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It’s The School’s Fault Again

According to the American Electronics Association, American public education is the reason why so many companies are exporting jobs to other countries. The AEA says that students don’t get a strong education in math and science so high tech firms are forced to look for skilled workers in other countries. But in addition to public schools, the report also blames a lack of government support for research and development, high health insurance costs, rising legal costs and competition – "once a competitor outsources, then other companies are almost forced to do so".

But AeA researchers also state in the report that the effects of offshore outsourcing on technology workers have been exaggerated, and that no hard numbers are being gathered by government or independent entities that cite exactly how many jobs have actually been lost to outsourcing over the past few years. "Figures cited in news reports are normally predictions of what will happen, not an analysis of what is happening," Kazmierczak said.

So, we really don’t know how many jobs have actually been exported but we do know we can blame the schools and a whole laundry list of things that we want the government to pay for so our companies don’t have to.

While this report sounds like another industry lobbying group trying to scare Congress into giving their companies lots of money, they do make one good point. We don’t do a good job of math and science instruction in this country. Part of the blame for that goes to society in general which gives lots of lip service to learning those subjects but then has an adult population which is largely (and often proudly) ignorant of even the most basic math and science concepts. How many people actually understand the odds behind the lottery or what the theory of evolution actually says?

I’ll probably get blasted for this, but I also blame the tsunami of standardized tests we spend a large part of the year preparing for. The math on these exams hardly gets up to the "high tech" level that the AEA report is referring to and most exams barely touch science at all since it’s not one of the indicators that NCLB requires. When the test becomes the target of instruction, learning settles for the lowest common denominator of the test.

But getting back to the issue of outsourcing jobs, I think an unemployed software designer quoted in the article put the whole issue in perspective.

"About the only job these profit-hungry, blood-sucking corporations aren’t going to be able to outsource is the kind that requires you to physically be there in order to serve up those burgers and fries to customers."

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1 Comment

  1. David

    Maybe the reason there are less math and science students in the USA is because the jobs are going overseas, so it is not worthwhile to study those subjects anymore. A large portion of the jobs sent overseas do not require strong math or science. There are thousands of unemployed highly skilled programmers in the USA who have lost their jobs because companies can hire overseas for less, not due to skill sets. Your story sounds like big business propaganda attempting to justify the rape of American jobs.

    I challenge you to research and print a breakdown of all of the outsourced jobs and the actual skills needed to do them. I suspect that the manufacturing, clerical, programming, call center, etc, jobs that have been sent overseas do not require any great degree of mathematical ability.

    The USA has recently discovered water on Mars, made new medical breakthroughs, and continues to lead the world in technology. How can this be without Americans highly educated in science?

    Your job could be better done by a Third World employee for a far less salary. I think you should go back to school and study math and science because America needs you.

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