IT Skills Gap Series

IT Skills Gap Is Really an Education Gap

In Part 2 of CIO.com's three-part series on the technology skills gap in America, Gary Beach suggests that the issue is really an education gap. When it comes to math and science education, is the United States a nation at risk?

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In 1962, as President Kennedy was encouraging Americans to look to the end of the decade and land a person on the moon, an obscure Japanese physicist by the name of Mitsutomo Yuasa was looking back 450 years. In an essay in a Japanese scientific journal, he concluded since 1540 the world's center of scientific activity has shifted west from one country to another every 80-110 years.

Yuasa placed the mantel of worldwide scientific leadership on the East Coast of America in 1920. Do the math. If Yuasa's theory, often referred to as Yuasa's Phenomenon, is in play again, it claims between now and 2030 another country, a country to America's west, will take over as world scientific leader.

Some say the next center of world scientific activity by 2030, if Yuasa's Theory is to be believed, will be the People's Republic of China. I am not thoroughly convinced it will be. But what I am sure of is this: If America wants to prolong its position as world's scientific leader it must continue to excel at innovation and invention. Two areas that put a premium on a country's ability to produce a world-class education system.

In 1990, the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, released a report with a provocative title that read "America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages?"

Sadly, in my opinion, America has not yet made that choice.

Our nation's education gap continues to widen.

The temperature of the sea of mediocrity that America seems to content to swim in is fast approaching 212 degrees. Our nation remains at risk.

Gary Beach is Publisher Emeritus for CIO.com and CIO Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @GBeachCIO.Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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