Ironically, in spite of these trends, there will most likely be no engineer shortage in America. Our firms will simply continue to move their engineering work overseas, along with their research laboratories and the new jobs thereby created across the employment spectrum.
So what is to be done? The answers are remarkably simple. The first is to bring the free enterprise system into K-12 education. That is, pay physics teachers more than phys ed teachers; pay great physics teachers more than average physics teachers and help mediocre teachers find new careers; and give students a choice of where they attend school—as has long been the practice in our higher education system.
As to our great research universities, all we need to do is give the same priority to the support of their academic programs that we give to their major athletic programs—perhaps even paying a Nobel laureate a sum that approaches what the assistant football coach receives.
Fortunately, implementing the above actions does not depend upon what China or anyone else does, it's only up to us. As Aeschylus put it over 2,500 years ago:
So in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,
"With our own feathers, not by others' hands,
Are we now smitten."
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