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Close the achievement gap and graduate college. Then what?

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, October 7th, 2010 at 4:00 pm in achievement gap, Algebra/Math, college, school reform, science, teachers.

Zeus Yiamouyiannis is an Oakland-based learning consultant and former professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Carroll College. He gives us his take on education reform in general and “Waiting for Superman” in particular — and the film-maker’s assertion that 120 million new high-paying jobs await us in 2020.

Zeus Yiamouyiannis (courtesy photo)American Education has a reality problem and a vision problem. If you listen to policy leaders, rescuing U.S. education simply requires closing the ethnic/social class academic achievement gap and becoming first in the world in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This ostensibly will allow millions of young people to be channeled into the 120+ million future “high skill, high pay jobs” according to the controversial new education reform documentary, Waiting for Superman.

Anticipating this, the Obama administration is funding a “Race to the Top” focusing heavily on STEM education. KIPP charter schools spend three times as much classroom time as average schools on math and science. The more comprehensive charter schools are likewise working to ensure their students both get into college and graduate. All this is laudable on some level, but whose purposes does this serve, and does it reflect lasting actual (or even desirable) trends in the job market?

The Reality Problem
So all you need as a ticket to the good life is a four-year college degree? Tell this rosy myth to all the current, rightfully skeptical twenty-something graduates, saddled with tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars of college debt.  They are dealing with the so-called “new normal,” waiting for diploma-relevant careers to materialize behind a wall of unemployed or retirement-delaying baby-boomers. This oversupply has caused wages to fall, not increase, compounded by a generational flood of women entering the market as well as an increasing number of minorities.

In the global economy, even fairly high skill jobs like computer programming, x-ray interpretation, graphic design, web design, and accounting, have been outsourced by the millions to countries like India that pay their workers much less. Productivity among American workers has skyrocketed as corporations “downsize” workforces, dumping the extra work on the remaining employees. However, this money has not been shared with workers but rather funneled toward profits. Average wages have remained flat or fallen adjusted for inflation over the last decade. Separation of wealth has skyrocketed. For decades American “growth” and family survival has been fueled not by jobs or education, but by debt. That option is ending.

This is a set-up waiting to happen. As with promises that the housing market will always go up and homeownership is a ticket to riches and a comfortable American Dream (a dream now crashed and turned into a nightmare for many), so too can promising minorities their dream job once they pay their educational dues. Education is not a guarantee or a ticket, especially if you are a first-generation college grad minority without connections. If it is done right, education provides an opportunity to better navigate the world and one’s own life in a more thoughtful, effective, and fulfilling way. Good education provides the empowered, democratic, entrepreneurial skills of creativity, critical thinking, and adaptation, along with rigorous understanding of academic subjects.

The Vision Problem
Putting all your education eggs in the high tech job basket is economically dangerous as well as culturally, morally, and democratically objectionable. A healthy economy requires an inventive, diversified, initiative-oriented workforce. This is best served by learning that produces employers as much as employees, learning over training, democratically supported small businesses and customized education over corporate armies and standardized curricula. Our current obsolete industrial education system is structured to produce the opposite: employees not employers, training rather than learning, and compliant workers rather than engaged citizens. Even with all its broken promises and failed results, we still have not shaken industrial education’s social engineering legacy and its image of our future.

Why would we agree to become a nation by, for, and of a ruling elite? Why would we allow one of the youngest, most creatively and ideologically diverse countries to become a monolithic slave to top-down agendas? What would we be without our communities—our artists, musicians, inventors, hippies, old school conservatives, entrepreneurs, progressive activists, social justice advocates—tirelessly working, without fanfare, together from the ground up to make the world our children enter a better and more engaging one?

A New Vision and Reality
An administrative elite, including policy makers, Hollywood film producers, the mainstream media, and private foundations run by what educational researcher, Diane Ravitch, calls the “billionaire boys club,” continue to insist on telling us where to go and what to be through our education system. They love to tell the redemptive story of the individual hero—the student, teacher, or school— fighting against the very odds these billionaires both created and profited from. Words like “saved” and phrases like “escape from desperation” are frequently employed to give us a gauzy narrative of progress. These same elites are petrified of communities banding together to set their own agendas, to call out the injustice not only of inadequate schooling and exploitative social structures but also the status quo’s consistent neglect and disrespect of the vital original experience and wisdom of diverse learners.

Underneath the fanfare and selective controversy of films like Waiting for Superman, however, a true quiet grass-roots revolution is gaining steam. Homeschooling, “unschooling,” community vs. corporate-friendly charter schools, alternative schooling, and a myriad of other experiments and resistances are springing up and gaining momentum. These are vanguards of the next wave of American society, the one we must embrace if we are to truly and effectively address the intractable, comprehensive problems spawned by industrial management of our lives: environmental degradation and catastrophe, cultural imperialism, economic exploitation, and political hypocrisy.

Online communities like “Future of Education” and “Classroom 2.0,” on-the-ground student, parent, and community groups, advocates for marginalized learners, small non-profit organizations, and host of others are beginning to identify, communicate, and construct the framework, values, and practices for a new vision of education based in a simple conviction: education is meant to “lead out” (educe) rather than “cram in.” The purpose of learning is to honor, unleash, and connect the unique power and contribution of each heart, spirit, body, and mind to every heart, spirit, body, and mind. Only this way will we have the adequate network of linked intelligence, what I call the “social mind,” to meet our collective problems and transform ourselves and our world.

