"If teaching remains a second-rate profession, America's economy will be driven by second-rate skills," Gerstner says. "We can wake up today — or we can have a rude awakening sooner than we think."
Sorry, Lou, you missed the root cause!
It's the government involvement in the education of our people.
Government "public schools" have dumbed down the population to such a point that "graduates" know a fraction of what they did in 1890s. Take a high school graduation exam from the turn of the century, and see for yourself. Between the politicians, the teacher's unions, and their "suppliers", we have created a nightmare. The early advocates of "free government public schools" were avowed socialists with visions of creating soldiers for the armies and workers for the factories. All of whom could be manipulated by the "elites". They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We now have a dismal one-size-fits-all education system which condemns everyone, especially minorities included, to low expectations and political correctness, to the serfdom of an unenlightened life. And, in doing this, we have created an entitlement system for government retirees that is unmatched anywhere else.
Want to fix it? It's easy. Change the paradigm! (Sorry consultant speak for the mental model you're using to understand the problem.) Motivate the individual to solve their own problems and stand back!
We need separation of School and State.
Repeal mandatory attendence laws. Transition from a "public" system to a truly free market education system. Empower parents to choose the education that is best for thier children. Allow them to pay for those choices.
Compare Montessori and Headstart. Compare anytime the government produces a free good and you have a tragedy of epic proportions. Compare a gumamint skool and a prison, they look remarkable alike. Think the Post Office is teaching.
Want to know why education is abysmal, want to know why only why the bright people don't go into education, want to know why we are dropping in the ranks of the world's educational elite? Yup, your gumamint at work!