The Skills Gap Widens
“When things go wrong, you'll find they usually go on getting worse for some time.”
—C. S. LEWIS, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA1
The warnings from 1964 to 1999 about the American education system's failures in math and science were the proverbial calm before the storm. As a new century was ushered in, the frequency and seriousness of the reports increased significantly, reaching new levels as the performance of American students in domestic and international science and math tests continued their significant decline. The result was that the U.S. science and math skills gap was about to widen precipitously.
2000: Ensuring a Strong U.S. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century
If current trends persist, our nation may not have all the talent it will need to enable the innovation process that has given America a strong economy and high quality of life. There is already evidence that worker shortages are limiting economic growth, and industry has repeatedly called for increases in visa quotas that allow technically skilled non-immigrants to work in the United States.
—NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL, ENSURING A STRONG U.S. SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, AND ENGINEERING WORKFORCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY2
The National Science and Technology Council, a cabinet-level commission, was tasked with reporting recommendations to President Clinton on creating a competent U.S. workforce well-grounded in technology skills.
Coming Up Short