This growing vision and its successes may not be televised, but they will not be stopped.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Sharon

    Two things worth reading:

    “The Real Science Gap” by Beryl Lieff Benderly (Miller-McCune, June 14, 2010 http://www.miller-mccune.com/science/the-real-science-gap-16191/

    Excerpt: “There is no scientist shortage,” declares Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman, a pre-eminent authority on the scientific work force. Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leading demographer who is also a national authority on science training, cites the “profound irony” of crying shortage — as have many business leaders, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates — while scores of thousands of young Ph.D.s labor in the nation’s university labs as low-paid, temporary workers, ostensibly training for permanent faculty positions that will never exist.

    The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ yearly Occupational Outlook Handbook puts the perspective into the craziness of college-for-all. http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm

    In terms of the number of upcoming jobs being projected for the top twenty occupations with the fastest growth, 60% require only short-term or moderate-term on-the-job training (home health aides, personal and home care aides, medical assistants, dental assistants, and physical therapist aides). The number of those no-college-needed jobs is three times the number that are projected to require bachelor’s degrees (computer software engineers, applications, network systems and data communications analysts, biomedical engineers, financial examiners, athletic trainers).

    I think there’s a scam going on.

  • Zeus

    Thanks Sharon, I was tempted to add that this misinformed hype around unfilled high tech jobs only guarantees a pool of cheaper workers and lower wages since competition is increased. Worse still, college tuition is going through the roof, so you get charged more to get paid less. Worse yet again, minority students are being promised this is a ticket OUT! When, one observes the trends, it looks like a ticket to indefinite debt servitude hardly fitting in with the liberation story so many mainstream films and media like to tout. Again this is not pessimism as much as realism. The top-down game is provably bankrupt and against democratic interest. So now we don’t have to divide our attention– we can opt out and build something that actually serves us. The fact the this is possible and starting to gain traction is cause for real optimism.

  • oakie

    I don’t buy it. If you want to “unschool” your kid, go ahead. I’m ensuring, to the best of my ability, that my child gets pushed hard into serious math, science and language skills. Twenty years from now, she’ll be living in the hills, and all those unschooled kids will be in the flatland squalor. Good luck with that.

    We have a lot of problems to solve. Energy techologies first and foremost. Pushing scientific advancement so that my kid’s generation has a better standard of living that we do. Interestingly, I saw a set of stats comparing US kids with other industrialized nations. The US came in 20-25th in math and science. What did they come Number 1 in? Confidence. And therein lies the rub.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent considerable amount of time in third world countries. I had my glimpse into their circumstances and I don’t want that for my kid. And if we go down this path of unschooling, we’ll be there soon enough.

    If you think America will continue to be the most prosperous country in the world, as it has for the last 60 years, then you don’t know squat about history. Our primacy is passing. And we better prepare the next generation to turn this boat or the consequences will be awful.

  • Zeus

    Many of these establishment education reformers could be seen as the Bernie Madoffs of the education world, engaging in a Ponzi scheme whose purpose is less to improve education than to take it over and privatize it. http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2010/10/shocking-doctrine-ed-reform-laid-bare-nbc

  • Zeus

    Oakie, “unschooling” is not simply a term implying anti-school, but rather a philosophy and movement that advocates for learner-centered, less institutional, approaches to education. It is quite possible, even likely, that an adept “unschooled” child will be more qualified to develop the mindsets and skills to innovate in science, since they have been encouraged to be creative as well as rigorous in their development.

    From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling)

    Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

  • Shawn

    You know, this guy’s rsponse is typical to the well to do modern intellectual class. Such profound insights and “progressive” thinking exposes the true chasm in american society.

    The middle class such as our prophetic film critic, is cut of the same cloth as the Director- only perhaps a smaller bank account.

    These middle to upper middle class visionaries speak of ideas such as home schooling ot speak to the fact that we are producing employees not employers. Such deep though forces one to think- has this guy ever seen someone shot? Of course not! Whan was the last time he had to walk through gang infested neighborhoods, or pick up the little baggies dusted with white residue of someones binge?

    Will his cute little baby ever deal with tat?

    I have not seen the movie so I cannot comment or judge, but after reading Kat’s description I must say I cannot wait – I love drama, especially the real kind.

    So with that disclaimer I say that Superman may be a perspective for those that are twenty with no college degree no econmoci debt, but the debt owed to a neighborhood that will ultimately be paid with their life, their kids life, and that of most who live in that reality.

    Armchair critics come a dime per bakers dozens. The billionaire boys club, social movers,billionaires boys club, Diane ravitc, progressive thinkers, and all of the above have one thing in common- know what is is?

    Not too many of you in the inner cities is there?

  • Shawn

    sorry for the typos!

  • Zeus

    Shawn, It’s interesting that you lump my perspective in with a modern, middle class elite without an without any knowledge of where I’ve lived or with whom I’ve worked. You simply assume I am an armchair quarterback, casting solutions from my comfortable, untroubled existence. The problems you mention are real, but they will not be solved by a helicopter lift of a few selected candidates out of the ‘hood and into the suburbs or having some “Superman” sweep down and clean up the place. Both of these views imply that these communities and their people are bent beyond redemption and need outside forces to “fix” or civilize them.

    The point of my article is to put the task to education to empower students and communities to use their wisdom and experience, combined with the tools of power created by education, to face and transform their environments. By making community and learner initiative, experience, and power the center of education, one sends a different message: no matter how bad a neighborhood gets, it can be redeemed on its own merits by its own people. This should be done with help from the outside and with community members temporarily leaving to get an advanced education and bringing those resources and gifts back for the benefit of the community. This can be done by teaching people how to create small businesses and become employers instead of just employees.

    Who is doing what to whom? What is changing? Who benefits? Does it last? I’ve never seen exterior imposed control and reform last in any community or school. When people are treated as objects to be saved, rather than subjects to be engaged, they respond in like by promptly nodding and forgetting, treating the “saviors” as they have been treated, as an object. The best models combine strong charismatic community members with high expectations and low tolerance for crap with an open, compassionate conviction that respects the wisdom and experience of those he or she is trying to help.

