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State of US Science Report Shows Disturbing Trends

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the from-a-head-start-to-no-child-left-behind-in-the-blink-of-an-eye dept.

United States 574

coondoggie writes to mention that the National Science Board is concerned about certain indicators in the science and engineering fields for the United States. "For example, US schools continue to lag behind internationally in science and math education. On the other hand, the US is the largest, single, R&D-performing nation in the world pumping some $340 billion into future-related technologies. The US also leads the world in patent development."

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574 comments

Sooo... (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095722)

...we spending the most money, on the dumbest researchers?

Patenting? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095792)

"Patenting the obvious, since 1994" :-)

Re:Sooo... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095826)

Nope. We're spending the most money on smart researchers hired (and sometimes better educated) from outside of the United States. It's just not economical to grow smart talent at home.

Re:Sooo... (3, Insightful)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095954)

This is bullshit. If foreigners are so smart, why do they have to come to the US for jobs?
Why are people surprised noone wants to go into engineering in the US: stagnant wages, offshoring, age discrimination, long hours. It's a shitty way to waste $100k on an education.

Re:Sooo... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096028)

because you are *throwing* money at them, compared to where they are from?

Re:Sooo... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096164)

They come because there's a market here, and one that isn't being filled domestically. This is pretty simple economics.

Re:Sooo... (2, Insightful)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096280)

That's kind of my point. The market here is being filled domestically because it's a crappy career choice. When people were being paid well and treated well in the late 90's people were flocking to engineering. Now there are less and less engineering majors because people know they are much better off with a medical degree, law degree, or going into finance.

Re:Sooo... It's called... (4, Informative)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096356)

Study the competition (or, in more base terms, know your enemy...).

Hell, the US is GOOD at out-sourcing, even outsourcing education. Sure, foreign students from abroad attend some of the ivy league (lower-casing intentional) schools here, but many attend in Europe, too. Some even attend here, then SPEND their time in Europe after having had enough of the US, but are still in school and have too many friends here.

Plus, there are cultural reasons (corruption, leadership by cronies and elders who might not see the logic in empowering their local populations), or other reasons in regions where there's just not enough money and will to outright build new, world-class, competitive, lasting and door-knocking throngs of students. So, they ship them out or allow them to be recruited by US colleges needing cash infusion.

Do you KNOW how many Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian students HERE in the US come from families that put them up in $1,000/month apartments, send them to renowned as well as dubious schools or "academies" that cost $80,000 to $200,000 for maybe 3 or 4 years? LOTS. It's a churning industry, and they keep getting fuller and fuller. Recruiting or otherwise attracting well-off kids whose parents want the brightest futures for their kids. Not saying ALL Asian families are that way, though.

Re:Sooo... (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096358)

If foreigners are so smart, why do they have to come to the US for jobs?
They come here precisely because they are smart. As bad as the US government is in terms of taxation and economic policy it is still easier for a smart individual to get ahead in the United States than it is in many other parts of the world. Thus, in light of the higher pay, lower taxes, better recognition for intellectual accomplishments (i.e. bonus, raises, and promotions) it is easy to see why many smart people, particularly in medical research for example, choose to work in the United States, if possible, rather than remain in their native country where they will take a bath in taxes and generally receive less financial reward for their work. Does this answer your question?

Why are people surprised noone wants to go into engineering in the US: stagnant wages, offshoring, age discrimination, long hours.
Perhaps, but even so it is still better than many of the alternatives. I often hear the lament, particularly from new college graduates, that offshoring is killing their job opportunities or that their wages are stagnant and any number of other gripes with the possible exception of age discrimination. Personally, I think that these perceptions have more to do with the so called "praise generation" which was raised by their parents with statements like "you're special", "award for participation", and "it's not important what other people think, but only how you feel about yourself". Is it any wonder that we have raised a generation of young adults who have a highly inflated opinion of themselves with insatiable egos who think that the world is their oyster and should dance to their tune? Many of these praise generation youths are getting their first taste of the real world now and they are shocked with the realities of not making 100k right out of college, not having the luxury car and the fancy house, and generally not being the all important center of attention. All I can say is, "welcome to the first day of the rest of your life".

Re:Sooo... (5, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095856)

...we spending the most money, on the dumbest researchers?


Hardly, as many of the world's brightest researchers end up in the US.

