A bright future for higher education -- somewhere else

  • Article by: JOHN O'BRIEN
  • Updated: January 14, 2013 - 10:21 AM

I just got back from Saudi Arabia, where I saw what real investment looks like.

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pumiceJan. 12, 1312:30 PM

From the commentary: "We used to take pride in being No. 1 worldwide in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with postsecondary credentials; we are now ranked 16th." The expression "Penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind. At a time that demands innovation, at a time when jobs which pay well cannot be had without postsecondary licensure or degree, postsecondary education in the USA has fallen victim to anti-intellectualism.

pumiceJan. 12, 13 5:07 PM

Speaking of anti-intellectualism (TAKE TWO).... It will be interesting to see if an educated Saudi populace will deal with its rigidly fundamentalist religion and, in particular, with Islamic Sharia in the same way our Christian fundamentalists deal with science, research, sex-and-gender issues, and education.

ciamanJan. 12, 13 7:58 PM

The gist of this story is that we need to spend more and more billions or trillions to bring us up to speed. Sorry, but we have spent all of our money and many of our current students are not doing well. I remember a different time in Minnesota. The students of Minnesota were amongst the best in the world. I hate to say it, but look at our past and you will find that most of our students were caucasian people and we were right on top of everything. I am not against anyone but when the young people now are comprised of many blacks with no father or effective mother and Latinos with little english and many Hispanics flooding in here, you are not going to get the same sort of well educated people that we use to have. That is a fact whether you or I like it or not. Put all of those things together, and we have deficient students and lack of money and bright teachers will give you what you know will come. Yes, we are no longer the great America that we were from 1945 to about 1990 or so. Our kids can hardly read nor write well. A tornado is striking not just Minnesota but all of America. The future is bleak indeed. The truth should never be censored. Thank you.

luzhishenJan. 12, 13 9:37 PM

The author didn't mention the Saudi investment in football teams, basketball teams, etc., etc..

hermajestyJan. 12, 13 9:57 PM

claiman: It may be hard to understand, but back in the days when immigrants who didn't speak English at home were likely to be named "Olson" or "Schmidt" or "Cohen," Minneapolis schools had a good reputation. And there were plenty of single parents families due to early death from causes that are now curable by modern medicine: infectious disease, hemorrhaging during childbirth, injuries, certain cancers. There were also plenty of jobs for anyone who wanted one. I once spoke to a woman who wanted to know why all those refugees needed 3 months of welfare, when her grandfather had gotten a job the day after arriving in Minneapolis from Sweden. I asked her what job he had found, and she said, "Tending horses in a livery stable."

bigbadbeanJan. 13, 13 7:03 AM

Students in Saudi Arabia also go to school to receive an education to become productive members of society. You will never see a Saudi student considering starting an Occupy Wall Street movement to demand tax payers pay for them through adulthood. Saudi students study STEM courses. You will not find fluff courses and majors in Saudi schools. Our educational system in the USA is a joke.

windigolakeJan. 13, 13 9:55 AM

bigbadbean: "You will never see a Saudi student considering starting an Occupy Wall Street movement to demand tax payers pay for them through adulthood." And that never happened here. Guess you didn't follow the Occupy movements too well.

elind56Jan. 13, 1311:44 AM

Throughout history, the greatest creator of prosperity has always been free people and free markets. Education is important, but secondary to the former. When government allows the freedom to prosper, quality education becomes more affordable for society as a whole, thereby enhancing the prosperity. A highly educated society that is not free will not be as prosperous as a free society that is not highly educated.

regionguyJan. 13, 13 5:28 PM

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, has enormous oil wealth (about 2/3 of government revenue comes from oil), and has about 10 million legal/illegal expatriates/immigrants to go with its 15 million citizens. How about comparing us to a country more like ours? As far as STEM goes, do a search on Minnesota results from the 2011 TIMSS study. The state entered as its own country, and we did well in math and science compared not only to the US as a whole, but also to the vast majority of other countries.

mydh12Jan. 13, 13 5:31 PM

An educational bureaucrat writes an article arguing for an increase of funding for even more educational bureaucrats. Yeah, that's no surprise. I am an old Caucasian male and I tutor lower-middle income kids who come to the USA, usually during their junior high school years. They almost always end up in the top 1-2% of their high school graduating classes and then go on to Ivy League and other top universities, usually in STEM courses. How do they do it? They have both parents living together, in a disciplined home, emphasizing the need to excel in school. Who are they? Asians. They do this, despite often going to poor schools. More money is not the answer. Good families, with good ambitious values is the answer.


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