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November 9, 2010

Well Worth Reading: Wisconsin needs two big goals

Dave Baskerville

Having worked some 40 years in the business world, mostly abroad, with many leaders in business, politics and religion, I believe the most important ingredient for success is setting one or two ambitious, long-term goals that are routinely and publicly measured against the best in the world.

For Wisconsin, we only need two:

Raise our state's per capita income to 10 percent above Minnesota's by 2030.
In job and business creation over the next decade, Wisconsin is often predicted to be among the lowest 10 states. When I was a kid growing up in Madison, income in Wisconsin was some 10 percent higher than in Minnesota. Minnesota caught up to us in 1967, and now the average Minnesotan makes $4,500 more than the average Wisconsinite.

Lift the math, science and reading scores of all K-12, non-special education students in Wisconsin above world-class standards by 2030. (emphasis added)

Wisconsinites often believe we lose jobs because of lower wages elsewhere. In fact, it is often the abundance of skills (and subsidies and effort) that bring huge Intel research and development labs to Bangalore, Microsoft research centers to Beijing, and Advanced Micro Devices chip factories to Dresden.

Our educational standards are based relative to the United States. So even if we "successfully" accomplish all of our state educational goals, our kids would still be in the global minor leagues. How about targeting Finland and Singapore in math, South Korea and Japan in science, Canada in reading?

As the saying goes: "When one does not know where one is going, any road will do" (or not do).

Without clear scorecards, we citizens will have little ability to coerce and evaluate politicians and their excuses, rhetoric and laws from the right and left. If JFK had not set a "man on the moon" stretch target, would we have landed there? Do the Green Bay Packers have a chance at winning another Super Bowl if they never tack that goal to the locker room walls?

Clusty Search: Dave Baskerville.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at November 9, 2010 5:33 AM
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