Yup, the recent SAT’s (those pesky tests most of us took to get into college) just featured a question regarding the authenticity of shows like “American Idol”. In other words, China – you just won!
Well maybe not. I highly doubt that the far eastern juggernaut will eclipse America’s GDP anytime soon (despite being the world’s # 2), but that doesn’t mean we should undermine our emphasis on educating the next generation of global leaders.
While in Ecuador, I further realized that it is infrastructure, technical innovation and quality public administration that advances the well being of a nation; not reality shows or over-priced real estate (especially). But for those former entities to surpass the latter, there needs to be a new push towards higher education, especially in the sciences and liberal arts.
I believe that it is not a coincidence that since JFK gave Americans a deadline to land on the Moon (and signing the executive order to start the Peace Corps ) there has been repeated cycles of economic and social growth in the United States. The Apollo program inspired students to pursue careers in engineering, aviation and medicine for a chance to join NASA, and while the majority of them didn’t end up working for them, they went on and joined other innovative efforts that maximize the well being and economic independence of our nation.
Now imagine if our sitting POTUS challenges us to land in Mars in this decade. The technology is there; we already understand the mechanics behind heavy-lift boosters and methane/oxygen generators. A challenge will also inspire students to learn hard science, a field that has countless benefits some of which to say the least includes the possibility of engineering alternative fuel cells.
So let’s beat China !