    I have dedicated my life to this sensibility in many practical as well as “theoretical” ways, teaching math to diverse “inner city” and urban youth, tutoring learning disabled students, serving actively on the board of an ethnically diverse elementary school, and writing and fighting for community-oriented approaches to community problems. If you have a better idea. I’d like to hear it. What is your alternative? What have you done to fix the problems you’ve identified?

  • Sharon

    Finland’s scores are at the top of the international list, yet they are not privatizing their schools and the majority of the country’s employees, including teachers, are fully unionized.

    Pasi Sahlberg of the Finland Ministry of Education explained the difference between our country’s ed policies and his. http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/10/finlands-approach-to-education.html

    The two approaches are quite divergent:

    Corporate ed reform approach
    -Teaching core subjects
    -Standardization
    -Test-based accountability
    -Renting reform ideas (Adopting educational reform ideas from corporate world and scientific management. Hiring private sector experts as leaders.)

    Finnish approach:
    -Broad and creative learning
    -Customizing
    -Professional responsibilities
    -Slow learning
    -Owning a dream (Building a shared inspirational vision of what good education system school and teaching look like. Appointing education professionals to leadership positions.)

    I am of the increasing opinion that’s wrong with the U.S. is not the fault of, and won’t be cured by, anything within the power of the public schools. To me, the current ed reform movement is just one more expression of what has already gone wrong (corporatization and the masses’ abdication of power), not a prospect of hope for the future. This country is suffering from oppressive corporate power and greed, excessive materialism and commercialism, apathy and lack of civic engagement, lack of respect for learning and intellectual pursuits, a chronic need to be at war, extreme breakdown of the family structure, the acceptance of high poverty and wide income distribution rates, as well as astronomical incarceration rates…just to name a few. Either actively, or by default, we continue to make these types of choices.

    I’d say our best hope to slow things down from getting worse, as far as what education-can-do is concerned, lies in adopting wise Finland’s educational approach, and work on enforcing greater discipline in schools.

    As for the movie, “Waiting for Superman” was funded by former eBay CEO Jeffrey Skoll and Phillip Anshutz, a far right-wing, evangelical billionaire. It is a piece of highly-promoted corporate ed reformer propaganda. As with all propaganda, the content was not balanced because the main purpose was to deliver a strong, well-crafted emotional punch. It’s worrisome to me that so few people will be able to recognize it for what it is.

  • JR

    Sharon,
    I agree with you 100% that we are suffering From greed, but you need to name all the greedy parties and here are a few points:

    a)Long before corporatists ever got involved with education, the system has been broken, and yet the U.S. has always outspent any other country for education.

    b)The education system is a growing self propagating entity unto itself that is no longer about one single mission which is to educate and prepare our children to become productive citizens.

    The movie is propaganda, but it also tells the truth, when the NEA or CTA tells you that they fight for the best education for the children and we’ve been sinking for decades wouldn’t you call that propaganda as well(we know by their actions what their main concerns are)? The bible says “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. Simply put, if you want to know what is important to people, don’t listen to what they say, but instead watch what they do. See for yourself that it is all about the money and the power, and it has always been. You need to recognize that for what it is.Corporations are out to make money, thats a well known unhidden truth, and there must be an awful lot of money to be had in education for them to want to be involved in it(do you know where I am going with this)?

  • Ms. J.

    Zeus,
    I thought your main post and the shorter responses you made afterwards were very thought-provoking and I am eager to hear more about such ideas.
    Sharon, I always find your posts illuminating.
    Ms. J.

  • Gordon Danning

    So, the point of this post is that I should advise my students not to go to college? Or to go to college, but to major in something other than the sciences? It can’t be the latter, because I don’t see how we can “effectively address [our]intractable, comprehensive problems” with an uneducated populace.

    A couple of other points:

    1. “For decades American ‘growth’ and family survival has been fueled not by jobs or education, but by debt.” Nonsense, unless by “decades” the author means 1.1, and even that would be a stretch, given the technological developments of the last 1.1 decades.

    2. “Real wages have fallen or remained flat over the last decade”? Maybe, but not over the long term http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2009/09/is_this_why_i_w.html and the higher the education level, the less likely that is to be true even in the short term. The fact is that the moer education a person has, the higher his or her earnings are, and the less likely he or she is to be unemployed
    http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

    3. “[c]ollege tuition is going through the roof, so you get charged more to get paid less. Worse yet again, minority students are being promised this is a ticket OUT!” (see post #2). Well, no, not if your family makes less than $70,000 per year; if that is the case, you pay zero tuition at UC schools http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/07/MN331FMFPJ.DTL and free rides at Stanford and many other elite colleges.

    So I suggest that the author cut down on the silly hysteria and focus on his more meritorious ideas, such as his implicit expectation that students should be encouraged to think for themselves.

  • Shawn

    “To empower students and communities to use their wisdom and experience, combined with the tools of power created by education, to face and transform their environments. By making community and learner initiative, experience, and power the center of education, one sends a different message: no matter how bad a neighborhood gets, it can be redeemed on its own merits by its own people.”

    - This is your comeback? Wow! What exactly do you mean. How will you empower my neighbors who have 2 sons killed, and another son hustling on the corners? You expect him, who is 16 and has 2 kids with different women, one whom is starting to dable with coke, ” to redeem their neighborhood by her own merits?”

    Wow; what is a “Learning Consultant” and who funds your job? What exactly do you do and where do you live. I now you dont live in deep east. Where will YOUR baby go to school.

