About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Education-Jobless Rate Relationship

The above graph shows government school spending per pupil going through the roof from 1960 to 2000 & it still sky-rockets ever upward today @ the same accelerated pace & yet despite the flat line reading scores that also continue today, late last month the DOL reported that a record 70% of new high school graduates enrolled in college in 2009. This record number of enrollees is caused mostly by the poor economy faced by young & uneducated people. The problem is that most of our young people are still uneducated after they graduate from college.

Staying in school of course puts off the inevitable search for a good job that the young person is still unqualified for after leaving school after building up student loans as grade inflation & the dummying down of higher education proliferates in our universities & colleges. For example, only 40% of community college students complete their programs - many high school graduates arrive @ community colleges ill-prepared for their course work & about 60% of these students take remedial courses which rightfully offer no credit toward a degree.

The percentage of eighth graders who read @ fourth grade levels continues to be astounding.

Meanwhile the 2009 high school graduates who didn't go on to college faced a 35% unemployment rate. The jobless rate of high school drop outs was 55%. What economists call the "youth unemployment rate" - those workers under 25 - is around 20%. Compare these figures with the current official 9.9% jobless rate & the 17.1% underemployment rate that includes those working part time who want full time work plus discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force.

The American Council Of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA) has done a tremendous job of helping students & parents analyze schools with their website WhatWillTheyLearn.com. Just click on to see what colleges are teaching. For instance only four schools in America require their students to take an economics course - you will be very surprised to learn who they are (& who they aren't). ACTA is expanding the list of schools reviewed from 125 to 600 by the time school starts this fall.

Carol & I are as deep into higher education as you can get so if you have a child or grandchild going to college in the next year or two please let us know. We will give you the benefit of what we have learned over the last decade. To us the objective of higher education is to prepare the student to be able to get a good job to support themselves after graduation & contribute to increasing the standard of living for people in our country.

Here is the transcript of the startling exchange I had with a member of the Chamber of Commerce @ the ACTA conference @ Mt. Vernon in October, 2007:

Chamber - "our 3,000 Chambers tell us they are unable to get educated and skilled workers, going from the entry level jobs to the kind of people who go to work for Microsoft, Intel and Cisco . The skills are simply not there because our education system from K to K 12 and post secondary are not doing the job and that includes our Colleges and Universities."

Doug - "you said early on that employers say that skills are not there. What skills are you talking about and in particular are there engineering skills that are not there?

Chamber - "Absolutely. There are skills all along the spectrum and let me give you two examples. We have created a career and technical group, for example, the head of the air conditioning installers -- home air conditioning installers comes in to see me, he's in association part of the Chamber, they cannot get air conditioning installers which requires some knowledge of math and reading and dealing with customers, generally a Community College certificate is required, starting salary is $60,000 a year, no candidates, or virtually no candidates. Why do we have a shortage -- why do we have all of these foreign-born individuals now working for Microsoft & Intel? There is a tremendous shortage at the high end of the scale for computer engineers & scientists. Fifty percent of the Ph.D.s issued in this country in physics, math, & computer science go to individuals on temporary Visas. The issue for the Intels, Ciscos, & Microsofts of the world is to increase the number of what's known as H1B Visas -highly-skilled foreigners, because the U.S. is not producing them. And it's a huge competitiveness issue. Intel, and this is the example I often use, has just announced a one billion dollar R&D facility in Israel It is not because it's cheaper in Israel and it is not because it's safer in Israel, it's because there are people who can actually do the work there and they are not available here in the United States."

With the above as a backdrop please realize that today one in five men 25 to 54 isn't working & the prospects are not bright because the jobs we have lost to China & India are not coming back. We are also getting use to this life of leisure as the unemployed in America spend 40 minutes a day looking for work & 3 hours & 20 minutes watching TV. We are getting more slothful as the destructive ways of socialism & government dependence increases - until it collapses of course.

Thanks to a member of our group who sent us the following video showing exactly how high the stakes are for America. Our country needs to be unshackled from the yoke of government interfering with entrepreneurs investing & starting businesses that will bring jobs back to America. BO knows this so he keeps playing on populist impulses - the more government interference has caused problems the more he tells people they need another government program as the solution only this time bigger than the one before. And the people educated in government schools fall for it.

The entire problem of both our decreasing livelihoods & standard of living can be understood by thinking about eighth graders reading @ fourth grade levels as mentioned above. I join Mark Nadler who writes - "what shocks me is how a student got to the eighth grade reading @ a fourth grade level."

1 comment:

  1. Doug,

    Just a quick note before a bad storm hits here and I need to shut down the computer ... I only read the first couple paragraphs of your note quickly, and will read the rest later, but as home educating parents, we find it astounding that when we perform yearly tests on our children, which are mandated (depending on the state), in order for the child to be "passing" - they only have to achieve a score of 33%. That is it! I personally fault No Child Left Behind which really put an emphasis on "free money for good test scores" regardless of what a child is actually learning. But too, with the terrible lack of support by parents, we will never get the quality level of educators in the schools for our children that they deserve. Anyway ... sorry for the quick little quirp, I just had to drop a note about that I, having graduated too many years ago to acknowledge, would have suffered a terrible wrath at home had I achieved a 33% on a score and called it a success! Again, I am not talking about learning difficulties, etc., rather setting a very low standard. Wasn't 33% always considered a failing grade? Now that is all that is needed to "move up" to the next grade level? Really sad for our future generations.