As I wrote previously “Exercise Our Nation’s Students Into More Engineering, Scientific and Technical Graduate Studies and Jobs” American student’s math, science and reading skills are steadily falling versus the rest of the world. This will continue the dangerous trend of fewer and fewer American born engineers, scientists, R&D, IT and technical professionals for both: a) R&D recruiters like myself to uncover and b) internal executive recruitment teams of companies to employ.
Now a ridiculous movement is underway to further reduce U.S. educational standards. Under a dramatic, new rating system, Illinois students of different backgrounds will no longer be held to the same standards. Instead, Latinos, blacks and other lower-income students will have lower targets for academic success! For example, in reading 85% of white students in 3rd grade through 8th grade will be expected to pass state-wide tests by 2019 versus only: a) 73% for Latinos and b) 70% for black students. Therefore, instead of making additional efforts to increase educational prowess for all students, this half-baked plan seeks to further lower the median to demonstrate educational progress when none really exists!
Instead, American educators need to harness cutting-edge practices in non-educational fields such as comedy and game design in order to formulate more stimulating, relevant and productive educational programs. As I shared in past articles “Engineering Innovation, The Real Way To Create More Jobs: Part 1 of 3“ , “Part 2 of 3“ and “Part 3 of 3“ such ingenuity exponentially increased product development and company advances. The same approach can yield significant educational improvements! Case in point my new favorite show Silicon Valley.
Silicon Valley was created by Mike Judge best known as the creator and star of the animated television series Beavis and Butt-head (1993–1997, 2011), King of the Hill (1997–2010), and The Goode Family (2009). However, few know that he also has a very technical background including graduating from UCSD with a degree in physics and working in his first job was as a programmer for the F-18 fighter at Support Systems Associates, Inc. Then in 1987 he moved to Silicon Valley to join Parallax Graphics, a startup video card company in Santa Clara.
What makes this show a dramatic success is he puts a humorous spin on an important technical and engineering subject, but still keeps it very realistic with a mockumentary style. This includes references to such topics as Scrum software development, Ruby On Rails, Cloud architecture, driverless cars and venture capitalists.
I firmly believe that American educators can gain a lot from comedic producers like Mike Judge. They clearly know the pulse of our young people. If we could find a way to systematically combine their expertise with that of educators, I believe that we can exponentially ramp up our kid’s abilities to learn by making educational materials more relevant and fun. It sure cannot hurt to try because what we are doing now is clearly not working. The result may be a lot more engineers, scientists, R&D, IT and technical people born and reared in the U.S.
What are your thoughts?