    And as for the movie, so its funded bu Ebay CEO’s right? Ok, at least its not funded by my tax dollars-but I bet I have funded your and others like you’s position. To do what? Sit , drink coffee, and meet to develop such illuminate talk as your response?

    I come from public schools, grew up in the worst situations, and can tell you Zeus this stuff you say wont work and has not worked. We laugh at those like you. have you ever taught in gjetto schools? whare? Were you successful? Did you get punked?

    Death and failure for generations my man is what you find down here- but you will never see.

    I think you are all talk, same as the other liberals who simply criticize, talk, and then move on.

  • Zeus

    Shawn, I repeat my challenges and questions to you: “If you have a better idea. I’d like to hear it. What is your alternative? What have you done to fix the problems you’ve identified?” I haven’t heard a single idea supplied by you in all this attacking nor a single action taken by you that has confronted the problems you’ve identified.

    I’ve offered how I walk my talk, and, no, this did not simply cause a magic wand to appear and cure everything, but it’s a heck of a lot more effective than saying the whole situation is hopeless and implying that we need some sheriff/billionaire to come in on a white horse and tear it to the ground and rebuild it. I am self-employed, and I am very good at what I do. I’ve been successful at getting non-conventional learners, including minorities and learning disabled students, into college with my knowledge and help. I don’t receive any kind of government money currently or subsidy of any kind.

    If you can’t be part of the solution, why should I listen to you? I don’t happen to believe, as you seem to imply that inner city neighborhoods contain only crack whores, murderers, and victims. People in such desperate situations are not likely to be able to help themselves immediately or their communities. However, there are far greater numbers of community members who have been there, have leadership and respect, and who need support and resources to make the necessary positive changes. Clearly you have not met them or simply do not acknowledge them. I have, and I do. That’s who I trust to build a community up. My talents are placed at their service, not for my amusement nor from my control.

  • Zeus

    Gordon, There are more options then 1) “the status quo” and 2) “nothing.” I firmly acknowledge and believe in the power of learning, higher education, and the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, otherwise I would not be teaching them and preparing people for them.

    I believe the conventional approaches have proven themselves largely to be failures or worse, accelerators of moral, social, and environmental decline. So let’s pursue alternatives.

    On a policy and business level, why not societally support a “triple bottom line” focused simultaneously on people, planet, and profit, not simply founded on extraction, concentration, and maximization of financial profit to the exclusion or derogation of the other areas.

    With colleges charging more for diminishing returns, why couldn’t parents and communities find a way to start and accredit low-cost, entrepreneurial, innovative colleges centered around directly addressing the emerging problems of today. This requires new ways of thinking and acting and a new value system.

    In these colleges or in an awakened, active educational system we could prepare scientists who will have the applied math and science skills to reverse environmental degradation rather than farming themselves out for stacked studies excusing and hiding environmental pollution. We could cultivate, mentor, and support future lawyers to target social and environmental abuses rather than churn out those who largely help corporations get around rules and escape liabilities.

    Someone has to stick up for the next generation and the planet we live on. Current education reform simply ignores this and talks about growth and jobs as if there are no trade-offs, sustainability problems, or damage with our current trajectory.

    Financially our current trajectory has led to downsizing, outsourcing, and flattening of wages. These trends maximize corporate profit, and will continue unless an alternative competing power and value system emerges. Yet Waiting for Superman is promising us that by 2020 there will be 120 million high pay, high skill jobs. “Trust us.” That’s one such job for every man, woman, and child living in the U.S. today! That is preposterous on its face.

    The same elliptical promises were made regarding housing values, based on unsustainable growth that ignored fundamentals and other important developments. These promises also masked the way this hype benefited insiders and covered up comprehensive systemic fraud and manipulation. That bill is now coming due.

    I want students that cannot only think but ACT for themselves and with their communities, enlarge individual and collective awareness, imagination, and effectiveness. This requires developing specific and general, present and future-oriented, grass roots abilities applied to the democratic challenges at hand, not to some dream or vision supplied by kingmakers.

    What communism, Soviet socialism, and crony capitalism all have in common is that they are 1) top-down, and 2) failed philosophies shown by actual practical conditions. I’m not in favor of any of them for those reasons.

    You seem to favor rigorous, critical understanding, but this should be applied not only to academic skills but citizenship awareness.

    Regarding the points you made:
    1) 1.1 decades is a long time for flattening wages, and far more than a blip. It’s a trend and cannot, in my analysis, simply be averaged in over the long haul. Job seekers young and old are not living a long-term average, but rather the reality. Many people who bought houses at the peak of the housing bubble will never recover their investment. That’s the uncomfortable reality not hysteria. The reality simply does not match with the myths.

    2) U.S. has been a debt-fueled society since the 1980′s when Reagan ramped up the “borrow and spend” tradition in government. That is also when deregulation allowed the exponential financialization of U.S. industry and GDP. (Check the numbers on this and good books like Ken Phillips’s “Wealth and Democracy”, they will back what I am saying up.) There was some surplus in the Clinton years but this did little to interrupt the development of a debt-driven economy.

    3) True, lower income Californians can get tuition waivers, but you also have to get accepted (okay, given the college prep emphasis of many charter schools). We’ll see how this holds out with the current budget problems. Personally, I’d like to see free public colleges brought back. This tuition does not cover living expenses, however, which are considerable.

  • charterteach

    Zeus-

    …”why couldn’t parents and communities find a way to start and accredit low-cost, entrepreneurial, innovative colleges centered around directly addressing the emerging problems of today….”

    Im sorry. You have an inner city disconnect. That is upper middle class speak- that is how people can see where you are coming from.

    Intellectuals will not address the core issues of inner city schools. It takes a fighter.

    By the way…there are plenty of entrepenuers in the inner city, some selling drugs, but why would they want college? That is the disconnect you have.

