Dear Reader,

I was a student at the University of Rhode Island studying Linear Algebra.   I like math.   I had done a lot of work and had a good moment in class making jokes with the teacher.  I told my best friend who then insulted me with: “poindexter”.   My grades fell.

This year, President Obama pointed out that “Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school…Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.”[2]

I grew up in the kind of home President Obama described.   I remember when I came home with math homework and I needed a protractor and my father went out and bought one.   I remember when my brother was failing typing and my father rented a typewriter so he could practice.  I found out that most homes aren’t like this.

In a recent article in the technology section of the Huffingtom Post, David Anderegg did a pictorial history of what we are up against.[1] In the final analysis, the agreed with the President but wondered if we could make it.  I do too.

Why is it that athletes who win are paraded around and hailed as heroes and those who fail are taught to learn from it while great academicians who get As are treated as arrogant for proudly displaying As they worked for while others are taught not to feel bad about themselves?

With the amount of technology in the world and our dependence on it, we may find ourselves dependent on those “poindexters”.

Notes:

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-anderegg/nerds-save-america_b_841217.html?ir=Technology#s258560&title=Americas_First_Nerd

2. http://www.mybanktracker.com/bank-news/2011/01/26/state-union-2011-video-summary-transcript/5/

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