-"The overall picture is that the United States is not turning out, from any group, as many of the great engineers as there will be jobs for," he told an energetic audience gathered at the company's Redmond headquarters for a weekend conference of the National Society of Black Engineers."
-Fewer people remain interested in technological work as they progress through school, and there's a particular drop-off among women and minorities, groups that are already underrepresented in computer science, Gates said.
"We have to think, what is it, in high school, in college, that really knocks things off track," he said.
Later, drawing on his work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with U.S. high schools, Gates said solutions include smaller classes; curricula focused on specific themes and immersion of students in them; and new ways of measuring teachers and holding them accountable.I thought it was cool that the group he was speaking before - the National Society of Black Engineers recited their goal:
"The group is working toward its mission, which the crowd recited in unison shortly before Gates took the stage, to "increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."Mr. Gates was also honest about his life. "Gates said that along with passion, focus and hard work, one needs good fortune." He talked about his relationships with Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer.
I thought a couple of things were interesting in what he said about high schools. I'm not sure I agree that specialization in high school is the best idea. However, I think it would be better to have a lot more kids exposed to what jobs there are AND bringing in professionals to talk about them (and not just on Career day if your high school even has one). I think the whole educational commuity needs to be held accountable and not just teachers.
It was ironic he spoke of class size because we all know that despite I-728 none of us has seen class sizes go down. There are lots of reasons but none of them particularly good. (At my son's school, some of it is overenrollment, what's the reason at your school?) Also, Sally Soriano, in her last remarks did not take the time to talk about herself but, to the end, talked about education. One of the things she mentioned was the need to have a commitment, in every school, to 15-student class size in k-3 to get those kids started off right.
It's like the weather; everyone talks about smaller class size and no one does anything about it.