  • gdanning

    Zeus:

    1. I don’t know how you interpreted my post as advocating the status quo.

    2. You might or might not have valid concerns, but her is some friendly advice: no one is going to follow you if you don’t enhance your credibility by doing three things:

    a. Eliminate gross factual errors. For example, you say that 120 million high skill, high wage by 2020 will mean “one such job for every man, woman, and child living in the U.S. today!” Well, no, given that the Census Bureau’s estimate of the US population as of July 2010 is 307,006,550. For another example, you acknowledge that low income students do not pay tuition at UC schools, but then imply that few students get accepted. Are you not aware that 39% of UC students come from families that make under $50K? http://www.dailynexus.com/2010-10-04/uc-serves-income-ca-families/ And, remember, the tuition waiver applies to those whose families make under 70K. And, those are not all charter school kids (as you also imply); Oakland High routinely sends dozens of students to UC schools.

    b. Clarify your main ideas. Your initial post starts by strongly implying that it is a waste of time for kids to get a 4-year degree, because jobs won’t be there. Then, later, you talk about kids getting educated and bringing their skills back to the community. Is your point that we have overemphasized science education at the expense of liberal arts and the social sciences? And that we would be a happier society if we focused less on creating more wealth and more on equitably and sustainably distributing the wealth that we already have? If so, then say so clearly. I can’t figure out what your main point, and I ain’t THAT stupid, so your writing can’t be very clear. If you do clarify your points, you might find that many agree with you (perhaps even me; after meeting many many former students who are now at Cal, and having practically every one of them tell me that he or she is studying Molecular and Cell Biology, imagine my delight in running into one yesterday who plans to study human rights law)

    3. Divorce your arguments from speculation about the future. You might think think that flattening wages are “not just a blip” or that people who bought at the height of the housing market will never get their value back (BTW, what is the relevance of that), but why should anyone believe your opinion? You’re an educational consultant. What do you know? What do I know? What does anyone on here know?

    4. Divorce your arguments from cheap, run-of-the-mill rhetoric. “Corporate profits are up.” Yeah, so? There are only two things that corporations do with profits, in the long run: they will either invest those profits in R&D (creating more jobs) or pay those profits out in dividends (most of which goes to retirement funds). Is that going to motivate people to follow you into vast structural reform.

    To sum up, you seem to be calling on people to follow you into a brave new world, which is fine. But given the present state of your rhetoric, don’t be surprised if people are reluctant — on the “crackpot to visionary” scale, unfortunately you currently come across closer to the former end than to the latter.

  • Shawn

    Offer ideas to solve the problem- I will give you one; why dont you move to the ghetto, live and feel the desperateness and hoplessness all around , 24/7 with your family and child and see what ideas you disseminate then?

    You dont need to listen to me, but you will deal with me, and others like me who have been raised in desperate times and will either challenge you or take from you.

    Not everyone are pimps, players, whores and hustlers in the ghetto- but many are! I tell you what we do not have , doctors, lawyers, or educational consultants; not a one! This is the reality. We are not Waiting for Superman; thats just a movie, we are waiting for you to give us an excuse or handout and that has been the ghettos mistake!

    So you are not on government subsidies, nor, (i assume) you collecting coprporate dollars – considering your anti corporate billionaire rants- so who pays you?

    I dont care, my opnion is give people their tax dollars and let them do what they want with it. Radical yes, coimpetitive yes, will happen-NO! Learning consultants will not support it until they feel it.

    An unit is open in my building on the 60′s block!

  • Chauncey

    What crack me up about all this on this blog is that people actually think one will change another’s mind! Its dumb. This is just a drama, smut posting site where one can stand on an anonymous crate and rant and accuse.

    No use. This is the new media? The blogosphere will return to haunt us – you will soon see. If everyone blogs for a source of media, than media (newspapers) are all blogs.

    Zeus- too many like you – why black kids are being destroyed.

  • Zeus

    For those interested in a different view on education reform, particularly teachers, I recommended the recently conducted and recorded session at Learn Central (description below)…

    http://www.learncentral.org/event/106358

    Name: Elevating the Education Reform Dialog
    Event Type: Web Event
    Event Creator: Steve Hargadon
    When: Mon October 04, 2010, 14:00-17:00, US/Pacific (GMT-08:00)*Find your local time zone here.
    Participant URL: http://tr.im/futureofed
    Repeats: none
    Calendar: Community Calendar
    Short Description: FutureofEducation.com and Edutopia — a two-hour live and interactive look at Ed Reform
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    Between the NBC “Education Nation” Summit, Waiting for Superman, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark city schools, there has been a lot of media attention focused on the topic of education reform. Unfortunately, much of it has excluded actual educators, let alone students. Furthermore, and perhaps as a consequence, the dialog has become divisive, blaming, and ultimately counter-productive.

    FutureofEducation.com and Edutopia [collaborated] on a two-hour live and interactive look at “Elevating the Education Reform Dialog” [on Monday, October 4] –an online discussion with special guests and specifically for educators, to help move past the bashing and to engage in a constructive conversation about the best way forward.

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    Date: Monday, October 4, 2010
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    Duration: 2 hours
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    Event and Recording Page: http://www.learncentral.org/event/106358
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  • Zeus

    Gordon,

    2 a) My reference was a typo. I meant to say one job for about every 2.55 men, women, and children (120 million “high skill, high pay jobs”/307 million people). If one takes the highest estimate of population for the U.S. in 2020 (360 million), that is still an entirely untenable 1 out of 3. To give perspective, to total employment today is only around 140-150 million. When one hears such extreme estimates, especially in the face of disappearing jobs, including those that are high skills, one questions the motives and wisdom of the presenter.

    b) My issue is not with the need for higher education but with the promises and purposes therewith. Higher level thinking is going to be increasingly necessary, but more so, as time goes on, in the context of community and global collaboration to meet unprecedented problems and trends. If rosy job forecasts do not pan out, there needs to be an alternative purpose and use for higher level skills. Currently colleges do not provide that to any appreciable degree– i.e. showing how to create jobs not just qualify to be hired, enhance community exchange, identify a need and find a way to organize a business and/or a community group to address it, whether your endeavor is paid or not. There needs to be a diversification not only beyond science and math, but beyond merely academic knowledge largely disconnected from real-world challenges and trends.

