Despite massive outpourings of money over the past decades, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson says America's secondary education system is a failure.

Stephenson said he is especially distressed that in some U.S. communities and among certain groups, the high school dropout rate is as high as 50 percent.

"If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down," he said.

Gone are the days when AT&T and other U.S. companies had to hire locally, he said.

"We're able to do new product engineering in Bangalore as easily as we're able to do it in Austin, Texas," he said, referring to the Indian city where many international companies have "outsourced" technical and customer support workers.

"I know you don't like hearing that, but that's the way it is," he said.

The problem with American secondary education isn't a lack of funding, it's a lack of teaching. Not teachers -- we've got plenty of those, it's just too bad they apparently aren't capable of doing their jobs effectively. I think most of the blame lies with the teachers' unions' commitment to their own power at the expense of our students. They've created a culture in which the purpose of public education is to create union jobs rather than to actually educate children.

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