immigrate to a society that welcomed them with new opportunities to excel. As an employer, I saw this regularly as we recruited staff from Ireland, England, India and eastern Europe. Our economy benefited directly from this brain drain from around the world.

Today the world is different. The best and the brightest from other countries no longer flock to our shores. The opportunities are better in their own countries. In fact, today we are more likely to be sending not just our unskilled jobs, but our skilled jobs to their countries both because labor is cheaper and because, when it comes to areas such as computer systems development, the quality of work is often better as well. This shift began in the 1990's and has accelerated over the last decade.

Some of this is inevitable. Other countries are coming into their own. Emerging economies are becoming economic leaders. China may be second to the US today, but is on track to become the world's leading economy over the next several years. India may not be too far behind. Where the US has been the consumer engine for the world's economy, that engine will increasingly be driven by consumers in Asia. Where the US has been the banker responsible for financing global innovation, that role is increasingly shifting to China, the Middle East, and Europe. These nations financed us as we consumed more than we sold and are now using that wealth to finance investment in other countries as well as to purchase many of our own core assets.

As our economic power declines, our poltical and military power will follow. We cannot impose our power militarily -- our own businesses would be the first to jump ship. Ultimately, our economic and political influence will depend on making ourselves more competitive. The question is what we as a nation choose to do about this.

I fear that some of our culture wars contribute directly to our decline as a leader in science and technology. Some of those on the left, in their dedication to helping the weak, are less willing to accept investments targeted at helping the best and brightest to be better and brighter. On the right, the shift toward religious fundamentalism has increasingly become anti-scientific, with a greater concern for defending ideological positions than for advancing scientific knowledge. Among our businesses, a winner take all definition of the free market has contributed to a willingness to sell our entire future for an end of year bonus. Among our media, it has been discovered that it is cheaper and more profitable to sell unchallenged opinion than to investigate or report facts. I view all of these trends as direct threats to our future.

I believe we are capable of better. However, we will not do better without some major shifts in priorities and values. At the top of the list of changes needed, in my opinion, is that we need to move away from ideology -- whether political or religious and more towards a return to flexible pragmatism. We need to focus less on fear and more on hope -- what can we do better for ourselves rather than what can we prevent others from doing to us. Our most severe wounds are self inflicted, not the product of attacks against us. We need to focus on ways to move our country forward, not just our individual selves.

What do others think? I have found this forum interesting because it mirrors the worst of some of the divisions that I believe are destroying us. However, it remains a small enough group -- strangely linked by our shared love of our dogs -- that I keep hoping that we can find constructive ways to discuss some of these issues.

Matt McKenzie
01-07-2010, 08:31 PM
Jeff,
My personal belief is that the biggest enemy of improving education is the teacher's unions and a belief that we have to keep education in government control. It seems that any time someone comes up with an innovative way to educate, it is fought by the teacher's unions and big government types. We continue to throw more and more money at our education problems, but they continue to get worse. That's why people like me, who are far from wealthy, pay taxes for government schools and tuition to send our children to private schools where they can get a quality education in a safe environment.

dnf777
01-07-2010, 09:34 PM
Jeff, I share those concerns, but could never articulate them as well as you did. Last year I had a paragraph published by Jack Cafferty on his report website and read on CNN, regarding our lack of investment in educating our young people. (not strictly our financial investment, but our cultural investment) When did it become cool to be a ditz? Are women becoming the majority of university students because they're increasing their role in society, or are more boys simply deciding to drink beer and stay with their parents? I remember having heroes such as Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong, and today, Capt. Sullenberger. Who do our kids see as role-models and heroes that inspire them to learn and excel? Tiger Woods??? Lady GaGa???
I know that every generation questions the next. Maybe we'll be surprised. But I don't see a bright future for a dim population.

Steve Amrein
01-07-2010, 09:36 PM
I think the best and brightest are still in our country and continue to prosper inspite of our schools. I am afraid the dumbing down of america, lack of personal resposibility, Political corectness and the removal of compitition in school are huge factors. The lack of 2 parents does not help. The acceptance of thug, drug and ho lifesytle being portrayed as OK. More kids know britney spears face than Joe Biden. Besides why would kids work if they know they can have govment supplied housing, healthcare and food.

Franco
01-07-2010, 10:22 PM
Don't we lead the world in graduating attorneys!;-)

Marvin S
01-07-2010, 10:56 PM
As I have gone through my life I recognize the value personally of a solid education in Engineering. It provided me the tools to evaluate situations rationally. That's why I support what I do!

But there have been blips along the way that tell me an overall talent is not appreciated. I had 2 different opportunities to go to West Point, chose not to. When I worked for Anaconda I was headed to the top if I had stayed, but the company expected you to live on subsistence wages :-x while you headed there. Back in the 70's they imported engineers to work at Boeing, not because of their skills but because they were cheaper. There had been about a Million US engineers laid off earlier. If I had it to do all over again I would still get the Engineering degree as it allows me to approach issues in a rational manner. But I would have then gone on to pursue something in the Business world.

We hear the MD's whining about working conditions, they are at least in the position they can bury their mistakes ;-). Teachers are even worse with their whining, look at their product :rolleyes:. The major problem in our country is those who have the mental tools to obtain scientific degrees are not appreciated, at least not monetarily.

When the pay differential is sufficient to cover the years someone spends educating themselves to be useful to society then there will be talent popping out of the woodwork. Why should someone sacrifice their social life to gain those tools when there are easier paths to hefty salaries?

JMO - :)

Buzz
01-08-2010, 11:22 AM
Math and science isn't cool. People who are interested in that stuff are nerds.

When I used to golf a lot, I did a lot of walking on and getting paired up with groups of people I didn't know. Inevitably during a round of golf, the conversation would come around to - what do you do for a living. When I would say engineer, I got a lot of reactions like, "you don't seem like an engineer." I'd ask, what do you mean? I'd get answers like, you seem more like a salesman, or a business man, etc. When I'd press, sometimes I'd get people to say, well you don't seem like a nerd, or your seem more social than an engineer, or you seem to be too well spoken to be an engineer.

