Done with tackling health care and financial reform, yet still struggling to create jobs, President Obama turned his attention this week to America’s failing public education system.
To that end Obama is proposing several initiatives aimed at improving our school systems. For one, our children need a longer school year, Obama said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. He’s also championing a program called the “Race to the Top” with the goal of recruiting 10,000 science, technology, engineering and math teachers over the next two years. And he’s in favor of weeding out the poorest performing teachers.
Republicans and Democrats agree on the need for improvement; the problem is they disagree about doing the overhaul at a national level or state level.
Across the board, Glenn Hubbard says it’s high time politicians do more than bicker amongst one another. “I think there’s enough frustration by a broad cross section of voters, that we need a group of leaders who will actually tackle our real problems, not just make statements,” he says.
Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, recently co-authored a new book, Seeds of Destruction: Why the Path to Economic Ruin Runs Through Washington, and How to Reclaim American Prosperity, which offers proposals for fixing America’s failing schools, among other "major structural imbalances" in need of long-term solutions.(For Hubbard's analysis of those "imbalances", see:U.S. Economy "Close to a Destructive Tipping Point," Glenn Hubbard Says)
“America’s universities have long been the envy of the world because they are very competitive in every way. The same can’t be said for our public schools and training,” he tells Aaron and Dan Gross in the accompanying clip. Hubbard says the system isn’t only failing our children. He’s equally concerned about the training and technical skills being taught to adults. Without proper training or re-training, he’s fearful jobs will find new homes abroad.
A National Security Imperative
Hubbard’s book also provides potential solutions for America’s other pressing problems, including energy and trade policy.
“There’s a national security imperative to be less dependent on oil and imported oil and there’s also important environmental benefits to reducing petroleum consumption,” says the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.
Hubbard's solution: “Let’s put an oil price floor, so we guarantee to the private sector that the price of oil in the U.S. won’t fall below a certain level,” he suggests. A price floor would “really increases the incentive to innovate clean technologies, but it does so without the regulatory morass that troubles many conservatives.”
U.S. Trade policy is once again in the headlines after China placed a higher tariff on American poultry. In his book, Hubbard, blames Washington for an “abject failure to confront our trading partners.”
His solution: “We need to be saving more and actually depending more on investments in net exports.” Meanwhile, China should focus on growing domestic demand and less on selling their goods in the U.S.