A more interesting question is how much all that patent business is increasing the costs of R&D in the US and the West in general. Because one of the unlucky consequences of patents is that once a wheel is patented, it has to be reinvented 20 times, carefully treading around the patent each time.

Re:Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22095864)

...we spending the most money, on the dumbest researchers?

Not at all. We just outsource it.

Re:Sooo... (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095902)

Well, at least the US has the worlds most expensive research. Which may, perhaps, be due to the costs of having such a high number of patents.

Nothing drives costs like lawyers.

Lawyers and monopolies (1)

pesho (843750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096564)

You can add monopolies to that. There has been a lot of "consolidation" among the R&D suppliers. The competition in some fields is virtually nonexistent. The worst part is that the attitude of the suppliers is changing accordingly. A friend of mine recently complained about defective product and asked for replacement. What he got was a "shut the f*ck up or we will sue you" letter from their legal department.

Here is how the pricing usually works: "It costs $1 to make this molded plastic thing. We will price it $108, and if you bother to ask for a discount we will sell it to you for $55. You don't like the price, well go somewhere else? Oh wait, There is no other place we bought them all."

Most researchers pay up, because they have to do their experiments or they will not get more grant money. Besides, the grant money are coming mostly from taxes and nonprofits, so nobody really cares how they are spent. As a result we do lower quality research that costs more. The only way to cut down costs in the public domain is to import junior scientists from abroad (I am one of those imports, and I don't mind;)) and to use as many grad and undergrad students as you can.

Re:Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22095992)

The US also leads the world in patent development
LOL, do we even need to point out the flaw?

Re:Sooo... (1)

AZScotsman (962881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096560)

You mean, like "Clicking text takes you to another page." or "Methods and apparatus for selecting a server to process a request" (the last one is real - US patent #7,320,131)

The engineering job meme hurts (3, Interesting)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095728)

When did we all conspire to repeat the meme that the engineering job market sucks? It goes beyond the usual issue--outsourcing(linked almost every time to India). There's the annoyance with people who haven't been putting together and programming computers since age 5. There's the frightening realization in the programming world that anyone can learn it anywhere. You don't grow your industry by discouraging newcomers. People who work with computers will expand the market. As we get more people into atheism and computing, the demand for those same people grows. Check out monster.com's tech board. Pessimists abounds there.

Re:The engineering job meme hurts (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095766)

The mechanical/aerospace engineering markets seems damn fine to me at the moment!

Good, now mentor (1)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095852)

Talk to teenagers you know. I once did a presentation for a class about programming that was sponsored by my employer, Intel. Spread the word. Pessimists will be doing the same thing--you have to counteract them.

you mean 'real' engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096478)

as opposed to "systems" or "software" "engineers" that most of the pissers and moaners are around here.

Patenting Processes (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095754)

if I buy a copy of cold fusion and use it to set up a web based admin, production, scheduling system. Can someone come along and say the process we created is patented and that I can't use it?

Re:Patenting Processes (1)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096226)

And thus you realize the problem with the current patent system as it is implemented today.

Patents on SOFTWARE are like patenting 1 + 1 = 2.

Re:Patenting Processes (3, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096662)

I have a patent on 1+1= 2, please use the other method of 1+1 = 10, thank you.

Patent Devlopment? (5, Insightful)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095762)

Are we saying that Patent Trolling is the same thing as Developing?

Re:Patent Devlopment? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095908)

Exactly, just because the same shit aren't accepted in other countries doesn't make the US the most developing and innovating nation. Thought you probably are anyway.

To bad with the schools thought, I got the impression somewhere that us schools didn't learned as much "basics" but more advanced stuff because it seemed more beneficial or something? But I guess math and science should be among those more advanced things so it doesn't make that much sense. I can agree that history and religion and such crap are rather useless ;D

Re:Patent Devlopment? (2, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096120)

That is an indication that the USA leads the world in the number of lawyers in employment, doesn't say much about the number of scientists.

free market needs competition (5, Insightful)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095780)

This is a natural cycle of markets. (or greed, or laziness or whatever...) now the US is resting on their laurels, reaping the benefits of engineers past and eventually will pay dearly economically for this culture's unwillingness to churn out better engineers.... and 70 years from now you'll probably see another surge of ingenuity and wonder in western-hemisphere technology.

Re:free market needs competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096396)

I won't have to worry about it in 70 years.