People view engineers as socially inept guys wearing white socks with short black pants, plastic rimed glasses, pocket protector, and possibly a calculator on your belt, bad haircut, etc.

What kid wants to be that guy when they grow up?

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 12:18 PM
The biggest threat to innovation is not our schools, but taxes, regulations, and controlling administrative type managers.

Administrative type managers see innovators as being a threat to them and work. These type of managers do not like change and take the ship down by not steering around icebergs.

Innovation requires managers to lessen their own control to let the innovators find new real needs that need solved, and let these new innovations destroy the the technology of the past. Think of how the telegraph replaced the pony express, and telephone replaced the telegraph, and now wireless is replacing LAN lines.

So, to make an impact on innovation, our government needs to shrink and lower taxes. Companies need to reward managers for innovations in their departments so that the innovators will be valued.

I have seen too many times the best innovators are muffled, and then laid off because they do not perform on work that does not help the bottom line while still producing on work that does affect the bottom line.

Buzz
01-08-2010, 12:32 PM
Terry, I worked in R&D and in new product development at Siemens for many years. My experience there doesn't match up with yours. Innovators were highly valued, and rewarded well. Maybe it's a culture thing. The Germans had the philosophy that they don't want good engineers becoming bad managers because they want to make more money. They would rather pay good engineers like good managers, and keep them in jobs they excel at.

One thing that kills innovation is moving manufacturing off shore. I designed lots of products that were built in Mexico and China. It is difficult when you can't go down onto the floor and wrap your arms around the products you are trying to improve or cut costs on.

ducknwork
01-08-2010, 01:06 PM
I think the best and brightest are still in our country and continue to prosper inspite of our schools. I am afraid the dumbing down of america, lack of personal resposibility, Political corectness and the removal of compitition in school are huge factors. The lack of 2 parents does not help. The acceptance of thug, drug and ho lifesytle being portrayed as OK. More kids know britney spears face than Joe Biden. Besides why would kids work if they know they can have govment supplied housing, healthcare and food.

After reading this, I have no need to make a comment of my own. Steve, you are spot on, especially the blod phrase.

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 02:08 PM
Terry, I worked in R&D and in new product development at Siemens for many years. My experience there doesn't match up with yours. Innovators were highly valued, and rewarded well. Maybe it's a culture thing. The Germans had the philosophy that they don't want good engineers becoming bad managers because they want to make more money. They would rather pay good engineers like good managers, and keep them in jobs they excel at.

One thing that kills innovation is moving manufacturing off shore. I designed lots of products that were built in Mexico and China. It is difficult when you can't go down into the floor and wrap your arms around the products you are trying to improve of cut costs on.

Buzz, you are are working in an exception. Other innovative companies like GE and 3M are exceptions too. A lot of it depends on how management is rewarded.

In companies that are in shrinking industries that I have witnessed such as airlines, or telecom, manytimes the management is rewarded more by maintaining headcount rather than productivity or producing something new. Example would be you can be a Sr. Manager with X headcount with bigger pay and bonuses, but you will be knocked down to manager or frontline employee if your headcount goes down. If your production effeciency of your group goes up do to innovation, then you can't justify the headcount therefore you lose headcount and are demoted. This measurement and reward system has been standard for several companies per discussions in my MBA classes.

It is funny when you get a group of engineers working for many companies at a professional meeting, and all of the complaints about restrictions on what they are allowed to do or ordered to do are almost identical to the point that you would think they all work for the same company.

I know Tulsa and Oklahoma both are trying to teach their engineers how to be entrepreneurs so that they can break away from the restrictions in their own companies to create jobs and wealth. I was invited to a SWE meeting in Tulsa where entrepreneurship for engineers was covered in detail. Oklahoma State has launched an entrepeneurship program, and also pushing the classes in several of the graduate programs. The thought is, if companies are restricting you from being innovative, then do it on your own.

Innovation is the key to sustainable growth, and what breaks recessions.

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 02:11 PM
I think the best and brightest are still in our country and continue to prosper inspite of our schools. I am afraid the dumbing down of america, lack of personal resposibility, Political corectness and the removal of compitition in school are huge factors. The lack of 2 parents does not help. The acceptance of thug, drug and ho lifesytle being portrayed as OK. More kids know britney spears face than Joe Biden. Besides why would kids work if they know they can have govment supplied housing, healthcare and food.

Part of that lack of responsibility is the brainwashing that everyone has to depend on a company or a government to provide for them. Innovation, and teaching innovators how to rely on themselves will mean they can be indipendant from companies or the government. Engineers 100 years ago or before usually created their own companies which is not the case today.

Buzz
01-08-2010, 03:21 PM
I'm wondering who besides me actually followed Jeff's link to the White House website. I came across this item of interest:

http://www.nationallabday.org/

I'm thinking of trying to get involved. If you're an engineer, scientist, or mathematician, you should check it out.;-)

One of the problems in this country is the culture, and who the culture leads our youth to view as heros and role models. Programs like this one could make a small difference in some kid's life. If there are no projects going in your area, perhaps you know a science or math teacher that you could persuade to get the ball rolling at a school near you.

DSemple
01-08-2010, 03:39 PM
I think the best and brightest are still in our country and continue to prosper inspite of our schools. I am afraid the dumbing down of america, lack of personal resposibility, Political corectness and the removal of compitition in school are huge factors. The lack of 2 parents does not help. The acceptance of thug, drug and ho lifesytle being portrayed as OK. More kids know britney spears face than Joe Biden. Besides why would kids work if they know they can have govment supplied housing, healthcare and food.

Ditto, couldn't have said it better myself.

I see it all as coming down to the lack of responsible parenting and governing for the weakest denominator.

....Don

road kill
01-08-2010, 03:44 PM
If we seek the BEST, we will have to differentiate them from the WORST.

That could damage somes self esteem!!!

PC regards,

rk

dnf777
01-08-2010, 04:06 PM
One of the problems in this country is the culture, and who the culture leads our youth to view as heros and role models. Programs like this one could make a small difference in some kid's life. If there are no projects going in your area, perhaps you know a science or math teacher that you could persuade to get the ball rolling at a school near you.

