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New Census data on college degree, earnings


photo by Dai Sugano, Bay Area News Group

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau (source: Current Population Survey) found that workers with bachelor’s degrees, on average, earn $26,000 a year more than workers with only high school diplomas. It also found that a greater percentage of adults graduated from high school and college in 2008 than they did 10 years earlier.

You can see the breakdowns by race in the summary, as well as a link to the data tables, here. I wonder how many of those surveyed last year still have a job.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    I rather think the greater percentage of high school graduation may relate to the declining standards to do so. High School graduates I see can’t read or write nowadays, and the college grads from middling colleges seems to have lower verbal skill than previous generations.

    In any event, failure to complete high school is indisputably tied to poverty and unemployment. And smoking is tied to cancer. People still start smoking at 12 – I know some of them who not only smoke but their young children do also. The parents provide the cigarettes and allow smoking in the home. Knowing correlations doesn’t mean anyone really expects to suffer the likely consequences. They could be an exception, and they could get hit by lightning in which case the eventual consequences are irrelevant.

    Let’s face it, the underclass are the lottery ticket buyers. They also populate the casinos (expecting to win against house odds). The dull/low IQ people are by definition present oriented. No eventual consequences get through to them. They believe in fate, not in self determination.

    We smug professional class people cannot expect the underclass to think the way we do. It’s not going to happen. We can’t exect the lower orders to make rational decisions based on charts and probabilities. We need to structure our urban school programs to provide immediate positive/negative feedback if we’re to push the herd the direction we want them to go.

    Which is why I avocate for segregated schools by performance and ability to give the groups something to aspire to. It’s the opposite of letting those who are failing graduation requirements walk on the stage at graduation so they won’t “feel bad”.

    If we want urban students to do work and put themselves out we have to make the distinction clear from early on. Many people have to be able to constantly see what they are working for to stay on the diet or whatever..

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Gerald Bracey, a noted education researcher, recently spoke at the American Educational Research Association convention.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “What about those 30 fastest growing occupations? I’ve never seen that statistic presented in quite that way, but it also means that half of the 30 fastest growing jobs DON’T require a B.A. or better. But, the signal point about this statistic is that the 30 fastest growing jobs don’t account for many jobs. And the few that do are occupations like personal care aides, home health aides, nursing aides — low-paying service sector jobs needed in and for an aging nation.

    Retail sales accounts for more jobs than the top ten fastest growing occupations combined. For every systems engineer needed by a computer firm, Wal-Mart needs about 15 people on the floor. The ten occupations accounting for the largest NUMBER of jobs in a Bureau of Labor Statistics projection from 2006 to 2016 were retail sales, cashiers, office clerks, registered nurses, janitors and cleaners, bookkeeping clerks, waiters and waitresses, food preparers and servers, customer service representatives, and truck and tractor drivers. I will show the falsity of Miller’s and Duncan’s linking of education and economic crises in detail later in the talk, but it terrifies me that our new President and Secretary of Education have apparently bought into the old falsehoods.”

    Read the full lecture at http://www.susanohanian.org/show_commentaries.html?id=661. Look for the entry “Getting the Word Out: Countering the fear mongers about American Public Schools”

    The education philanthropist reformers should annually supply Oakland’s students with tens of thousands of copies of the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Dept. of Labor. It’s packed with useful information and is available for $20 at http://www.bls.gov/emp/emppub2.htm. The information is also online, but a book to take home and browse through periodically would be better for a lot of kids.

  • John

    Sharon: Great post! Rest assured that you’re not “terrified” alone.

  • Nextset

    Sharon: Nowadays posting something online and linking it to bulliten board webpages is sufficient. The schools should be doing this – similar to Drudge Report – for student and parent notices and useful articles.

    I know not everybody has internet access at home, but those people don’t count. There’s just no other way to put it. Those people that are in the business of preparing for their future have internet access in some way and use it.

    At least computer access is expected to become even cheaper in the future. Even so, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

    Producing and distributing printer matter isn’t going to cut it in this Brave New World. Info on demand will.

    When I was growing up I began to notice that some families had no significant reading material in their homes. And some other families had homes full of reference materials and bedroom bookcases full of novels, adventure stories, sci-fi etc – as well as two daily newspapers and national magazines about.

    I see the same differences now with Internet and computers. Some families value information and some just don’t.

    Is it prpoductive for the schools to chase after families and try to get them to change what they are? No it is not.

    Open, public, frank and sometimes brutal discussions about what is expected of students (to keep from being flunked/transferred out) in a school or educational program does more to make the point than offerring material does. Competition with peers does more to inspire change and keeping up than good advice does.

    And this process isn’t a comfortable one. Since above all the public schools are here to pacify the underclass (not true in first half of 1900s) these effective but uncomfortable methods aren’t used.

    Public school teachers do not have to beg people to read.