Posts Tagged ‘Education’


This week I will be in Seattle to attend the MVP Summit. It is one of my favorite weeks because I normally just show up and soak in the new technology Microsoft has to show us under the standard Non-Disclosure Agreement. I don’t have to prepare for the MVP Summit like I do for the conferences where I present.

It is always a fun time seeing MVP friends again, meeting with the folks formerly known as the Fox Team, and geeking out with Visual FoxPro. I come home exhausted and energized at the same time. I am looking forward to returning to the Seattle area again, staying downtown, and soaking in the city atmosphere and mountains off in the distance.

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This is slightly off topic, so if you don’t want to read a rant about Michigan and the idiots who run this state: move along to the next blog. If you want to understand how hard it is to run a software development business or get a better understanding of what your employer faces from time-to-time, read on.

Running a high tech business in the state of Michigan is hard enough without being impacted by people in government who most likely never ran a business. Companies are closing up all over Michigan and a lot of the reason is Michigan is suffering through a one state recession. While the leadership in Lansing cannot be blamed for the decisions of companies like GM, Ford, and Chrysler for laying off more than 100,000 people, I do blame them for the decisions made that are further hurting the state economy. Here is a fine example.

White Light Computing has been in business for nearly four years. During this time the company has paid unemployment insurance at various rates based on the length of time the company has been in business. The first two years the rate was 2.7% for the first US$11,200 of salary, and last year it dropped to 1% based on the fact my company has not pushed a single person on the unemployment line. As a reward for this, as White Light enters its fifth year (according to the state 2008 is year five) the company gets a 50% increase on unemployment insurance. This means an extra US$56 per person on the payroll. While the impact is minor to White Light Computing, imagine being a restaurant owner with lots of lower wage employees and getting a 50% increase just for surviving the first four years in the nations worst economy. How about automotive supplier who already has the slimmest of profit margins to work with and a huge staff on the assembly line?

The people who run this state are complete morons. I called the agency in charge of increasing my rate and their only defense was “it is only a half percent increase, not a 50% increase.” And people say they will never use the math they learned in school. Sheesh.

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A friend of mine just passed along this link to an editorial about the sad state of America’s Education System written by Lou Dobbs called “Dobbs: A legacy in search of a president.” This editorial really points out something I have been harping on for the last 15 years about the education of our kids with respect to mathematics and science (and other subjects too). How do we expect to fill technical jobs in research and development, design, and programming in medical, engineering fields, and computer science?

I am shocked to hear how few kids graduate in the Detroit Public Schools (which my kids thankfully do not attend). A quarter of the kids graduate?!? In comparison I would guess less than 5% of the students in my daughter’s class did not graduate. I am fortunate to live in one of the best school districts in the state. Detroit Public Schools appear to be real bad, but this is a nationwide problem in big cities according to the numbers presented by Mr. Dobbs.

I have intentionally left politics out of this blog, but I absolutely agree with Mr. Dobbs’ request for President Bush to build his legacy by using the last months of his term to starting a course of correction on this issue.