I'm going to speak to the gifted-ed kids at Oil City HS in two weeks. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. One other observation that I must say carefully as not to offend (yeah, PC, I know) is we spend billions on special ed needs, but very little on gifted and talented ed. That's very compassionate, but not good for the overall good of the country, and I dare say, not fair to some of the most talented kids we have. I may get flamed for supporting handouts, but I'm a firm believer in merit-based scholarships for academics. Look at the amount of scholarship money and coaches salaries universities spend relative to academic scholarships and professor's pay. Really screwed up priorities.

YardleyLabs
01-08-2010, 04:28 PM
I'm going to speak to the gifted-ed kids at Oil City HS in two weeks. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. One other observation that I must say carefully as not to offend (yeah, PC, I know) is we spend billions on special ed needs, but very little on gifted and talented ed. That's very compassionate, but not good for the overall good of the country, and I dare say, not fair to some of the most talented kids we have. I may get flamed for supporting handouts, but I'm a firm believer in merit-based scholarships for academics. Look at the amount of scholarship money and coaches salaries universities spend relative to academic scholarships and professor's pay. Really screwed up priorities.
When I was a kid, my mother was trying to figure out how to get the schools to offer enriched programs for the gifted. She got a lot of flack (we're talking about the 50's in case you think that PC is something new). She refocused her efforts and helped to establish a special program for kids with mental and physical challenges. When that was approved, she was able to get funding for gifted programs included.

When my own son started first grade he had already read all the books that the school offered through third grade. We were informed that the school district believed it was inappropriate to let kids skip grades and that we would either have to place him in private school or accept that he would simply be repeating things he had already done. We stuck with the public schools until tenth grade before placing him in a private school that provided him with more of a challenge. The alternative was to simply send him to college then. We managed as long as we did primarily because of a few great teachers who adopted him along the way. Without them he might well have been expelled a few times along the way. He definitely got into trouble almost as much as I did at similar ages.;-) I also pushed him by employing him in my company where, at the age of 14, I had him design a new computer network, draw up specs and solicit bids from contractors, negotiate and manage the final contracts with the contractor selected, and then develop and deliver training programs on our new systems for my other staff. Boy, did I save a bundle.....

We are so good at developing programs in our schools to push talented athletes to extend themselves and succeed. When it comes to the academically gifted, however, we seem happy to let kids drift. Liberals focus more on the academically challenged. Conservatives seem focused mostly on the cost. Neither seems to focus on the value that comes from training those who will create the jobs of the future.

road kill
01-08-2010, 04:53 PM
How?? We're talking about people right? Not dogs?
Walt

Not sure what you mean, but if there is a way of measuring the best, someone won't be.

Not everyone can be an engineer or an accountant or a manufacturing manager.
Someone has to be in the second tier.

As Mr. Yardley pointed out, not all athletes get to be point guards at Duke.
The exceptional ones get exceptional treatment.

Some athletes get cut from the team.

So, if we cultivate our best and brightest, someone won't make that cut, egos will be crushed.
Tears will flow.....we can't have that!

again, PC regards,

rk

Hew
01-08-2010, 05:07 PM
I'm wondering who besides me actually followed Jeff's link to the White House website. I came across this item of interest:

http://www.nationallabday.org/

I'm thinking of trying to get involved. If you're an engineer, scientist, or mathematician, you should check it out.;-)
National Lab Day? Cool. Calculator Olympics, tin foil "light saber" fights and a bunch of dorks arguing over which one of them speaks the best Klingon. A target-rich environment for any bully needing some lunch money. :D

Marvin S
01-08-2010, 05:07 PM
Conservatives seem focused mostly on the cost.

:) :) -- I'm glad to know I'm still a fiscal conservative ;-).

As with dogs, it costs more to train a mediocre dog to an acceptable level than a talented one. Same with people.

The day we stopped giving aptitude tests in the government schools was the day we showed that school was going to be a lovefest. The champions of NO IQ testing - the education system!!! :(

YardleyLabs
01-08-2010, 05:32 PM
:) :) -- I'm glad to know I'm still a fiscal conservative ;-).

As with dogs, it costs more to train a mediocre dog to an acceptable level than a talented one. Same with people.

The day we stopped giving aptitude tests in the government schools was the day we showed that school was going to be a lovefest. The champions of NO IQ testing - the education system!!! :(
IQ tests are still used in the educational system, or at least the school districts where my kids have attended. However, they are no longer universal, having been replaced by various forms of standardized achievement tests.

There are two major problems with IQ tests. The first is that it is not clear what they measure and minor changes in tests can have significant effects on outcomes. Second, test results are self-fulfilling if teachers are aware of the scores. This has been proven very simply by switching scores randomly between students. After seeing the scores, teachers adjusted the way they treated the kids and performance began to reflect the phony test numbers rather than the real ones.

I was tested for IQ when I was in public elementary school along with all of my classmates. My daughter's IQ was tested in her elementary school in Brooklyn. My son's IQ was tested at the request of his public school in PA during first grade and again when he was a little older. For both of my kids, however, the testing was done as part of screening for special education services rather than on a universal basis.

All kids in both of my children's schools were tested for achievement and aptitude in reading, writing and math in their public elementary and secondary schools. These tests did not purport to measure intelligence, but did measure performance against grade level expectations. Even before the passage of No Child Left Behind requirements, the results of such tests were used in evaluating both schools and teachers.

dnf777
01-08-2010, 06:08 PM
My oldest goes to school on a merit based scholarship. I believe in that too.
Gifted kids around here seem to have plenty of opportunities. Isn't that what AP courses are? One of my daughters friends in high school wound up playing sudoku games in her calculus class because the work wasn't challenging enough. She went to college a year early and struggled with maturity problems. You can push too hard too.
Not arguing with anyone, just doesn't seem like we're ignoring the gifted as much as posted.
Walt

That's good to hear about the gifted opportunities in your area. That's not the case everywhere. Education is not a "one-size-fits-all" like road-kill said, and it seems (in my experience) we try to accommodate those who don't make the standard more than those who exceed it. I'll leave the conservative vs liberal slants on education alone, other than to say I think Yardley hit it square on the head.

