Back from Research Triangle

In spite of challenging weather, I had a most interesting visit to Burroughs Wellcome Fund yesterday. I learned about some very interesting STEM education approaches and a very similar interest in success stories in Finland and Singapore.

It’s clear to me that the education puzzle is central to future US economic prosperity.  My sense is that there is even national consensus on this. The devil is in the details in this case and learning what has worked for other countries is an excellent first step towards reform here.

In Finland, for example, the requirement for all K-12 teachers to earn a masters degree with a mix of pedagogy and research is admirable. But that’s for a population of 5.4 million. That simply may not be possible here in the US with a population of 300+ million. But the underlying idea of attracting the very best and the brightest to education does make sense.

So good first steps. It will be interesting to see what evolves here in the US.

Educated is being multilingual….

From today’s on-line version of the Straits Times here. Money quote:

The number of Singaporeans proficient in two or more languages jumped from 56 per cent ten years ago to 71 per cent in 2010.
The use of English at home is also more prevalent, especially among the younger age groups. Among residents aged five to 14 years old, English was the home language for 52 per cent of Chinese and 50 per cent of Indians. Twenty-six per cent of Malays in the same age group now speak English at home, a spike from 9.4 per cent in 2000.