    3) Much of what I am offering is not speculation, but empirical trends that are being ignored. There is a tendency by many to still believe that global warming is speculation, even as empirical evidence and almost unanimous scientific consensus confirms this. The conventional thinking on the housing market was that it would only go up, but if one examines the fundamentals, as I did and a few critically minded people, we knew we had an unsustainable bubble. I’ve been in education reform for 20 years, and the arguments are essentially the same as they were 20 years ago, and the results through those years don’t support merely continuing on that vein as a systemic solution. It may work to bring those 30 disadvantaged applicants out of 767 into a decent school (most of which were started through some kind of community organizing) and closer to their individual career goals, but it does not provide a community or larger-level basis for people to share and link their individual talents to meet the tough, recalcitrant environmental, political, and economic challenges of our time. The current educational reform mindset is still only job-focused and only individual-focused. I’m simply arguing not that that is illegitimate nor that it has no value, only that it is fatally narrow and/or misrepresentative of emerging realities.

    4) Corporate profits are empirically NOT being plowed into R & D (except in areas where it is an absolute necessity to the growth of the company, i.e. pharmaceutical), and dividends are being cut back to preserve capital in many corporations. I encourage you to research and verify this. The nearly universal corporate trend is to gut R & D and payroll to effect short term boosts in earnings. The stockpiled capital is being used to buy stock in one’s own company to artificially elevate the price, which allows maximum bonuses for the top executives. Private equity firms have taken over scores of companies like Sealy, Serta, and Simmons mattress companies, hollowed out R & D as well as quality to boost profits, sold these companies between them, and then left them for dead once every profitable aspect has been fully exploited and stripped. I’m in favor of connected profit, with a triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit), and there are some shining examples of good corporate citizenship (Costco being one), but these are in the unfortunate minority.

    I am not calling people to follow me into a brave new world but rather to create this brave new world together through the development and exchange of future-oriented intelligence and character. The individual hero-leader model is inadequate and a product of industrial thinking. Leadership, for me, is showing others how to develop and exert their own leadership, just as my job as teacher is not simply to get others to learn, but rather learn how they learn. No compartmentalized individual or elite group has the experience or intellect to take on the complex, comprehensive problems we face. We need an array of communities with entrepreneurial, committed citizens linking together to provide the necessary power to make effective change. We need to develop that ability as well as that democratic, social infrastructure. I’m doing my best to work on that.

  • Nextset

    Re the last paragraph above.

    Do you believe intelligence is something that is given to people in school?

    is that why you believe the Achievement Gap can be closed by the public schools?

    It can’t, you know.

  • Zeus

    Intelligence is not and cannot be “given” in schools or any other environment. It must be evoked, developed, and connected. If schools are unwilling to do this, than it must be done elsewhere.

    Intelligence is something drawn out, though a proper educational process, from the fiber of individual existence/experience and life and hopefully connected to the larger body of knowledge we enjoy as a human race. Everyone is intelligent, but not everyone’s intelligence has been connected to the world in meaningful or useful ways.

    Present schooling largely denies the innateness of meaning-making and intelligence and seeks to replace it with objectified ideas and “training” to serve some outside, usually inequitable and unsustainable interest.

    If we are interested in preserving the planet, it is my contention that we must stop reinforcing the industrial system of intelligence usury (training, “cramming in” knowledge) and find better ways to evoke and connect the knowledge available and coming into existence with our younger generations, that is bottom-up, rather than top-down.

  • Nextset

    Zeus: So it seems you believe intelligence can be grown (“evoked, developed and connected”, etc) in our public schools.

    And presumably if we produce dumb minority students, it’s because the public school teachers didn’t do their job correctly – not because of any shortcoming in the minority students. It would follow that you feel that if we produce smart jewish students it is also because they had very good teachers – so good, in fact, the jewish students were accordingly made extra smart.

    Is this how you explain the results we are seeing nationally in the stats for minority and jewish student achievement and achievement gaps?

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Verifiable trends and research confirm my thesis, wishful thinking notwithstanding. Nobel economist, Paul Krugman (March 7, 2011) concludes in the following article: “What we can’t do is get where we need to go just by giving workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that don’t exist or don’t pay middle-class wages.”

    The comments from many readers to Krugman’s article detailing their higher education and high-tech training which now sits on the shelf is even more stirring. I encourage readers to check out the reality on the ground, and not simply resort to comforting ideals.

    Yes, having a college degree is a significant advantage over not having one, but it does not guarantee a high-paying job. More and more it is simply a necessity in competing for a lower-paying job, one above the poverty line, but not one which is the ticket to “living large.”

    Furthermore, with the skyrocketing costs of college and the debt incurred, it may not actually make economic sense to always pursue a college degree, unless, as I have mentioned above, you are going to college for reasons that go beyond a mere job– learning about life, the history of ideas, how to appreciate art, and how to build community.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/opinion/07krugman.html

    Degrees and Dollars
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: March 6, 2011

    COMMENTS (565)

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. That’s why, in an appearance Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Obama declared that “If we want more good news on the jobs front then we’ve got to make more investments in education.”

