IBM leads. Now who will follow?

Sure it's a marketing gimmick but IBM still deserves kudos for a plan to help employees become teachers.

With all the hand-wringing about the looming shortage of math and science teachers, you'd think the folks in Washington would have led the way? No such luck.

Hard to understand why the great thinkers in the administration treat this issue with lassitude. Silicon Valley notables like former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have expressed growing concern about the ability of U.S. students to compete on a par with students overseas in mathematics and the natural sciences has tech industry notables climbing the walls. Unless the current system gets repaired, Barrett and others wonder where they will find the replacement workforce once the current generation heads off into splendid retirement.

And this is not to lay everything at Uncle Sam's door. The tech CEOs, who have bloviated long and hard about what needs to be done, can match IBM and put their own money behind their words. Especially after the tax windfall these folks have enjoyed in the last year. For those who may have forgotten, President Bush put his signature in 2004 on a bill that allowed U.S. firms to repatriate over $100 billion in "trapped profits" from abroad at a bargain-basement 5.25 percent rate. Silicon Valley accounts for more than $30 billion of that amount.

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