Re:free market needs competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096766)

Yes, history shows that these things are cyclical. You can give in to religious fanatics and let the fear of God rule over science, because it only takes one or two generations to fix anything. Worked great for the Muslims.

scientific elites (1, Informative)

flynt (248848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095796)

This article http://www.phds.org/reading/elites.html [phds.org] always seemed good to me. It's been 15 years since it has been written now.

In other news... (5, Funny)

Philotechnia (1131943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095800)

...a creationist museum in Texas is closing

Mod US science +1!

Re:In other news... (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096072)

Unfortunately, the bottom of the summary points out the larger creationist museum in Kentucky is thriving.

Mod US science -2

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096534)

Wrong article idiot.

Re:In other news... (1)

Philotechnia (1131943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096606)

Um, I think the point is that two articles/topics are related?

Re:In other news... (1)

Philotechnia (1131943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096376)

Ah, the irony of being flagged a troll for celebrating a triumph of science, albeit in a humorous way, in a thread mourning the decline of US science.

I'm not trying to be a troll here, but if the original post makes me a troll, pour it on. I'm off to go shed a small tear now, seriously.

Lead the World in Patent development?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22095824)

I would think the US would want to keep quiet about what we are doing in the field of patents...

Without reading TFA (1)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095840)

What use of a phone call, if you can't talk ? As in, what use of patents, if particular Software ones, if its the only one using them?

Hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095890)

It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy that business leaders (Gates and company) complain about a lack of scientifically/technologically trained Americans, and thus we need to increase H1-B visas. These same leaders then turn around and support republican candidates who don't believe in evolution and want to water down the science curriculum by introducing Intelligent Design.

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Informative)

mustpax (983305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096194)

For some reason I don't think corporations support republicans out of love for Intelligent Design. Let's see, not having to worry about antitrust cases probably ranks high on that list. (The current DoJ sure is tough on Microsoft.)

Re:Hypocrisy (3, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096322)

It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy that business leaders (Gates and company) complain about a lack of scientifically/technologically trained Americans, and thus we need to increase H1-B visas. These same leaders then turn around and support republican candidates who don't believe in evolution and want to water down the science curriculum by introducing Intelligent Design.

True, but those very same republicans are big business friendly, and few systems that fail are able to detect or admit that failure themselves, it usually takes an outside observer to say something first, which they either deny and fail, or accept and change.

As for not believing in evolution, well thats a political stance designed to keep them in with the religious bods who provide a lot of funding. I seriously doubt an Atheist would get selected for high office. For a country where religion and state are seperate, there sure is a lot of religious posturing among your leaders.

I don't get it... (5, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095928)

Wait, you mean in a nation where whole chunks of the population teach their kids that the world was created by an invisible sky daddy in six days isn't leading the pack in science education? We'd better pray harder!

Re:I don't get it... (3, Insightful)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096144)

The greatest challenge in education is the disintegration of two-parent families and strong communities. This is particularly pronounced in minority communities. The very occasional teaching of ID in public classrooms is probably not even a factor. But I guess confronting real problems isn't as much fun as kicking religious people, is it?

Re:I don't get it... (3, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096344)

The very occasional teaching of ID in public classrooms is probably not even a factor.
But I guess confronting real problems isn't as much fun as kicking religious people, is it?
I doubt anyone would really argue that support from home is not a strong factor in a child's educational success. However, why not confront all the problems we can, including the mindset that comes along for the ride with ID?

Re:I don't get it... (5, Insightful)

HungSoLow (809760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096394)

I agree that the parent / community plays an integral role in intellectual development. That being said, if a community does not place great importance on truth and consistently uses baseless arguments to critique well-founded theories in science (evolution, big bang, etc..) then why would any child in this environment that develops into an adult want a career in science?

You're right, parents and strong communities are critical - but it's distortion of truth by said people that is the REAL problem.

Re:I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096482)

But I guess confronting real problems isn't as much fun as kicking religious people, is it?

Yup. Everyone loves a good stereotype.
 
Ever ask those who love to blame religion how it is that so many advances were made in the US during times when religion and religious influence were strong? It's fun to watch them backpedal and handwave - doubly so when you explain that the period (roughly mid 60's to mid 90's) when they weren't... are the exception, not the rule.

