In a departure from what I usually talk about I thought I would spend some time and discuss one of the problems I see as neglected to a large extent by many of us. I would like to thank TechDirt for bringing up this subject in another of their very well written articles located here.
As a parent and someone who loves technology as well as our country, I am appalled at the apparent callous disregard for the failure of our country to continue to lead the way in connectivity – let alone fall to almost dead last in terms of education, affordable health care and overall quality of life. This is far more than a political issue or the mention of how one political party is better than the other – this decline has been happening steadily regardless of which party held office.
Speaking directly to the educations issue, I have heard all of the excuses, it’s the educator’s fault, it’s the parent’s fault, the children nowadays are different from kids when we were growing up (Man, that one never gets old. I think I remember reading about how the ancient Romans complained about that one!) and that it is the government’s fault for not throwing enough money at the problem.
We now have a similar situation with broadband as the excuses are coming out fast and furious. There is the ever-popular, “We’re too big of a country and all of those other countries are smaller.” argument, the “It would cost too much.” comeback and my all time favorite, “We have just a Good Enough network for our needs.”
When did our country change from a nation of “We make the best of everything!” to “We make the best excuses!” Did I miss another damn memo?
Here’s a little random reality check – this is an issue that society has created and only society is going to fix. In keeping with that above statement, here’s a clue, looking for someone to blame is largely a waste of time and effort. We can look in the mirror and see exactly who is to blame. Perhaps that isn’t fair to some people but I feel as though I can state with some certainty they are few and far between. Applying the old 85/15 rule that states that 85% of the work is done by 15% of the people and we can clearly see that the largest part of our nation is doing squat to fix this problem.
What do we need to do?
Techdirt has a few suggestions that I would like to pass on. How about if we start treating kids that work toward improving themselves through education with a higher level of respect than kids that throw a football? The was a spelling bee in Canada recently where the winner was given a $10K scholarship. No kidding! Damn, if the kid had been a hockey star she would have gotten a full scholarship to the university of her choice.
When we as a nation wake up and realize that encouraging out children to educate themselves is as important – no MORE IMPORTANT – than shooting hoops or sinking baskets we will then start the long and hard road to recovery.
Who do we hold up to our children as role models? How many kids can name the scientist who developed the test for HIV as opposed to which sports star hit the most home runs? How many of those same kids can understand the importance of mastering technology as opposed to faking their way to pop stardom as the next Brittany Spears?
When do we reallocate our priorities so that the kid that gets picked on for being a computer nerd now takes on the status of a NASCAR driver? When will it be cool to be interested in science as opposed to being able to rap?
The funny thing is, this is what I thought a leader was supposed to do. I guess I was raised in a different time. I remember John Kennedy inspiring an entire generation to bettering themselves. I don’t think I have seen anything like that since. That is a shame and I actually get sick to my stomach when I think of the example our leaders have set since that time.
They say an addict must sink into the depths of desperation before they can turn themselves around. I wonder if the same holds true for a nation.