FEDEX founder and CEO Fred Smith has slammed American education for failing to provide workers the schooling jobs require, citing "poor results" and the "sociological environment" in which students must grow up.
"We're not producing the type of students we need for the 21st-century workforce," he told the audience at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.
Mr Smith blamed the breakdown in public schools on the lack of competition, reported the Chattanoga Times Free Press.
"Monopolies tend to gravitate to the lowest common denominator," he said in support of school vouchers that supported charter schools that offer parents a competitive choice.
Public school management an teachers unions, have long opposed charter schools on the grounds that charter schools would drain away better students and leave the public sector with the dregs.
"You wouldn't watch an NFL game if there weren't two teams on the field," Mr Smith said in answer to a question at the event that drew about 1,200 people. "You wouldn't watch a tennis match if there weren't two players."
"The archaic regulations were stifling innovation," Mr Smith said.
His own experience showed that complex government regulations regarding air cargo made it so the company initially couldn't use planes which carried more than 7,500 pounds of cargo.
Mr Smith said the company also pushed for the 1980 deregulation of surface transportation for interstate trucks and railways. Also, the US has been at the forefront of deregulating highly regulated international skies, he said.
That has led to FedEx expanding around the world, the CEO said, serving 220 countries and territories.
"We serve everyplace that's permitted by the U.S. government with the exclusion of Cuba, which may change soon, Iran, Syria and North Korea," he said.
The FedEx chief said his company led a movement that resulted in deregulation of the air cargo industry after "a bruising series of fights" in 1977.
"Contrary to opponents, life on earth did not cease," he said.
Mr Smith said the company also pushed for the 1980 deregulation of surface transportation for interstate trucks and railways. Also, the US has been at the forefront of opening up highly regulated international skies, he said.
The deregulatory efforts and legislation have permitted today's modern society, he said.
"They were profound pieces of legislation, absent of which there'd be no Wal-Mart, no Target, no Amazon, no FedEx," he said. "It's government getting out the way and it made a huge difference in our society."
He said the changes have cut logistics costs from 16 cents of every dollar to about 9 cents.
"Those enormous productivity improvements are what basically has funded this economy's ability to offer the social benefits that we now do in terms of increased Medicare, Medicaid, things of that nature," he said.
The Chattanooga chamber chairman Roy Vaughn also attacked the poor educational development of the workforce.
"It helps us get home-grown prosperity and major investments," said Mr Vaughn, citing a US$22.5 million plan announced by West Star Aviation to place an air maintenance facility at Lovell Field.
The comments come amid the giant express delivery firm's plans to expand its worldwide network that currently includes 220 countries and territories.
"We serve everyplace that's permitted by the US government with the exclusion of Cuba, which may change soon, Iran, Syria and North Korea," said Mr Smith.
Source : HKSG.