Do you want your children and grandchildren to flip burgers at McDonalds or have a well-paying, hi-tech related job? This decision possibly is being made while we speak. Unfortunately, it seems too many of our state’s current leaders lack the vision necessary to assure a prosperous future for coming generations.
Too many of our leaders continue to rely on the strategy of low skills and low wages, little or no regulation and a miserly effort at supporting research and development among our higher education institutions.
Currently our governor and many of his political allies would have us turn our great universities--A&M and the University of Texas--into diploma mills or trade schools. Of late there has been a constant drumbeat that college teachers and professors should get paid based on how many students they teach in class and that research should be de-emphasized. This attitude along with the phenomenon of devaluing grades presents a threat to the future of not only our institutions of higher learning, but to our state’s future.
Currently, Texas ranks dead last among developed states in state contribution for research and development. It ranks third among all states in private research and development. Although few, if any, of our state’s politicians would adopt as a motto at election time, “Let’s all work together to make Texas runner-up,” none appears to be overly concerned with our current status concerning research.
California and Massachusetts receive the lion’s share of government funding for upper-echelon scientific projects. The primary cause for this is the fact California outspends Texas almost 2:1 developing new and innovative goods and products which eventually go into the economy as manufacturing.
Good evidence of the return on expenditures in research and development is the fact California, the leading contributor to higher education R&D, registered the most patents in the United States with 32,107 patents while at the same time Texas registered about 1/4th that number. Patents for new products and procedures are the life blood of new economic ventures and venture capital infusion. This in turn is the engine which generates high-paying jobs and a thriving economy.