10.17.2005

Restoring our competitive edge

Thomas Friedman and Richard Florida have made the United States' eroding place in the world of science and technology a topic of conversation; now, the National Academies, at the behest of Congress, have weighed in on the issue. The report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future," was issued last week and was written by a 20-member committee that included university presidents, Nobel Prize winners, corporate CEOs and others.

In it, four recommendations for how to restore the country's place at the forefront of science and technology are put forth. They are:

--Increase America's talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education.
--Sustain and strengthen the nation's commitment to long-term basic research
--Develop, recruit and retain top students, scientists and engineers from both the United States and abroad.
--Ensure that the United States is the premiere place in the world for innovation.

All of these were once givens, now they are things that will take some work to restore. The report outlines specific steps that should be taken to get started. This should be required reading for education, business, science and governmental leaders.

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