Monday, March 22, 2010

America's Real Dream Team

Thomas Friedman has a great column in this weekend's New York Times, "America's Real Dream Team," also covering the Intel Science Talent Search.

He lists the names of the finalists to make an obvious point: Most of these young people are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. Their projects are incredible, showing imagination, technology and drive -- the three factors that will produce the jobs and economic growth of tomorrow. America's immigrants have always done well on these fronts. A great reason to keep the doors open, and something I remember when I run through Battery Park (from where you can see the Statue of Liberty) here in New York.

He also interviewed Amanda Alonzo (the star teacher who helped mentor two finalists this year, including the 2nd place winner). She told him that San Jose real estate agents are now advertising what she's done in Asian newspapers so potential immigrants know exactly where to buy a house! These agents are on to something: We should be competing for the best and brightest in the world, and their children. As a teacher at Thomas Jefferson told me at the Intel STS public day, when he's traveled to other countries such as Russia, "They are putting a lot of effort into their best and brightest." Some teachers, such as Alonzo (who told me she took her 1-month-old infant along with her to the International Science and Engineering Fair last spring-- phew!) do this, but it needs to be a much more coordinated effort. As the Time magazine cover story this week on "The Workforce: Where Will the New Jobs Come From?" points out, ultimately only innovation creates jobs and growth. If we want jobs and growth, we need more innovators. The Intel STS suggests where we can find them.

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