Tony Blair was in Silicon Valley the other day and during a break from the heat he sat down for an hour with some of the brightest men and women in the valley. The objective of the visit was to determine how he can foster and enable innovation in IT within Britain. In short, what contributed to the creation and success of Silicon Valley....the ultimate cluster of knowledge power. Jonathon Schwartz, one of the newest members of the elite crowd wrote about this conversation in his blog. You can read the whole text at the link but you can take away two things from the conversation is that education is the key to Silicon Valley's success and two there is a very concrete risk that the current education system may not be as good as it was 20 years ago.
Education has been the key to success in the Silicon Valley. Where can you find in such close proximity the wonderful education institutions that we are lucky to have. Stanford and University of California Berkeley are just two. There is the University of Santa Clara, University of San Francisco, University of California of San Francisco, Califorinia State University San Jose, St. Mary's, University of Santa Cruz, etc.
Some people know this fact that the first two letters in Sun Microsystems was created from the roots of the company---Stanford University.
Having said all that one of the other things that was noted in the discussion was that most of the members of the meeting with Tony Blair were products of public education. However, Steve Jobs astutely asked the next question which was "how many of the people in the room were sending their kids to public institutions?". And, not too many raised their hands. The key to our past success may not contribute to our future success. The critical needs of our knowledge economy requires us to take this problem seriously. We need to support higher standards, find solutions to elevate the learning of our large influx in immigrant populations, and reward teachers for educational excellence.
It is imperative for our future.....for Knowledge is Power.