Another call to arms on education

The business community in New Hampshire has long understood how important our education system is to their own well-being. Now it looks like a nationally organized alliance of businesses is realizing it as well.

A coalition of 15 business organizations that includes Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers unveiled a report, “Tapping America’s Potential,” and launched a campaign to urge the nation and states to improve the quality of math and science education in the United States.

The campaign stems from a sense of urgency felt among the businesses in the alliance – and which cover the entire spectrum of the U.S. economy. They argue that, although the nation remains a dominant global force in innovation, there is very visible trouble on the horizon, including lower academic scores and flagging interest in science careers.

Anyone who has been paying event the slightest attention to America’s role in the world economy understands that it is the nation’s ability to breed innovation – and innovators – that gives us our economic strength.

The coalition’s aim is to push for a set of goals aimed at improving public schools. Among the recommendations: more support for teachers and incentives for students to become scientists and engineers. The alliance also wants to double the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering and math by 2015, from the current 200,000 a year to 400,000.

The only concern from this vantage point is that such impressive and worthy goals can so easily fall off the radar screen of lawmakers and officials. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this time because, as John J. Castellani, president of Business Roundtable, says, the situation is a “critical one” that “threatens to undermine our standard of living at home and our leadership in the world.”

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