    But what everyone knows is wrong.

    The day after the Obama-Bush event, The Times published an article about the growing use of software to perform legal research. Computers, it turns out, can quickly analyze millions of documents, cheaply performing a task that used to require armies of lawyers and paralegals. In this case, then, technological progress is actually reducing the demand for highly educated workers.

    And legal research isn’t an isolated example. As the article points out, software has also been replacing engineers in such tasks as chip design. More broadly, the idea that modern technology eliminates only menial jobs, that well-educated workers are clear winners, may dominate popular discussion, but it’s actually decades out of date.

    The fact is that since 1990 or so the U.S. job market has been characterized not by a general rise in the demand for skill, but by “hollowing out”: both high-wage and low-wage employment have grown rapidly, but medium-wage jobs — the kinds of jobs we count on to support a strong middle class — have lagged behind. And the hole in the middle has been getting wider: many of the high-wage occupations that grew rapidly in the 1990s have seen much slower growth recently, even as growth in low-wage employment has accelerated.

    Why is this happening? The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.

    Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules — a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors — will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.

    And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.

    And then there’s globalization. Once, only manufacturing workers needed to worry about competition from overseas, but the combination of computers and telecommunications has made it possible to provide many services at long range. And research by my Princeton colleagues Alan Blinder and Alan Krueger suggests that high-wage jobs performed by highly educated workers are, if anything, more “offshorable” than jobs done by low-paid, less-educated workers. If they’re right, growing international trade in services will further hollow out the U.S. job market.

    So what does all this say about policy?

    Yes, we need to fix American education. In particular, the inequalities Americans face at the starting line — bright children from poor families are less likely to finish college than much less able children of the affluent — aren’t just an outrage; they represent a huge waste of the nation’s human potential.

    But there are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

    So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

    What we can’t do is get where we need to go just by giving workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that don’t exist or don’t pay middle-class wages.

    A version of this op-ed appeared in print on March 7, 2011, on page A21 of the New York edition.

    Selection of reader comments:

    29. clem healy
    New York, NY
    March 7th, 2011
    10:04 am
    When I went to college a long long time ago. I earned a couple of degrees in engineering and much later a degree in nursing. By the time I retired, I came to the realization that I had no real education. All I had done was learn a couple of trades. There was a time when a college education meant studying the Arts and Humanities. Perhaps it’s time to stop the emphasis on advanced education as synonymous with a well paying job, and start to value it as it was for so long; a way to learn critical thinking and appreciate music, literature and art. I went back to school at age 73 and regret having to play “catch up” so late in life.
    I don’t mean to minimize the need to earn a respectable living, I just am trying to say that there is more to life, much more, than focusing so narrowly on education as solely a means earning a higher paycheck.

    81.Edmund Dantes
    Stratford,CT
    March 7th, 2011
    10:47 am
    Keep in mind that an excess of educated young people with no job prospects is what is fueling the arab revolutions right now.

    83. chaotician
    New Mexico
    March 7th, 2011
    10:49 am
    Isn’t that the truth! My fields of Engineering, computer science, MIS have a decreasing number of jobs; where organizations had 100s of software engineers they now have global teams of dozens. Look at the jobs poised for removal; Almost all Health Insurance and Health Billing jobs are worse than useless; Brokers are now as likely to be Computer algorithms as actual people; legal work is 90% arcane ceremony that will rapidly disappear; computer hardware is disappearing into the cloud along with the software which becomes ubiquitous and largely created from models… who knows, perhaps we will find that politicians really are useless parasites and AI is far superior!

    233.Logan
    Portland, OR
    March 7th, 2011
    12:42 pm
    College degree? Please. I’m 14 months out of law school. I live with my parents, work nights at a bar, volunteer with legal aid, and am running for city council. If I win the election, I’ll receive the princely sum of $300 per month. Meanwhile, I have $80k+ in student loans that I cannot envision myself ever paying off short of winning the (job) lottery.

    I’d gladly trade my law degree for a NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certificate, but law still looked like a decent career in 2007 when I enrolled. Oops.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Oops grammar mistake second paragraph, “comments… ARE more stirring.”

  • Harold

    “The goal, employees say, is getting “starts”: students who fill out the paperwork for student loans and make it through at least four weeks of their first five-week course. That is the point at which the university is able to keep the student’s federal aid money, regardless of whether they continue their studies. After that, according to the Ashford employees, any form of counseling drastically drops off.

    “There were numerous times when I enrolled students and thought, ‘All I’ve got to do is babysit them for four weeks,’” said a former leader in the admissions department, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified because he is still employed at another for-profit university. “I’d be thinking, ‘Come on, this person is clearly not ready to go to school.’ But I’d call you, pump you up, keep you confident for four weeks, and once I knew you completed, you were forgotten. It’s easy when I’m counting the money.”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney04152011.html

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis
  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Yet further confirmation of the points I am making. The absurd assertion in Waiting for Superman that there will be 120 high paying, high skill jobs by 2020, is contradicted by the facts. A new study by the New America Foundation, a respected non-partisan think tank, shows the exact opposite is happening: the number of low-pay, lower skill jobs is INCREASING as a share of the American economy. The webpage and video can be found at: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/america-middle-class-crisis-sobering-facts-141947274.html

    Summary of points and data from the above webpage:

    Two recessions, a couple of market crashes, and stubbornly high unemployment are all wreaking havoc on America’s middle class.

