Of collaboration and global competitiveness

Rashid Davis square
Rashid Davis

As often happens after an interesting interview, I came back to the computer with more insights from Rashid Davis than I could fit into a single profile.

Davis has a great storyline, the kind that makes for an easy-to-write profile. He is the principal of Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School — a public school/university/industry partnership so novel that, in its second year, the school earned a surprise mention in President Barack Obama’s Feb. 12 State of the Union address. “In my wildest dreams I never would have imagined it would have happened,” Davis said in an interview Wednesday.

Davis’ story has a strong local tie-in. He was in Boise this week explaining the P-TECH model to prospective Idaho partners; the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has offered $5 million in startup money for a similar school, offering high school students a ninth- through 14th-grade education.

Davis also has an interesting insight into work force development — and the universities’ role.

The university system is a great competitive advantage for American companies, since it is a draw for the best and brightest students from around the world. But the American university system still struggles to meet the nation’s need for a tech-ready work force.

Not that this is a unique phenomenon. China faces the same dilemma, Davis said.

The implications, then, are readily apparent. The country that gets this right — syncing curriculum with the skill set employers need — will enjoy a key global advantage.

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Disclosure: Idaho Education News is funded by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

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