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IBM Says Students Inept in Math and Science

This blog is written by William Murphy, a 17 year old high school student and youth organizer from Baltimore, MD. I met William at the Opportunity to Learn summit in Washington, DC this past December. He is a member of the Baltimore Algebra Project. Several members of the Baltimore Algebra Project will be guest blogging. It is important to create spaces, especially in media outlets like Education Week, for students who are actively trying to improve opportunities in public schools and voice their ideas on human rights. Multi-generation communication is a key that unlocks critical information for anyone concerned about schools. Students have been a driving force in all successful transformative movements; and obviously this is even more important in education where students are the end user.

Please join me in welcoming William Murphy, Democracy and Education's first guest blogger. Please share it with other students and share your ideas on line as we build this Democracy and Education blog community at Education Week. To comment, simply click here to register! Or if you are already registered, log in and comment after each entry.

In a recent article by CNN, executives from IBM say that available positions are difficult to fill because candidates are not skilled enough in math and science. IBM has about 1600 jobs vacancies listed on its website. CNN points out that so many jobs are vacant despite the high unemployment rate.

So what does this say about the public education system? Simply this says that the public education system is not producing students that are equipped to execute efficient math and science skills to work for IBM. According to US Department of Education, one-third of first year college students have at least one remedial course. The percentage doubles in community colleges.

This terrible reality should raise eyebrows and make hairs stand on end. It should be even more shocking that most states' high school graduation requirements are based on passing 7th and 8th grade level standardized tests. With the facts in order, it makes more sense why one-third of first year students are remedial courses.

So what is the solution to the catastrophe that has happening to public education? Youth in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Oakland, Los Angles, and other cities would say education needs to be federally protected in a National Student Bill of Rights.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN that the federal government will be responsible for what education looks like; however, IT DOES MEAN that the federal government intervenes when the rights of students are being violated by state, local, or federal institutions.

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