I have said it before, and will say it again: Tom Friedman is perhaps my single greatest inspiration for my embrace of the mission to educate to innovate.   Yesterday he struck again with his message (“More (Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs“), this time with some new references and suggestions.

Like Friedman, I want to see schools produce more ingenious, creative, problem-solvers; I want students to tinker, I want them to engage with real-world problems,  I want them to draw upon their rich, liberal arts learning and scientific know-how and creative thinking to create new solutions.

What the country needs most now is not more government stimulus, but more stimulation. We need to get millions of American kids, not just the geniuses, excited about innovation and entrepreneurship again. We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of “Start-Up America.”…Inspiring, reviving and empowering Start-up America is his moon shot.

It is not Obama partisanship that makes me want to be part of the team supporting what ought to be Obama’s moon-shot, it is my wish to see American grow again, and continue to lead.

Friedman offers a pair of suggestions to educators.  First, National Lab Day: “Lab Day aims to inspire a wave of future innovators, by pairing veteran scientists and engineers with students in grades K-12 to inspire thousands of hands-on science projects around the country.”  I wonder if this is something we can jump on-board at St. Gregory; I am going to explore and find out.

The second is NFTE, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; it would appear from Freidman this is only directed for low-income school populations, which would exclude us at St. Gregory, but there are still great resources here, and I am intrigued by the film they are promoting right now about their competition, Ten9Eight; maybe it is something we could watch at school.  Entrepreneurship is not something I have been speaking or writing about as a central theme or agenda for my vision, but it is an entirely valuable, important tangent to my central themes.

We have lots of work to do to develop further our commitment to create innovators, but it is good work, and meaningful work, and it is great to have Friedman’s inspiration and encouragement.