Re:I don't get it... (2, Insightful)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096532)

The religious have been used as a pawn for the party of big business. Maybe if they voted in their communities best interests, and left religion in thier chruch and private homes, we wouldn't need both parents working 6 days a week.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

upside (574799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096676)

I won't disagree, but consider that there are countries topping international comparisons that also have 40-50% divorce rates. I guess this has to do with more government support for single parents, meaning they don't have to work two jobs to maintain a decent standard of living.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096694)

The greatest challenge in education is the disintegration of two-parent families and strong communities.


[Citation needed]


This is particularly pronounced in minority communities. The very occasional teaching of ID in public classrooms is probably not even a factor. But I guess confronting real problems isn't as much fun as kicking religious people, is it?


You mean the way the religious people confront the real problems such as who gets to marry who, eroding the separation of Church and state, and trying enforce certain morality through law?

Re:I don't get it... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096266)

sky daddy... that's awesome. Who's your sky daddy!

Re:I don't get it... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096414)

Pray harder that unfunny trolls are banned from teh intarweb?

Re:I don't get it... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096466)

Oh come on, is Pastafarianism any better......actually it is, never mind.

Look at the bright side. . . (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22095942)

"For example, US schools continue to lag behind internationally in science and math education.

But just think of all the intelligent design research positions that American kids will fill. ;-)

No wonder.. (5, Insightful)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095958)

This is going to sound really cynical, but I feel inclined to say: No wonder current tech is not forward-thinking and is only innovating at a "comfortable" pace. You know, the kind of pace that enables companies to really milk as much as they can out of products without having to do very much R&D to improve the tech.

This is why we are still using countless seperate devices for our various everyday communication/information needs that can't communicate with each other, and why the concept of "integration" of the technological extensions of ourselves is largely overlooked. Oh, it's also why we pay $50+mo for, frankly, the most basic of cell phone and internet connectivity, for example. Companies that have the funds to do amazing R&D and amazing advances in the "human" aspects of technology aren't bothering, because they're rich as hell one way or another - they can crawl along at a comfortable pace with no problem (especially because "everyone else is doing it too").

Yeah, a bit of a tangent there, but I've been thinking about this stuff a lot lately. You know, we 100% have the means for technology to be so much more, but it's as though no one cares.

Re:No wonder.. (2, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096754)

You're always welcome to start your own company to provide the devices and services you crave. With blackjack and hookers if you want.

whoever has the money attracts the brains (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095978)

today, the usa is where you go when you want to turn your ideas into personal financial rewards. however, the usa can't rely upon this fact for long, as china will become the top dog soon in the $$$ department. and so the usa must indeed focus on nurturing it's own brainpower ...and watch them move to shanghai

Re:whoever has the money attracts the brains (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096308)

Actually look to europe first for the next big technology group. China is still only copying ideas.

The first big sign of the downfall of the USA is when OPEC switches Oil from Dollars to Euros to make more money.

Re:whoever has the money attracts the brains (1, Flamebait)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096520)

I'm not sure how true that's going to be. How much innovation is coming out of China? Surprisingly little considering its population size. I think having relaxed IP laws have stifled that even further...why would you want to move to China with your new cool technology, if a competitor can simply copy it.

Leading in patent development? (2, Insightful)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095980)

Is this truly a good thing. Are US patents even valid outside the US (ie international treaties that govern patents)? There seems to be a big difference between using R&D to come up with commercially-viable products and generating patents of ideas that may or may not be viable.

anti-intellectualism (5, Insightful)

nerdonamotorcycle (710980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095988)

This is what happens when a culture has a profound anti-intellectual streak, and when those who epitomize dogma and religious faith start winning out in the court of public opinion over those who believe in science and empiricism.

Consider:

  • creationism vs. evolution
  • abstinence-only sex education
  • the war on drugs, which emphasizes prohibition (based mostly on dogma) over harm reduction (based on empiricism--"what works")

Re:anti-intellectualism (5, Insightful)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096706)

This is what happens when a culture has a profound anti-intellectual streak, and when those who epitomize dogma and religious faith start winning out in the court of public opinion over those who believe in science and empiricism.
If anything the U.S. has gotten more and more secular as science and math education and achievement have declined. The religious have gotten more outspoken but really religion's influence over people's lives has gotten less and less. The current resurgence of religious sway probably has not helped, but the U.S. has been backsliding for a while now. I think that there are other cultural/socioeconomic factors at work here.

Re:anti-intellectualism (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096736)

Also consider....

It's uncool to be smart.
Black kids getting good grades are assaulted and told they are "acting white"
Schools cut science programs but fund additional athletic programs.
Society rewards and promotes the stupid jock and vilifies and puts down the smart geek.
Media further promotes the above stereotypes and problems.