Hew, I don't see you reciting Starfleet commands, nor bullying those who do. Were you the crowd that smoked out in the parking lot?? :cool:

road kill
01-08-2010, 06:39 PM
National Lab Day? Cool. Calculator Olympics, tin foil "light saber" fights and a bunch of dorks arguing over which one of them speaks the best Klingon. A target-rich environment for any bully needing some lunch money. :D

Reminds me of the good old days when you could smoke some dweeb in the noggin with a big red ball!!
Anybody remember that sound??

RP, you know what I'm talkin' about!!:D

YardleyLabs
01-08-2010, 06:52 PM
With athletic competition, we create opportunities for the best athletes to compete with their athletic peers on a regional, state, and national basis. However well one performs, the challenge is always there to do better. While there are academic competitions, they tend to be somewhat gimmicky and narrower. The Westinghouse Science Competition is in a different league, but I am not sure how many schools participate.

I think public schools do a fair job for students that are within about two standard deviations of the norm (the equivalent of IQ's of 70 - 130). At the lower end, normal schools are seldom able to accommodate the needs and kids tend to be sent to special schools, many of which are privately operated. At the higher end, I think that public school programs are still not too bad up to almost three standard deviations above the norm (IQ equivalent of about 145). However, for students who are three or more standard deviations above the norm, I think public schools generally fail miserably. I believe that is unfortunate and results in a failure to challenge these students to be as effective as they are able and costs us future jobs in the process.

Fortunately, colleges have done much better at this level. Maybe for students at the highest levels we should be focused more on getting them to college earlier. I agree that this creates social problems that need to be addressed at the same time. I considered sending my son to college two years early, but was happier when we found a program that could challenge him without isolating him from other children his age. However, had I left him in public school, the lesson he was learning was how little he had to work to be at the top of his class.

It's sort of like the difference between hunt tests and field trials. The first lets you determine who is good enough; the latter lets you find out who is best. It is in field trials that we see dogs perform to their limits and beyond. When people do that, they achieve things well beyond the dreams of their teachers and create whole new industries with thousands of new jobs in the process.

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 08:14 PM
It's sort of like the difference between hunt tests and field trials. The first lets you determine who is good enough; the latter lets you find out who is best. It is in field trials that we see dogs perform to their limits and beyond. When people do that, they achieve things well beyond the dreams of their teachers and create whole new industries with thousands of new jobs in the process.

But some of the big corporations have turned into hunt tests. If someone is excelling too much, they are handicapped or rewarded with choirs rather than doing something they could be produtive with. After a while, if you aren't politically favored, you may be cut or ran off due to your tallents outshining the others, the bosses, and their chosen ones.

Big corporations too could learn from sports by possibly re-interviewing for positions each year. If a younger employ has developed more through grad school, work performance, and innovative ideas, let him take a higher position. If the upper manager that quit working when he made the big leages because he thought he made it, send him back down to the minors and let him decide if he wants to work to regain his position in the big leagues.

I had one friend, Joey Edlen, that went through being demoted in the Cardinal organization because he quit working. I never seen it happen in the corporate world. I doubt I ever will either unless I become CEO somewhere.

YardleyLabs
01-08-2010, 08:37 PM
But some of the big corporations have turned into hunt tests. If someone is excelling too much, they are handicapped or rewarded with choirs rather than doing something they could be produtive with. After a while, if you aren't politically favored, you may be cut or ran off due to your tallents outshining the others, the bosses, and their chosen ones.

Big corporations too could learn from sports by possibly re-interviewing for positions each year. If a younger employ has developed more through grad school, work performance, and innovative ideas, let him take a higher position. If the upper manager that quit working when he made the big leages because he thought he made it, send him back down to the minors and let him decide if he wants to work to regain his position in the big leagues.

I had one friend, Joey Edlen, that went through being demoted in the Cardinal organization because he quit working. I never seen it happen in the corporate world. I doubt I ever will either unless I become CEO somewhere.
Terry,

I agree with you and a lot of those companies have disappeared over the last 20 years. It is natural for companies to reach a point where they are mature players in a mature and declining industry. Many find themselves saddled with high legacy costs at a point when the best way to milk the cow is to cut costs and scoop out what profit remains before the industry tanks.

I ran a consulting practice at one point where we specialized in Unisys mainframe development at a time when customers were getting rid of their Unisys systems as fast as they could. We were highly profitable scavengers. I could hire extraordinary developers who were working as roofers, pay them almost nothing, and sell them for a premium. The hard part of that business was recognizing it for what it was and responding accordingly. However, I also knew that our business would decline every year and eventually disappear altogether. For that reason I also began creating a practice focused on some of the most advanced and emerging areas of technology. My business and I survived and thrived; my former Unisys development staff ended up going back to their jobs as roofers except for the few that made the decision to invest some of their own time and money to reinvent themselves and learn new skills.

Sometimes our legacy industries are institutionally incapable of change. While unions are often blamed for the failure, I suspect that management is even more culpable. Our steel industry has disappeared even as the demand for steel grew. We were so committed to billion dollar plus factories with long production runs that we were unable to meet the demands of a more nimble marketplace. The same has been true for our automobile industry. I suspect that our insurance and oil industries will follow the same paths. Our airline industry was headed in that direction, but has been using creative bankruptcy to finance a transition to a more nimble model at taxpayer expense.

The reality is that political power often rests with those companies that have already lost their ability to compete effectively, and few of those businesses are capable of recreating themselves in the absence of major disaster.

Buzz
01-08-2010, 09:01 PM
At the higher end, I think that public school programs are still not too bad up to almost three standard deviations above the norm (IQ equivalent of about 145).

This isn't surprising to me. In a normal bell curve, don't something like .13% of students come in above 3 standard deviations. A little over 1 in a thousand? How much in resources can we expect the public school system to pour into that population? I'm not sure that this group is having any profound impact on our test scores relative to the rest of the world's.

Where I went to high school, the moderately gifted group had to go to a local community college in the afternoons in order to get calculus and calculus based physics. We had a good chemistry department, I can honestly state that I didn't learn anything in freshman chemistry that I didn't know when I graduated from high school.

