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Just Another Big Con: The Crisis in Mathematics and Science Education

Susan Notes: (Comments from Annie:)The author asks the question: "What is the rationale for all United States high students passing three advanced courses in math and science to receive a high school diploma?" and answers it and related questions with enlightening statistics about employment. Tables in this article have been omitted due to formatting limitations.

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

What is the rationale for all United States high students passing three advanced courses in math and science to receive a high school diploma? What is the rationale for "all" high school graduates satisfying the requirements for admission to a four-college program? There is none!

The United States is the uncontested leader of the world in scientific research in respect to published accomplishments, Nobel Prizes, volume of research and expenditures on scientific research. The United States is the leader of the world in technology and the unchallenged leader of the world in the global economy. The United States dominates the world because of its educational systems, including K-12 public education, post-secondary colleges and universities that produce the most highly educated, productive and successful workforce in the world. (Example See www.jobseducationwis.org 260 Nobel Prizes in Science 2005

The American high tech workforce has made corporations like Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and IBM the absolute leaders in technology in the world and the global economy. It is incomprehensible how American K-12 public school critics, including the CEO's of the major high tech corporations and Microsoft's Bill Gates, the richest person in the U.S. ($51 Billion) and Harvard dropout, get away with the bashing of all American K-12 schools based on bogus analysis of useless international tests.

Critics of American public schools use K-12 education as the scapegoat for all of the social and economic problems of the United States. (Example See www.jobseducationwis.org 261 Corporate Greed: Global Corporations Outsourcing High Tech Jobs for Cheap Labor While Bashing American Education The Center for the Study of Jobs & Education in Wisconsin has analyzed the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development ten year projections of employment 1996-2006, 1998-2008 and 2002-2012 (Example see www.jobseducationwis.org 210 Top 206 Job Titles for Employment in the United States in 2012 and 228 Analysis of Wisconsin Employment by Job Title 2002-2012)

The political, business and education leaders in the U.S. and Wisconsin, who are responsible for education policies, and inexcusably the media, ignore the actual employment statistics and projections. Only selected statistics and anecdotal stories that support the spurious claims about the crisis in American K-12 education and future skill worker shortage are reported.

By chance, because the media does not publicize in the 2000's the factual and truthful U.S. and Wisconsin government ten year projections of employment, the writer discovered that the U.S. 2004-2014 BLS Projections were released in the November Monthly on December 7, 2005. (See http://stats.bls.gov/ Employment Projections listed under Employment and Unemployment heading)

A complete analysis of the 2004-2014 BLS Projections will be completed in February 2006 and posted on www.jobseducationwis.org.

Jobs and Education in Math and Science in the United States:

Eighty job titles related to math and/or science are projected to employ 7,469,000 in the United States in 2014, an increase of 891,000 from 6,789,000 employments in 2004. The 7,469,000 represents 4.5% of total United States employment projected for 2014 of 165,540.000 in 760 job titles. The 2004 math and/or science employment of 6,758,000, was 4.6% of 2004 total employment of 146,612,000 workers.

A majority of workers in math and or science occupations are employed in Computer Occupations (53.6% in 2014). Many of there workers do not have 4-yr college degrees. This is also true of math and science Technician occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational employment projections to 2014, Monthly Labor Review, November 2005.

The great numbers of high paying jobs of the future that are claimed to require college graduation and high academic skills for all high school students are a great exaggeration. The majority of the jobs of the future in Wisconsin and the United States are low or average paying jobs that require short term or moderate-term on the job training and do not require high-level academic skills in any academic areas, particularly in higher mathematics. The projections of high skill job employment shortages in the future may also be significantly lowered because of outsourcing of jobs for cheaper labor.

American corporations justify their outsourcing of jobs by bashing American education and quoting statistics about the higher percentage of China and India's college graduates with engineering and science degrees and that there is a shortage of high skilled American high tech workers and college graduates. A January 2006 report from Duke University, published in Education Week, "U.S. Asian Engineering Gap Overstated" says, "It is clear that the U.S is not in the desperate state that is routinely portrayed." Almost one third of the world's science and engineering graduates are employed in the U.S."

Analysis of United States occupational employment projections to 2002-2012 indicate 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 2002."

Total Employment in the U.S. in 2002 was 144,014,000 a decrease from 145,594,000 in 2000, which is projected to increase 21,305,000 (14.8%) to 165,319,000 workers in 2012.

Technology makes jobs simpler not more difficult and makes workers more productive.

The great majority of the jobs of the future are the same jobs of the 20th Century with new technological tools making these jobs easier to do. A majority of jobs require only short or moderate length training or experience. The jobs of the future in the United States in 2014 are essentially the same jobs in existence in 2004. The great majority of jobs in 2014 require short term on the job training or experience or moderate length on the job training, experience or education.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational employment projections to 2014, Monthly Labor Review, November 2005.

In 2004 the top 30 jobs employment of 47,098,000 represented 32.3% of the Total U.S. employment of 145,612,000 in about 670 job titles.

In 2014 the top 30 jobs employment of 55,725,000 represented 33.9% % of the projected Total U.S. employment of 164,540,000 in about 670 job titles.

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 United States workforce require only short-term or moderate length on the job training or experience. About 21% of jobs might require a bachelor's degree or more. About 31% of workers in 2002 had a Bachelor's degree or more.

4. About 5% of jobs in the United States in the 2000s might require higher math and or science course work.

(See www.jobseducationwis.org 210 Top 206 Job Titles for Employment in the United States in 2012

Dennis W. Redovich, redovich@execpc.com www.jobseducationwis.org for Center reports on American Education

— Dennis W. Redovich



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