THERE's the start of your problem. Kids are not smart because you are a dork for being smart. fix that and you fix almost everything else.

BTW: this problem started in the 60's.

"It's so hard!" (5, Insightful)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095990)

That's what I hear from my freshman-sophomore math majors nearly every day. Sorry to pass the buck, but I suspect that HS math is either dumbed down or grade inflation prevents the kids and their parents and their parents' lawyers from complaining too much. So, they get A's in a "hard" subject, get lots of kudos because this must indicate that they're smart, and so some decide (quite logically) to choose math as a major in college.

Then if you get a prof who expects excellent performance for an A, average for a C, and F if you never did work enough to catch on, and then their world turns absolutely upside-down.

Should students study harder? Absolutely. And _13 years_ of public education ought to provide adequate training in how to study. If not, we'll get more of these "disturbing" trends.

Re:"It's so hard!" (4, Interesting)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096260)

It is dumbed down. I highly recommend that everyone takes a hard look at the math curriculum in your areas schools. Too many now are using programs like TERC and Everyday Mathematics that stress self discovery, group work, calculator usage, and a spiraling learning path instead of mastering a topic and moving forward. They deemphasize standard algorithms, multiplication table memorization, and long division. Thank god there are states like Texas and California that have recently found these programs to be deficient, and are no longer using them in their schools.

Links to information and curriculum reviews:

http://www.wheresthemath.com/ [wheresthemath.com]
http://www.wheresthemath.com/blog/curriculum-reviews/ [wheresthemath.com]
http://www.nychold.com/ [nychold.com]
http://www.weaponsofmathdestruction.com/ [weaponsofm...uction.com]
http://128.208.34.90/ramgen/archive/weekday/conv20070313.rm [128.208.34.90]

Recently??? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096612)

Texas found this to be the case 20 years ago. I attended the Plano Independent School District, and mastered algebra in the 4th grade (with the exception of matrix multiplication, which to this day I still do not remember.)

Re:Recently??? (1)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096762)

Recently though, Texas had been using Everyday Mathematics. They just pulled funding for it though and it will no longer be used there.

http://www.nysun.com/article/66711?page_no=1 [nysun.com]

Re:"It's so hard!" (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096318)

The problem in the US is that we stopped teaching how to study/learn, and only teach how to memorize for some SAT and then forget...or rather, that's the emphasis. You can still learn, but you have to want to learn... and since peer pressure in HS says that knowing things is "dumb"(!), you can guess the outcome. Yay!

Re:"It's so hard!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096580)

i was recently released from the public school systems and there was no "grade inflation" nor did any of my peers ever have to involve legal aid. It may be that i live in a minority dominated area of the country; But our Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate programs were flawless. It has nothing to do with our school system, it has something to do with my generations lack of priorities. The people you do see this having a problem with usually end up being kids that have the idea that their parents' can financially support them. With the average per capita income being less than 19,000 in a southern California city, let's see how many of my peers would you see complaining about difficulty in subjects. I never saw one.

Re:"It's so hard!" (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096770)

That's what I hear from my freshman-sophomore math majors nearly every day.

[old man voice]Back in MAH day, we knuckled down! We didn't take anything for granted, we worked our asses off!

Eh. I think every generation laments the work ethic of the next generation, and don't remember that their generation was just as whiny.

Pretty obvious really (1)

Ev!LOnE (1207842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22095998)

And this did not need a study or a research to prove it. The schools have fat kids always trying to woo girls into getting laid; how do we expect them to do research? Maths? Come on! Most of the research industry is comprised of hardworking Indians and Chinese who probably get paid a bit less but are the sole reason for so many breakthroughs and patents Americans like to call their own! Most americans are not aware of their contributions, but well, face it.

Re:Pretty obvious really (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096108)

"The schools have fat kids always trying to woo girls into getting laid"

Hey man, I think I speak for everyone here when I say, our appearance isn't necessarily what repels people - we're just weird regardless. ;)

Re:Pretty obvious really (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096128)

Well, if these Indians and Chinese are US citizens, then they *are* American breakthroughs and patents.

