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Jobs and Education

The Big Scam Perpetuated by the Media

Publication Date: 2002-12-16

Dennis knows about job trends and he hits hard at myths of future job seekers needing advanced math and technological skills

The use of schools and workers as scapegoats for our nations social and economic problems is a scam used by politicians, the business interests and public school critics of many persuasions, from conservative to libertarian, to destroy public schools, as we know them. When economic times are good, schools are blamed for a so-called ?skilled worker? shortage that hinders economic growth. When economic conditions are bad and unemployment rises schools are blamed for too many high school dropouts and not preparing students properly for post secondary education which is said be absolutely essential for a majority of jobs now and in the future. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The hype and propaganda about the manufactured crisis in K-12 education and the need to produce more college graduates because the so-called knowledge based jobs of the future require higher education including math and science for all students and workers has been continual since the 1960s. The terminology may change, information based and high tech jobs are now knowledge-based jobs in knowledge based global economy. Nothing could be further from reality.

The United States in the year 2002, has settled in to a period of stagnant job growth, a stock market depression and a growth recession economy that is reflected in the economies of the entire global economy. The economic problems of the world are on the demand side not the supply side. Supply side education and training does not create good paying jobs anymore than failed supply side economics.

When will stagnant job growth significantly improve? The future job market does not look promising for workers, including those with bachelors or advanced degrees. The number of jobs is not increasing as fast as the supply of highly educated college graduates. As jobs become scarce more students enroll in college and graduate education and as the supply of college graduates continues to increase there is absolutely no evidence of a repeat of the over expansion of so-called high tech jobs. The bubble has burst for the foreseeable future for jobs, as it has for the stock market.

College graduates are now doing jobs done well in the past by high school graduates and even dropouts. Family supporting manufacturing jobs and even information technology jobs have moved to anywhere in the U.S. or world that provides cheap labor.

Increasing the number of college graduates is beneficial to society but will not create jobs, except significantly in education, which is very good because they are family living wage jobs. Analysis of United States occupational employment projections to 2010 indicates that most new jobs will arise in occupations that require only work related training (on-the-job training or work experience in a related occupation), even though these occupations are projected to grow more slowly, on average, than occupations that require more education. ?This reflects the fact these occupations, (OJT and work experience related) accounted for about 7 out of 10 jobs in 2000.?

(See www.jobseducationwis.org 114 Education, Jobs and Salaries in the United States : Hype & Reality

Increasing the number of students with higher math and science courses will not in itself create significant numbers of new jobs. Only about 4 to 5% of jobs in the U.S. ?might? require extensive higher math or science educations. The U.S. already produces an ever-increasing number of well-educated college graduates. College graduates in the 21st Century are employed in jobs that were often done well by high school graduates in the 20th Century. It was not until the 1950s that a majority of American workers had an 8th grade diploma and the 1960s a high school diploma.

The United States is the leader of the world in a 21st Century global economy with the finest scientists, business leaders and the most productive workers in the world. There are no serious challengers to U.S. superiority in the world. The claimed major deficiencies of American public education in regards to the workforce are a hoax.

Technology and computer related equipment make jobs easier not more difficult. Technology increases the productivity of workers and decreases the number of workers required for a given amount of production (Elementary school kids may use computers, including Milwaukee Public School (MPS) students, as well or better than well paid CEO?s, State and Local Superintendent?s and education officials I have known.)

Reality is 1. For the majority of the jobs in the world and the U.S. , other than reading, writing, arithmetic, and developing a work ethic, there is not a direct relationship between education and jobs. 2. Education for education sake is good and is helpful in getting a job and doing it well. However there is a surplus of well-educated people for jobs that require higher levels of education and training. 3. A majority of jobs in the American workforce require only short-term (45%) or moderate length (10%) on the job training or experience. About 20% of jobs might require a bachelor?s degree or more. 5. About 5% of jobs in the 2000s might require higher math and science course work.

(See www.jobseducationwis.org 118 Universities and High-Tech Jobs in a Knowledge Based Economy: Hype and Propaganda, Reality and the Truth

I have been analyzing the workforce of the Milwaukee Area, Wisconsin and the U.S. since the 1960s. The U.S. and the world technology stock market have disintegrated as well as great numbers of so-called high tech jobs of the future. The result may be a stagnation of economic growth and job growth for the unforeseen future in the U.S. and the world because the U.S. economy is the ultimate consumer of the world?s goods and natural resources. The global economy and jobs are in serious jeopardy. The rich are getting richer and the working poor of the world, including the United States , are getting poorer. Cheap labor exporting countries like China , with 20% of the world?s population, are providing cheap goods for those with money and eliminating jobs for the world.

The myths of the high tech, high skill and high pay jobs of the future have survived and flourished since the 1960?s. The New Economy is the new fiction of the economists and the casino royal players on Wall Street. In the 21st Century the savior of our New Economy and the creator of the high tech and high pay jobs of the future, the universities, has emerged to save the United States from any economic calamities. Just throw the millions at the universities and the academic elite will solve all our social and economic problems. Nothing could be further from reality.

The major weapons used to label schools as ?failing? to prepare students for jobs or for so called critically needed post secondary education are meaningless high stakes standardized tests for promotion and graduation that are destroying poor children for no good reasons. Money is too precious to waste on the education of the working poor and their children who cannot score at the immeasurable ?proficient level? on the infallible tests prepared by the multimillion dollar testing industry. Political leaders who strongly support useless education reforms and testing are well supported by the private sector business interests looking for a big share of the billions spent on education that could be privatized.

This piece was originally written on Saturday December 14. It is a paradox that on Sunday December 15, the most ridiculous article illustrating the big sham against American public education I have ever seen was printed in a large headline on the top of the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, ?Hopes for our region rest on city?s schools?. Shamefully, the Milwaukee Public Schools are being used as the scapegoat for the economic depression and increasing poverty of the central city of Milwaukee . Incredibly, it is claimed that increasing test results on meaningless standardized tests (the 3rd Grade Comprehensive Reading Test is the only statewide test with valid achievement levels and analysis of results) will create economic growth and jobs when these students graduate from high school go on to college and all succeed in getting good paying jobs.

The social and economic problems of Milwaukee exist right now, not just in the short or long run future. Insane is too mild a term for school reforms like high stakes testing and elimination of social promotion that are destroying poor children for no good reason.

When is the academically challenged media, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, going to discover the scam in American public education? I will continue this theme in my next piece. (See www.jobseducationwis.org 101 The Milwaukee Partnership Academy: The Ultimate Hype and Hypocrisy)


Center for the Study of Jobs & Education in Wisconsin And the United States


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