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 09:32 PM
This isn't surprising to me. In a normal bell curve, don't something like .13% of students come in above 3 standard deviations. A little over 1 in a thousand? How much in resources can we expect the public school system to pour into that population? I'm not sure that this group is having any profound impact on our test scores relative to the rest of the world's.

Where I went to high school, the moderately gifted group had to go to a local community college in the afternoons in order to get calculus and calculus based physics. We had a good chemistry department, I can honestly state that I didn't learn anything in freshman chemistry that I didn't know when I graduated from high school.

My school was highly competitive in both sports (baseball/basketball) and academics. Those that excelled usually excelled in both, and went on to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and coaches. Those that didn't, well.... But it seemed like the school with administration that cared, and set goals, and backed the teachers and coaches did much better with what they had. It seemed like many of the larger schools we competed with either in Baseball or MathCounts settled for mediocrity. Too many allow kids to sell themselves short. For some kids, the motivation of atheltics helps them excell in academics.

jcasey
01-08-2010, 10:21 PM
when it comes to areas such as computer systems development, the quality of work is often better as well

This is not generally the case. I am a software consultant and have spent many hours rewriting code written by H1Bs that was either defective or unmaintainable. From the quality and technique I have seen, they are 10 years behind us.

It is too bad so many companies are using H1Bs instead of domestic talent for software development. The H1Bs may be cheaper, but it takes 2-3 of them in a cube to do the work of 1 experienced domestic developer.
We may have needed the H1Bs during the dot com and telecom explosion of 2000 as supplementation, but not anymore.

I wonder how many college students are studying computer science with the popularity of off/on shoring of software development...

Terry Britton
01-08-2010, 10:36 PM
This is not generally the case. I am a software consultant and have spent many hours rewriting code written by H1Bs that was either defective or unmaintainable. From the quality and technique I have seen, they are 10 years behind us.

It is too bad so many companies are using H1Bs instead of domestic talent for software development. The H1Bs may be cheaper, but it takes 2-3 of them in a cube to do the work of 1 experienced domestic developer.
We may have needed the H1Bs during the dot com and telecom explosion of 2000 as supplementation, but not anymore.

I wonder how many college students are studying computer science with the popularity of off/on shoring of software development...

Part of the difference is cultural differences. H1Bs from some countries want to be told everything to do, and think of you as a lazy manager for not doing that. The manager thinks the H1Bs can't perform because they won't empower themselves to solve problems and learn better techniques.

Sometimes the cultural differences aren't worth the $$$ savings. Call centers are a great example of this problem. Why does American companies off shore help desk work to cultures that require their manager how to solve the problems. After 10 calls, you finally get routed back to the USA where the culture empowers the employee to solve the problem, and they think outside the box to solve your problem in 2 minutes.

Terri
01-09-2010, 12:45 AM
I have a problem with ranking the education of the United States with other countries. It is like comparing apples to oranges. In the U.S. we educate and test everyone K-12. In other countries they do not educate every student so they do not test every student. Level the field then test.
Terri

dnf777
01-09-2010, 07:17 AM
This is not generally the case. I am a software consultant and have spent many hours rewriting code written by H1Bs that was either defective or unmaintainable. From the quality and technique I have seen, they are 10 years behind us.

It is too bad so many companies are using H1Bs instead of domestic talent for software development. The H1Bs may be cheaper, but it takes 2-3 of them in a cube to do the work of 1 experienced domestic developer.
We may have needed the H1Bs during the dot com and telecom explosion of 2000 as supplementation, but not anymore.

I wonder how many college students are studying computer science with the popularity of off/on shoring of software development...


I saw on a tv news show that there has been a brain-drain of talent from all other software writing areas since video games are sucking up the most talented programmers to make PS3, DS, etc....games, which pays far more than gov't or most other industries. True? If so, another case of misplaced priorities, but who can blame?

YardleyLabs
01-09-2010, 07:52 AM
This is not generally the case. I am a software consultant and have spent many hours rewriting code written by H1Bs that was either defective or unmaintainable. From the quality and technique I have seen, they are 10 years behind us.

It is too bad so many companies are using H1Bs instead of domestic talent for software development. The H1Bs may be cheaper, but it takes 2-3 of them in a cube to do the work of 1 experienced domestic developer.
We may have needed the H1Bs during the dot com and telecom explosion of 2000 as supplementation, but not anymore.

I wonder how many college students are studying computer science with the popularity of off/on shoring of software development...
With H1B's, you are looking at programmers from another country paid on an hourly basis as consultants and placed onto teams in the US that may be organized well or poorly. In fact, if one looks at the primary users of H1B's during the "boom" years of the 90's, the odds were good that the team was poorly organized and that project control rested with a technical incompetent.

In that same period Indian companies began putting together their own shops for off shore development. These actually began as training programs. Young staff were hired from college and would spend their first three years working in development factories as members of 3-5 person teams. No assignment lasted more than six months and with each project, these trainees were introduced to new languages and development tools/methodologies. After they completed this three year training process, they would be sent to Europe and the US as hourly consultants. Typically, under the terms of earlier visa programs, they could only stay 18 months before having to leave the country for at least six months. During the six months at home, they would return to the development factories to learn new tools.

The salaries paid in India were so low relative to the amounts paid for consulting services in the US and Europe, that this business model worked profitably. What was interesting was that the development factories needed projects on which staff could be trained. There was little demand for sophisticated business systems in India. As a consequence, they began selling small projects to western firms at a very low price. Equally important, to meet the needs of the training process, projects needed to be well defined with formal, written specifications. Development proceeded in very structured ways. How unrealistic....:o

A consequence of all of this was that Ed Yourdon, considered by many to be the father of structured systems development, did a review of major data centers around the world, ranking them based on the quality and predictability of their results. Of the first five data centers that he rated as excellent, four were in India and one was in the US (Bell Labs). This was not lost on companies with the largest investments in software development. First the major software companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle, began building their own software factories in India. They were followed by the major corporate development shops such as Merrill Lynch. Interestingly, this trend has continued even while salaries in India grew to the point where they are now competitive with salaries in the US, where IT developer salaries have stayed relatively low.