The US is not immune... (3, Informative)

Badgam (1219056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096012)

At least it looks like there is some progress being made in revitalizing government support for basic research, although we will still have to wait to see if the damages done to scientific research in key fields can be repaired by the next Administration. Hopefully, people are starting to realize that the US doesn't exist in a magical opportunity bubble and unless we remain competitive at all levels of innovation, from basic research to patenting to bringing those developments to market, we are not going to hold on to our competitive edge. America is not immune to the global economy..it's that simple: the United States, like every other economically developed nation has to preserve its comparative advantage by ensuring that it retains a technological lead over its competitors. If we lose that lead, we slide in to economic stagnation and eventually outright decline. At the very least, maybe we'll get some leaders who actually listen to their experts.

The US also leads the world in patent development (1)

miketheanimal (914328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096060)

That probably explains a lot ....

No Job Security, High Cost of School, Outsourcing (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096066)

The compensation (interms of wages, costs of ongoing education, job security, and work hours) should fit the labor market. For the last 8 years they have been all out of wack and are not paying for itself in America.

Anyone who enters the Engeneering or CS Fields had better know what they are getting into. And I think the kids today do know, and that's why the best and brightest are not enrolling in those areas.

 

Maybe hatred is part of the problem (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096076)

I wonder if it helps that the vast majority of science proponents profess hatred for ordinary religious folks and their beliefs? Why should normal churchgoing folks want to support their detractors and would-be oppressors?

If science would go back to being about practical knowledge instead of partisan politics and anti-religious bigotry, maybe science could recover some of the good reputation it used to have.

Re:Maybe hatred is part of the problem (4, Insightful)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096740)

Science is not anti-religion. We don't waste our time trying to prove religion is false.

Religion is anti-science. The religous do pick fights with existing scientific explanations, but in a non-testable "god did it" kind of way.

I don't hate the religious, I pity the ignorant. I see ignorance and lack of education as a more serious threat to this country than any foreign terrorist organization.

Re:Maybe hatred is part of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096742)

i know its a troll but I'll bite. Science is not anti-religious. As a matter of fact both scientists and theologians are able to reconcile the two fields quite well. Einstein, one of the greatest minds ever known, believed in God (Hence the quote "God does not play dice"). Rather, it's a very twisted fork of religion that is anti-science. I frankly don't give a damn one way or another how you think the universe got started, it has null effect on my daily life. What I do mind is thinly veiled religious cosmology parading as an equivalent to controlled, tested, objective observations of the world around us. Keep your (and by extension, my own) religion out of the classroom, save it for Sunday school.

Possible paradox explaination (0, Troll)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096078)

"For example, US schools continue to lag behind internationally in science and math education. On the other hand, the US is the largest, single, R&D-performing nation in the world pumping some $340 billion into future-related technologies. The US also leads the world in patent development."

Perhaps our freedoms, which while not spectacular, vastly outclass the rest of the world, allow our best and brightest to vastly outperform the best and brightest of more nations? If this is the case, the last thing we would want is to further centralize education into a mighty fist of the State.

...and trillions into defense (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096282)

Is the R&D figure still bigger than other countries when it's expressed as a percentage?

How much of the "R&D budget" is spent developing new weapons?

Re:...and trillions into defense (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096350)

Not enough; I want a cricket phaser.

Re:Possible paradox explaination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096316)

"vastly outclass the rest of the world"? And this gets modded Insightful? Presumably by other Americans.

Re:Possible paradox explaination QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096646)

"vastly outclass the rest of the world"? And this gets modded Insightful? Presumably by other Americans.

And which country is, on balance, more free than the USA?

The real question is when Europe will stop having such an inferiority complex that it must baselessly bash the US at every opportunity.

Re:Possible paradox explaination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096474)

"Perhaps our freedoms...vastly outclass the rest of the world"
Haha great joke on the state of American egotism and frighteningly vanishing freedoms! You were kidding right?

Re:Possible paradox explaination (3, Insightful)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096674)

I'm sorry... Is this a troll? American freedoms "vastly outclass the rest of the world"? Centralized education is a mighty fist of the state? Have you been reading a bunch of captain america comics or something? Exactly how ass backwards do you think the rest of the world is? "Freedom" doesn't generate research, money does and America is a large portion of the world economy. That's about all there is to it. China is a rapidly growing competitor in research, are new "freedoms" there responsible for this? The USSR had a massive research infrastructure, was that due to freedom of any kind beyond the government having the idea that technological advancement is a good thing?

