From Gov. Jeb Bush-worth a read

I could not get a good link to this OpEd piece penned by Microsoft’s Brad Smith, but Gov. Bush’s summary provides important access to the main ideas.  See below:
Dear Friends,

I read this Wall Street Journal article recently and had to share. It’s a powerful opinion piece by Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel of Microsoft, on our nation’s need to equip graduates with skills for today’s marketplace. He highlights the number of job openings in the U.S. and the lack of qualified individuals to fill them.

Excerpt from Brad Smith’s piece:

If we don’t increase the number of Americans with necessary skills, jobs will increasingly migrate abroad, creating even bigger challenges for our long-term competitiveness and economic growth. This is a personal crisis for young people facing an increasing opportunity divide.”

America has more than 30,000 public high schools and 12,000 private ones, yet last year only 2,100 of these schools offered the advanced placement course in computer science. Four decades after Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were teenagers, we still live in a country where you have to be one of the fortunate few to take computer science in high school.” Read more…

Among the suggestions in “How to Reduce America’s Talent Deficit,” Mr. Smith advises states to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in grade school by recruiting and training teachers, and implementing Common Core State Standards, the state-led initiative that will raise the bar for what K-12 students are expected to learn in math and English language arts.

Some states are leading the way in transforming education and reducing America’s talent deficit. Part of those state-led efforts includes creating a rigorous accountability and assessment system to measure whether students have mastered critical skills or need additional assistance, implementing higher academic standards and preparing teachers to teach these standards. With added technology, school leaders and teachers can help each child learn at his or her own pace, and increased standards in high school STEM subjects better prepare students for today’s jobs. Since 2008, Florida has required high school report cards to include student participation and performance in advanced placement (AP), international baccalaureate (IB), industry certification and dual enrollment to ensure high schools are focused on getting kids ready for college or careers. Through Florida’s College Board partnership, Sunshine State schools also identify students who could benefit from more rigorous coursework, such as AP and IB, but would not traditionally take them. Those schools that improve participation and performance in these rigorous courses are rewarded.

We must all work to prepare students for 21st Century opportunities after high school, and I am glad to see business leaders like Mr. Smith speaking out.


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