Terry Britton
01-10-2010, 01:26 PM
I saw on a tv news show that there has been a brain-drain of talent from all other software writing areas since video games are sucking up the most talented programmers to make PS3, DS, etc....games, which pays far more than gov't or most other industries. True? If so, another case of misplaced priorities, but who can blame?

Innovate or die. A good video game blows both music and the movie industry out of the water with profits in the Billions. If you want your industry to compete with tallent making that kind of profit, innovate into the video game market or start paying your top tallent.

The priorities aren't misplaced. The priorities are for where the best profit is. Would you do your same job for 1/10th the pay? Those programmers have their families and themselves to think of.

What is misplaced is that companies don't value or understand their tallent enough to pay for them, and build those costs into their business plan. They tend to handcuff their tallent, and hold them back, then use that to not pay what the tallent is worth. Sometimes they bring the tallent in to use their full abilities, and over time take away responsibilies as the company grows without letting the tallent or its sallary grow.

dnf777
01-10-2010, 01:52 PM
The priorities aren't misplaced. The priorities are for where the best profit is. Would you do your same job for 1/10th the pay? Those programmers have their families and themselves to think of.

Exactly. I wasn't referring to the poor graduate trying to repay school loans and get into a house. I mean society as a whole, as we ultimately direct the funds to where they go. Just like I don't blame Ben Rothlisberger for signing a $110 million contract with the Steelers. But there are plenty of folks buying $150 jerseys, tickets, shoes with little logos on them, etc...that drive this market, and create the brain drain away from innovation and developement where it can help the US succeed in a global market, to redirect it to Mario Bros, that furthers the 'dumbing-down' of America. JMO.

Maybe its just the natural course of societies to be built into greatness by those who are lean, mean, and hard working.......only to be inherited by those who are fat, lazy, and stupid because they didn't have to WORK for what they enjoy??

Hoping I'm wrong regards....

Marvin S
01-10-2010, 03:53 PM
I ran a consulting practice

I'm not :o, your posts exhibit that skill set!


How much in resources can we expect the public school system to pour into that population?

The system has found unlimited resources to pour into the special Ed portion of the public school populace. Is that a wise investment? From a bean counters perspective it would not be!

I went to a country school where a lot of the children were from sharecropper parents. We were taught by a teacher with a working certificate (12 weeks !st summer out of high school, 6 weeks for 3 more summers out of the next 5), 30 credits made you an elementary teacher who worked from a lesson plan done by the County Superintendent. Every 16 square miles in SD had their own little country school. If you have ever been to Letcher you probably drove by the location of the school, the building is now on someone's farm as a chicken coop.

In the 5th grade we had 3 boys, all became Engineers, 1 with a PHD in Geological engineering. We were not ID'd as anything other than boys. My 1st taste of testing in the schools was the statewide tests given our Senior year of HS. It opened my eyes to the opportunities a student with bad grades & good test scores had under the old system. Today, unless the parent/s are monitoring what is happening it is easy for a bright child to be lost.


My school was highly competitive in both sports (baseball/basketball) and academics. Those that excelled usually excelled in both, and went on to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and coaches.

I offer you the example of Terry Baker, Oregon State, Heisman Trophy, AA in FB (QB), 28-3 in BB as starting point guard & started on their very good baseball team. 12 letters in 4 years, graduated on time with a 3.2 in ME & is now a patent attorney in Portland.


Part of the difference is cultural differences.

Note: Ingrained cultural difference, plus you need to recognize that those countries have probably skimmed the cream from that population.


In that same period Indian companies began putting together their own shops for off shore development. These actually began as training programs. Young staff were hired from college and would spend their first three years working in development factories as members of 3-5 person teams. No assignment lasted more than six months and with each project, these trainees were introduced to new languages and development tools/methodologies. After they completed this three year training process, they would be sent to Europe and the US as hourly consultants. Typically, under the terms of earlier visa programs, they could only stay 18 months before having to leave the country for at least six months. During the six months at home, they would return to the development factories to learn new tools.

The salaries paid in India were so low relative to the amounts paid for consulting services in the US and Europe, that this business model worked profitably. What was interesting was that the development factories needed projects on which staff could be trained. There was little demand for sophisticated business systems in India. As a consequence, they began selling small projects to western firms at a very low price. Equally important, to meet the needs of the training process, projects needed to be well defined with formal, written specifications. Development proceeded in very structured ways. How unrealistic....:o

A consequence of all of this was that Ed Yourdon, considered by many to be the father of structured systems development, did a review of major data centers around the world, ranking them based on the quality and predictability of their results. Of the first five data centers that he rated as excellent, four were in India and one was in the US (Bell Labs). This was not lost on companies with the largest investments in software development. First the major software companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle, began building their own software factories in India. They were followed by the major corporate development shops such as Merrill Lynch. Interestingly, this trend has continued even while salaries in India grew to the point where they are now competitive with salaries in the US, where IT developer salaries have stayed relatively low.

Other than the caste system, India benefitted from their years as British subjects.

YardleyLabs
01-10-2010, 05:10 PM
...
Other than the caste system, India benefitted from their years as British subjects.
Not quite sure what point you are making. The fact is that the Indian technology industry has far out paced the English one. I suspect that it might be as meaningful to point out that our own development has been largely shaped by our own history as an English colony.

Marvin S
01-10-2010, 06:08 PM
You posted


I ran a consulting practice

I replied


I'm not :o, your posts exhibit that skill set!


You posted


In that same period Indian companies began putting together their own shops for off shore development. These actually began as training programs. Young staff were hired from college and would spend their first three years working in development factories as members of 3-5 person teams. No assignment lasted more than six months and with each project, these trainees were introduced to new languages and development tools/methodologies. After they completed this three year training process, they would be sent to Europe and the US as hourly consultants. Typically, under the terms of earlier visa programs, they could only stay 18 months before having to leave the country for at least six months. During the six months at home, they would return to the development factories to learn new tools.