As for your second statement, centralization isn't the issue with education, the fact that a huge number of highschool students are coming out of american schools largely uneducated is. I should think the last thing we would want is to continue churning out increasingly economically uncompetitive students, whether that's done through centralized means or other (what do you even mean by "centralized"?) seems secondary.

The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22096140)

is that kids today are chasing legal or business degrees. We need more to be in science and/or liberal arts, the way it use to be. A real clue about this, is the current attitude towards NASA or even science. I am amazed that all through the world ppl realize that going to space is important. But here in America, ppl are trying to cut it. The fact that we have 30% of the ppl believing in creationism is a real bad sign. These are all bad signs for USA.

imho most analysis misses the point (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096150)

U.S. students don't underperform their international peers because the school system sucks (although, it does suck). They underperform for two reasons. One is demographics. The U.S. has a much larger lower class than do most other nations to which it is compared. Kids who grow up in poverty with terrible home situations will, surprise surprise, not shine when it comes to academic performance. The second reasons is cultural. If you look at kids not from this underclass, a disproportionate number lack the desire to acquire math/science skills, or, really, the desire to excel academically in any field. One possible contributor to this is that students in the U.S. needn't pass an exit exam in order to graduate high school and enter college. The other is general cultural malaise, but it's harder to define that in any exact sense. There is a "culture of achievement" present in some countries (Japan and Germany come to mind) that is simply lacking in the United States.

Re:imho most analysis misses the point (4, Insightful)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096388)

As an immigrant kid that went to high school here, I'll define that "culture malaise" for you. Academics just isn't given as high a recognition in American schools. The HS football game, the HS football team, the cheerleaders get paraded, and it's cool to be a jock. When's the last time you see the Math team, the Chess team, or the Academic Decathlon team get that sort of "hero's welcome"?

Comparisons with the rest of the world (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096172)

I think it is time to stop comparisons like "the US is the largest, single, R&D-performing nation in the world pumping some $340 billion into future-related technologies", because they give a distorted view of reality. The main reason the USA comes out on top so often with this kind of statistic is simply because it is sound a large populous county.

For example, the USA wins the most gold medals at the Olympics. But does that mean the USA is the best at sports? No. If we look at gold medals per capita, then Australia easily beats the USA. If we add countries together so we have equivalent populations, then we get another picture - Europe would often beat the USA if it entered as a single country, for instance.

If you looked at R&D per capita, or R&D as a % of GDP, or any other more reasonable metric that just comparing countries of different sizes, I expect you would get a very different picture than the summary suggests.

Two Big reasons (1)

Niartov (727073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096188)

There are reasons we fall behind in education.
    Every time someone's baby does bad on a test is going to get held back the school/state is sued so they make the test easier. Heaven forbid you stayed home one night and made you kid do their homework.

More $$$ (1)

Anarchy24 (964386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096192)

Yep, lets just throw some more money at it! That'll make our kids smarter! As the Federal government rains cash down on the states, they are slowly taking away what has always been a decision of the local people: what the kids get taught in school. This obviously has tremendous implications (I'll just mention the word 'Hitler' here), and is just one more example of the Feds taking control of our daily lives. No Child Left Behind (laff) has been a travesty to the educational system, and has set a dangerous precedent. Want to cure low graduation rates in high school? Give them something to look forward to after graduation: college. Free. The dumb ones can even just get a 2 year degree, but this would give younger students something to work towards, where college is just for rich white folks [I myself am a poor white, and only in college because of the government was generous enough to give me full scholarship]. There is no doubt that manufacturing jobs are fleeing overseas, and many low-skilled service-sector jobs went overseas years ago. By educating so many more people at this higher level, we would have higher employment and more innovation - the one thing that has kept America successful. We haven't had much of that in the past few years.

I wonder... (1)

DCTooTall (870500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096210)

Since we lead the world in R&D research, and Patents..... What would happen if I registered for a patent for "A Method of learning Maths and Sciences", followed shortly thereafter with "A Method for applying maths and sciences in R&D".

Think I could get some of that R&D Money thru licensing of my patents?

Of course, half the graduate students are foreign (3, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096232)

Half the graduate students in hard sciences in the US are foreign. They're the ones who shine. I don't mean second generation I mean foreign students on academic visas. If they stay in the US, yaay for us. If not? Oh well, the US is indigenously now a nation of retards.

