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Speech to Faculty of Chapman University, Fairfield, California Campus

By Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.


It is a pleasure for Chuck and me to be here today. Hopefully, we can make the next hour move rapidly for you and provide you with some provocative material to ponder.

Chuck and I have known each other for about 35 years. We met in the 70s when I was superintendent of San Rafael City Schools and Chuck was Director of Teacher Education at Dominican College of San Rafael, now Dominican University of California. Chuck placed student teachers in the San Rafael City Schools and invited me to teach graduate courses in school law, human resource management, and school finance at Dominican College. We have been involved in for-profit private schools and related real estate ventures. Chuck founded NIPSA, National Independent Schools Association, which is the trade association and accredits for-profit private schools. I was one of his original board members.

It has been fun working with Chuck for all these years. I think what makes us a strong team is not necessarily our similarities, but our differences. Chuck's experience and expertise is in curriculum development and assessment and my background is in the business side of education in both

the public sector and the private sector. Our politics and philosophy are somewhat different, but we have tremendous respect for each other. We have always been able to resolve what few differences we might have in a very respectful manner. Today I would like to talk with you about some very real challenges our country faces and how these challeges relate to our educational system. How many of you have read Tom Friedman's book, The World is Flat? Friedman makes the case that we are in a new era globally which began when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and has continued through the World Wide Web, the Internet, Outsourcing, etc. Friedman discusses ways which we have to adapt in order to compete in this new era of Global affairs.

The World's population is estimated to be about 6 billion. Of the 6 billion, China's population is 1.3 billion or about 21% of the World's population. India's population is 1.1 billion or about 18% of the World's population while the population of the USA is just over 300 million or only 5% of the World's population.

What does this mean? How many of you received the email that went around called "Shift Happens"? I was stunned by some of the statistics that were presented in the email and would like to share them with you.

SHIFT HAPPENS!

25% of the population in China has a higher IQ than the total population in North America and 28% in India has a higher IQ than our total population. Interpretation: Both China and India have more honor kids than we have kids in the US!

China will soon become the #1 English speaking country.

To show you how rapidly the populations of China and India will increase during the course of our presentation:
   60 babies will be born in US
   244 babies will be born in China
   351 babies will be born in India

Today's learner will have 10-14 jobs by age 38.

1 in 4 workers has been working for a company for less than 1 year. 1 in 2 workers have been with a company for less than 5 years. The top 10 jobs in 2010 didn't exist in 2004.

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't currently exist.

1 in every 8 couples or 12½% who married last year in U.S. met online.

There are 540,000 words in the English language, five times as many as during Shakespeare's time.

There are 3,000 new books published daily.

One issue of the NY Times contains more information than a person received in a lifetime during the 18th Century.

The amount of new technology information is doubling every two years.

One-half of the information a college student learns in the first year will be outdated in the third year.

47 million laptops were shipped worldwide last year.

Some other information to consider:
- 85% of the people attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland believe China will be the world's leading nation in 2030.
- According to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, the new global multinationals will hail from China or India.

What does all this mean and how will you, as an academic, be called upon to find critical answers to these complex challenges that confront our country now and will be more pronounced in the future? How will you as educators make certain your students will have the knowledge and skills that they will need to be competitive in the future? How will our country compete in the future against the likes of China and India?

Currently, of the nearly 27 million businesses in the US, only about 100,000 employ more than 100 employees, which means that about 99% of all companies are small businesses started by entrepreneurs.

The majority of businesses actually have no employees, such as self employed consultants, hairdressers, barbers, lawyers, plumbers, graphic designers, consultants, etc.

60% of the businesses started with less than $50,000 and 56% started their business at home.

To meet all of the challenges of the future, our educational system has to go through a major overhaul. In his book, Only Connect: The Way to Save our Schools - Can Our Kids Compete Globally?, Dr. Rudy Crew points out some frightening problems that have to be solved in order for our country to compete on the world stage:

  • One-third of American eighth graders cannot perform basic math. That means more than a million thirteen-year-olds can't do the simplest calculations needed to buy a candy bar or ride a bus.
  • One-third of all teachers leave the profession in their first three years; by five years, half of them have left.
  • A black child in Washington, D.C., has less than a 30 percent chance of learning how to read before he turns ten.
  • The odds that any given ten-year-old in a large American city can read are about fifty-fifty, and six in ten for the nation as a whole.
  • Only one in five students entering college is prepared for college-level work in math, reading, writing, and biology.

Chuck and I believe that in addition to a rigorous academic program, part of the solution to this complex global problem is to promote the American Free Enterprise System within our schools at all levels from elementary school through the university. We believe our students need to be well grounded in basic economics and we need to unleash and encourage the power of entrepreneurship in our schools.

We also believe that our country needs to encourage capital markets to finance entrepreneurial growth companies; foster research and development; and invest in workforce development by investing in technically talented people.

The future does not look too bright for our young people, and it is up to our educators and our educational system to make certain our students are well equipped academically to keep us competitive.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts about our future with you today. Have a great school year. (2008)