The salaries paid in India were so low relative to the amounts paid for consulting services in the US and Europe, that this business model worked profitably. What was interesting was that the development factories needed projects on which staff could be trained. There was little demand for sophisticated business systems in India. As a consequence, they began selling small projects to western firms at a very low price. Equally important, to meet the needs of the training process, projects needed to be well defined with formal, written specifications. Development proceeded in very structured ways. How unrealistic....:o

A consequence of all of this was that Ed Yourdon, considered by many to be the father of structured systems development, did a review of major data centers around the world, ranking them based on the quality and predictability of their results. Of the first five data centers that he rated as excellent, four were in India and one was in the US (Bell Labs). This was not lost on companies with the largest investments in software development. First the major software companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle, began building their own software factories in India. They were followed by the major corporate development shops such as Merrill Lynch. Interestingly, this trend has continued even while salaries in India grew to the point where they are now competitive with salaries in the US, where IT developer salaries have stayed relatively low.

I replied


Other than the caste system, India benefitted from their years as British subjects.


Not quite sure what point you are making. The fact is that the Indian technology industry has far out paced the English one. I suspect that it might be as meaningful to point out that our own development has been largely shaped by our own history as an English colony.

I actually worked with foreign nationals, many nationalities, on a daily basis. I believe myself to be quite capable of commenting on their strengths & weaknesses in the working world. I have also worked with consultants, fluent with words but not so great when it comes time to applying same. ;-)

I also made it a point to get to know the foreign nationals & what made them tick. The Indian engineers could not understand how someone of my supposed stature would strip off my pocket protector & crawl inside an airplane wing to have 1st hand knowledge of the issue. Other foreign nationals required a certain level of oversight as i worked on improving their stand alone skills as their culture had not allowed them to participate in the decision making process at that level. Once they have been in this country long enough to assimilate our culture some seem to be able to operate very well. Rather similar to the US born engineers. But as H1B's work for less money, US nationals do not get the opportunities made available to the Green card types when it's crunch time even though the US national may have greater overall skills. :o

YardleyLabs
01-10-2010, 07:02 PM
You posted

...
I actually worked with foreign nationals, many nationalities, on a daily basis. I believe myself to be quite capable of commenting on their strengths & weaknesses in the working world. I have also worked with consultants, fluent with words but not so great when it comes time to applying same. ;-)

I also made it a point to get to know the foreign nationals & what made them tick. The Indian engineers could not understand how someone of my supposed stature would strip off my pocket protector & crawl inside an airplane wing to have 1st hand knowledge of the issue. Other foreign nationals required a certain level of oversight as i worked on improving their stand alone skills as their culture had not allowed them to participate in the decision making process at that level. Once they have been in this country long enough to assimilate our culture some seem to be able to operate very well. Rather similar to the US born engineers. But as H1B's work for less money, US nationals do not get the opportunities made available to the Green card types when it's crunch time even though the US national may have greater overall skills. :o

1. What countries have you actually worked in? Personally, I have worked with hundreds of Indian, Chinese, English, American and Eastern European programmers and systems analysts. However, I have only worked and lived in America and Europe, and traveled to Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I do not believe I can say much about Indian culture based on working with Indians here any more than I believe that the Italians or Swiss with whom my father worked can say much about American culture based on the Americans they worked with in Italy and Switzerland.

2. Consultants come in many flavors and your complaint undoubtedly applies to some. Before I was ever a consultant, I ran operations with multi-billion dollar revenue/expense streams and had line management responsibility for thousands of staff. When I said I ran a consulting practice, that meant I ran a business, not that I was consulting to others. I had 110 staff and generated some pretty substantial profits.

I also acted as a management consultant to a wide range of businesses. My strength in those situations was that I was NOT responsible for their operations. It didn't make my recommendations right. I was pretty careful to indicate that they needed to make their own judgments on what to implement based on their own understanding of their businesses. However, I will admit that writing and communication skills were important in those assignments. People who cannot listen, analyze, make decisions, and articulate those decisions seldom succeed as either managers or consultants.

As a system consultant, I played a very different role. I led the design and implementation of complex systems ranging in size from 2-3 man years of work to 100-200 man years of work. Those systems were measured very simply: they either worked or the didn't. in about 25 years of work, I had one system rollout that was less than successful. That resulted directly from an erroneous computational formula provided in writing by the client and verified by the client during testing. The consequence was a 15 minute coding change followed by a $750,000 redeployment of the modified system. Despite the fact that this was a client error, I did not charge the client for the overrun.

Uncle Bill
01-10-2010, 08:41 PM
From the keyboard of the most magnanamous liberal known to mankind:
"Despite the fact that this was a client error, I did not charge the client for the overrun."

Only $750 grand! No wonder you find no fault with this administration spending you great grandkids life away.

FWIW, you also get my vote as the RTF bloviater of the year. Is there anything you HAVEN'T done...or anywhere you HAVEN'T been?

Give it a rest, man. We know you are the best thing that happened to this organization since the invention of the whistle. It's just that continually blowing your own is becoming pathetically childish.

UB

YardleyLabs
01-11-2010, 09:39 AM
...

FWIW, you also get my vote as the RTF bloviater of the year....

UB
Fair enough. My post warrants the response.

But what title for one who routinely posts long articles filled with bigotry and lies to make their points, and will even argue that the articles capture the truth even if the "facts" are proven untrue? Not "Bloviator of Lies", since that at least implies authorship, and not "Plagiarizer of Lies", since you usually give credit, and not "Recycler of Lies" since that might make you seem like a tree hugger. How about "Father of Lies" since you seem to treat each such post with the lack of critical judgment shown by an adoring father for his idiot son?

dback
01-11-2010, 10:13 AM
Hummmmm.....a little out of character. Maybe everyone should be required to post a good one on the 'Lighten up' thread today.

Buzz
01-11-2010, 10:16 AM
I also made it a point to get to know the foreign nationals & what made them tick. The Indian engineers could not understand how someone of my supposed stature would strip off my pocket protector & crawl inside an airplane wing to have 1st hand knowledge of the issue. Other foreign nationals required a certain level of oversight as i worked on improving their stand alone skills as their culture had not allowed them to participate in the decision making process at that level. Once they have been in this country long enough to assimilate our culture some seem to be able to operate very well.