Cut education funding (3, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096236)

My position has always been cutting funding to education. The problem is we have continually increased spending and gotten less in return. I recall a couple of years back when a high school senior in a tiny West Virginia town blew the national curve. I imagine his school district placed higher priority on learning and less on social engineering curriculums. Teachers need to make more, administrative services at school need to be cut. And these social education programs need to be shit canned. Spending can be cut, moneys prioritized (read, teachers!) and we can finally focus on what matters!

Has Something To Do With High Medical Costs Too! (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096244)

I think the declining quality of education in the United States has something to do with the cost of the medical system. Not enough doctors and too much demand from aging baby boomers and the like means that medical professionals are far better paid salary-wise than almost all other professions. In countries with better performing educational systems, health care is cheaper. Someone should do a regression on education performance vs health care expenditures per capita per year of life.

Meaningless aggregation (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096272)

I'll be devil's advocate here and suggest that the average scores don't mean much.

Does it matter that somebody with the median score in high school math isn't particularly good at it, if he's working as a salesman or a mechanic?

Now, I could argue in a liberal arts kind of way that it does matter, because with a better grasp of science these people will be better informed citizens. But from a vocational standpoint, you want to know that if there are N slots for graduates with science skills, the top N science students are very good indeed. And since every job that requires science skills requires strong math skills (but not necessarily vice versa), you want more students to be good at math, but not necessarily every student.

The trend is towards business giving up on American science, engineering, and know-how in general. So why spend four years after high school gaining skills that aren't wanted? Why spend the money to increase student performance when we can enjoy the use of that money today, and it won't make any difference to their lives except maybe in some kind of woolly headed liberal notion of citizenship? If we were really concerned about the future of our students, it'd be like beating the Soviets in the Cold War, no effort to improbable of success to try, no cost to outrageous to bear.

It doesn't pay to be better than the rest of the world but get paid more as well. You've got to be a better value. Therefore by in the name of business efficiency, Americans deserve to see their incomes drop until they're on a par with India and China. When the few Americans who, despite economizing on our schools, have attained some level of scientific or engineering skill look like an incredible bargain, the jobs will come back.

Flawed Study (1)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096296)

The study appears flawed from the outset. The United States do not employ a single unified educational system. Education is a state-by-state matter (with some federal money thrown in.) lumping together all the schools in every state for a single study is similar to lumping together all of the schools in Asia.

"Basic" Reasearch (3, Insightful)

omris (1211900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096304)

what i see as most disturbing not only in the article, but in the responses, is that no one seems to worry about what is referred to as "basic" research anymore. basic research is the research you do to figure out what is happening in a system normally, figuring out how it's supposed to work. this is the first step in ANY major breakthrough, no matter the field.

but it's the least funded.

i work in basic research in the medical field. the NIH is currently funding between 9 and 10 PERCENT of the proposals handed to them. hopefully they are picking the cream of the crop. we don't lack the manpower. there are LOTS of capable people to do the work. it's funding. there is VERY little funding for research unless someone stands to make a great deal of money from it. the problem is, most of the important things we need to figure out are not going to make anyone a pile of money. they may, down the line. but it isn't that likely.

call me a socialist, but the government needs to get the act together and push their funding toward basic research, and let industry pay for R&D.

Legal Immigration Issues contribute too (2, Insightful)

Micrope Rex (960359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096558)

The problem also lies with legal immigration. As someone with experience in and published a thesis on control systems, I find it impossible to get a dream job without having at least a Greencard. The problem is applying for a Greencard will rob me of at least, at least 5K$ if not about 10K$ (all about the right lawyer, you see). After that, comes the waiting game. How long? About 4 years at least! Longer, normally. So you see, after a couple of years, I am thinking! Heck! Screw this. I am going home. After all research opportunities are much better than what they used to be a decade ago. This reverse brain drain (Trust me, the home country has been lamenting about brain drain for decades) is going to further affect the R&D scope here.

Slip slidin' away (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096654)

I wonder when Bodies of Distinguished Scientists are going to make the switch from saying "the U.S. is losing its leadership in Science and Technology" to saying "the U.S. has lost its leadership in Science and Technology." Probably well after the point of no return...

Anyway, if I were a betting man, I'd be inclined to start a pool.

The World is Flat.... (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22096718)

The World is Flat talks about how the American advantage is having a broad education that includes history and literature and art. Is it really a surprise to find that half of the country does poorly in Math and Science when students are encouraged to immerse themselves in a diverse landscape of experiences including sports and music?
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