This sums up my experience pretty well.

ducknwork
01-11-2010, 11:54 AM
Hummmmm.....a little out of character. Maybe everyone should be required to post a good one on the 'Lighten up' thread today.

SHHHHH! Don't calm them down, this is starting to be entertaining!

Marvin S
01-11-2010, 12:01 PM
But what title for one who routinely posts long articles filled with bigotry and lies to make their points, and will even argue that the articles capture the truth even if the "facts" are proven untrue? Not "Bloviator of Lies", since that at least implies authorship, and not "Plagiarizer of Lies", since you usually give credit, and not "Recycler of Lies" since that might make you seem like a tree hugger. How about "Father of Lies" since you seem to treat each such post with the lack of critical judgment shown by an adoring father for his idiot son?

Careful now - some of us appreciate UB for what he brings to the forum, even when we may disagree, though I do not disagree in this case with his post. As dback stated maybe a little post on the "Lighten Up" thread? Your post above is not in keeping with the image you attempt to cultivate of yourself.

I know this may be a little hard for you to understand, but many on these forums have something to add from our life's experiences. We probably just see things differently than someone as culturally refined as yourself ;-). Remember - retrieverdom is an expensive & demanding sport, especially at the FT level. For the perceptive, being capable of affording the sport has to say something for the individual involved so don't underestimate the person to whom you post.

But you do need to run it up another notch or two as your chain is becoming really easy to yank!!! :)

dback
01-11-2010, 12:56 PM
SHHHHH! Don't calm them down, this is starting to be entertaining!

Used up all my popcorn watching Cards/Packers last night :-) :-)


But you do need to run it up another notch or two as your chain is becoming really easy to yank!!! :)

Between poll numbers and dealing with peasants, Jeff has a lot on his plate :wink:

Post away Jeff....can't say I agree with many but they are always interesting.

road kill
01-11-2010, 01:30 PM
Used up all my popcorn watching Cards/Packers last night :-) :-)



Between poll numbers and dealing with peasants, Jeff has a lot on his plate :wink:

Post away Jeff....can't say I agree with many but they are always interesting.

I agree, except I tend to daydream (A.D.D.) so I usualy fall asleep about 1/3rd of the way through.

BTW--WI popcorn perspective---OUCH!!


rk

Uncle Bill
01-11-2010, 02:09 PM
Fair enough. My post warrants the response.

But what title for one who routinely posts long articles filled with bigotry and lies to make their points, and will even argue that the articles capture the truth even if the "facts" are proven untrue? Not "Bloviator of Lies", since that at least implies authorship, and not "Plagiarizer of Lies", since you usually give credit, and not "Recycler of Lies" since that might make you seem like a tree hugger. How about "Father of Lies" since you seem to treat each such post with the lack of critical judgment shown by an adoring father for his idiot son?


How lovely. Now you are King of Hyperbole. Will your talents never cease?

Since we have you on that pedestal, please enlighten us with YOUR take on the latest Obama attributes as espoused by your Senate leader. I'd ask Roger, but his sycophantic rants would place the cause for what was said as another fault of President Bush.

UB

YardleyLabs
01-11-2010, 02:30 PM
How lovely. Now you are King of Hyperbole. Will your talents never cease?

Since we have you on that pedestal, please enlighten us with YOUR take on the latest Obama attributes as espoused by your Senate leader. I'd ask Roger, but his sycophantic rants would place the cause for what was said as another fault of President Bush.

UB
I think Reid's comments were pretty accurate, although voicing his comments to journalists may not have been one of his smartest moves. Had Obama said and been the same man, but spoken with a more urban black accent I do not believe he would have had a chance of being elected. I don't know that skin shade would have made any difference, but a key component to his election was that he was successful at presenting himself as an intelligent, well educated American, not as a black American. Opponents understood this as well, and worked hard through caricature and distortion to try to make him appear more "black" even as black Americans were reacting negatively and calling him too "white."

I don't think there is any similarity at all between Reid's comments and Trent Lott's statement that America would have been better off if a segregationist had been elected President. It is not racist to talk about race. It is not racist to comment on how racial views/perceptions may affect actions. It is racist to infer individual potential based on race or to advocate for policies of racial exclusion.

dnf777
01-11-2010, 03:06 PM
I find it interesting that republicans are so hell-bent on have dear Harry removed!? Better be careful what you wish for.....The dems might actually get an effective leader with a pair if Harry's out of the way! If I were republican, I would want Harry at the helm of the opposition majority as long as it endures. Look at what he's done with a supermajority so far! Nothing. Nada. Zip!

As for holding the comments he made in relative context....there's no comparison between his and Sen. Lotts. Sen. Lott said if we had continued segregation and suppression of blacks, we wouldn't be in this mess, if effect. I know he wishes he'd had one less scotch before stepping up to that mike. I actually liked many of Trent's positions, and he was certainly charming and a captivating speaker, but what he said was very difficult to explain away in any terms but racist. Harry Reid, as dumb as it may have been, merely pointed out a reality of race-relations (not racism) in this country, that indeed proved itself to be correct.

DSemple
01-11-2010, 03:18 PM
I find it interesting that republicans are so hell-bent on have dear Harry removed!? Better be careful what you wish for.....The dems might actually get an effective leader with a pair if Harry's out of the way! If I were republican, I would want Harry at the helm of the opposition majority as long as it endures. Look at what he's done with a supermajority so far! Nothing. Nada. Zip!

As for holding the comments he made in relative context....there's no comparison between his and Sen. Lotts. Sen. Lott said if we had continued segregation and suppression of blacks, we wouldn't be in this mess, if effect. I know he wishes he'd had one less scotch before stepping up to that mike. I actually liked many of Trent's positions, and he was certainly charming and a captivating speaker, but what he said was very difficult to explain away in any terms but racist. Harry Reid, as dumb as it may have been, merely pointed out a reality of race-relations (not racism) in this country, that indeed proved itself to be correct.

Excellent point.

Thanks. ......Rush ;)