    In the accompanying interview, The Daily Ticker’s Aaron Task discusses the state of the middle class with Sherle Schwenninger, director of economic growth and American strategy programs at the New America Foundation. Schwenninger’s recent report “The American Middle Class Under Stress” has some stunning facts that highlight the struggles the average American is having getting a decent-paying job and keeping up with rising cost of living.
    Here are just some of the sobering facts:

    – There are 8.5 million people receiving unemployment insurance and over 40 million receiving food stamps.
    – At the current pace of job creation, the economy won’t return to full employment until 2018.
    – Middle-income jobs are disappearing from the economy. The share of middle-income jobs in the United States has fallen from 52% in 1980 to 42% in 2010.
    – Middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-income jobs, which now make up 41% of total employment.
    – 17 million Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.
    – Over the past year, nominal wages grew only 1.7% while all consumer prices, including food and energy, increased by 2.7%.
    – Wages and salaries have fallen from 60% of personal income in 1980 to 51% in 2010. Government transfers have risen from 11.7% of personal income in 1980 to 18.4% in 2010, a post-war high.

    The bottom line is simple says Schwenninger: The middle class is shrinking, which threatens the social composition and stability of the world’s biggest economy. “I worry that we’re becoming a barbell society – a lot of money wealth and power at the top, increasing hollowness at the center, which I think provides the stability and the heart and soul of the society… and then too many people in fear of falling down.”

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    The fruits of the trends I identify keep bearing themselves out. http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/news/economy/1105/gallery.lost_generation/index.html

    Perhaps, as with housing market, people will say, “But, who could have predicted that the recession/depression would last so long?” as jobs dwindle and wages decrease in an accelerated fashion even for college grads. What I pointed out in my analysis, is that this is entirely predictable based on the trend over the past decade, skyrocketing higher education costs coupled with shrinking wages in a globalized economy that is outsourcing even medium-level technical jobs. How could it not go this way?

    Without a supply of jobs, education has to begin to have other purposes. These people profiled in these case stories are finding those other purposes.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis
  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Now we see the situation really emerging with real affects on the well-being of Americans. Jobs, even high-skill jobs, are being eliminated permanently. What I talked about in the article, that a community-driven response was needed to meet the lack response by government and private business, seems more and more valid.

    Here a website with stories of the long-term unemployed. I picked this one because it’s from a teacher that was laid off after 15 years, and has yet to find another job after years.

    http://downbutnotoutletters.tumblr.com/post/8084499323/im-not-stupid-but-i-sure-have-been-made-to-feel-that

  • Nextset

    It seems the people in OR and WA don’t have quite the same problems with their economies. Texas either.

    Could there be something about the People’s Republic of California that makes it no longer economically viable?

    I’d suggest the unemployed migrate out of here fast – and get on the economic ladders in the less Socialist States. There is economic growth going on elsewhere – and while things aren’t perfect in the other states the lower classes clearly have better schools and better quality of life elsewhere, such as OR with no sales tax, etc..

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Nextset, Perhaps you should read the rest of the stories including ones from Oregon and Washington and Texas to know this is a widespread thing.

    http://downbutnotoutletters.tumblr.com/archive

    Here, for instance, is a former chemist living in Oregon who returned to get a masters in teaching, loves teaching students, and cannot get a job: http://downbutnotoutletters.tumblr.com/post/7534933522/i-am-active-in-my-community-something-i-would-do-even

    This woman is highly educated, highly motivated, highly skilled, passionate, community-oriented and has NO JOB! I am not a liberal myself, finding both “left” and “right” are leading in the wrong direction. (I am a progressive, as in the direction “forward”) However, I love the way liberalism/socialism gets blamed for the situation we are in, when it is corporate outsourcing and downsizing and financial fraud that has been demonstrated to create this mess.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Even getting menial jobs to pay for college is getting harder for young people because unemployed older adults are swallowing them up just to make ends meet for their families: http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-6053-summer-of-our-discontent.html

  • Nextset

    Zues: I am convinced that the deliberate outsourcing of American jobs and Industry was the wrong thing to do and was forseeably wrong. Do I blame that on liberals? Yes. There are two things going on in the destruction of the USA. Liberalism/Collectivism/Socialism – which is a cancer and destroys civilization and economies, and the One World/New World Order/Anti-Nationalism movement which also has it’s agenda in destroying the US as it was historically and replacing it with a 3rd world cesspool (not referring to the people although thay are included, but the living conditions primarily). Both these philosophies are “liberal” to the core.

    They are both hard at work in Europe destabilizing them and it’s possible Europe will degenerate/collapse first.

    People should understand – when the collapse comes (ie no police, no electrical power, no food distribution, closed & barricaded freeways, rape gangs in the streets, “Katrina-like” conditions – it will happen fast. Conditions will go from what passes for normal to that in a matter of weeks. Or so the argument goes.

    It wouldn’t happen that way in a stronger society that was cohesive, such as US around the time of the Great Depression or Pearl Harbor. The liberal policies which combine anti-nationalism and Marxism pretty much guarantee it will be every animal for themselves.

    Check out this Youtube Video from 1958 about Oakland and it’s economic viability:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_eHYfhSMQM

    This is largely ruined now by liberal policy that destroyed local industry, produced rampant crime largely by welfare bred & publicly “educated” blacks (such as armed robberies at restaurants in Jack London Square and now Piedmont Ave), destroyed what was once one of the best secondary school systems in the country and drove productive populations out of town and out of state. The black feral underclass is in turn slated to be eaten by the coming Mexican replacements for them. This is already happening in Southern CA where black gang territory is being ethnicly cleansed (by bullets) by the Mexican Gangs. That process is steadily moving north.

    And I agree the Republicians helped or let this happen. Perhaps the Tea Party as it grows and comes to greater power will reverse some of this decline. They are Nationalist and they are not liberal. More likely the US will partition into white retreat states and minority 3rd world states (such as CA) – whatever is going to occur, the pace of change is accelerating.

    As far as the teacher not finding a job as a teacher – so what? You have to understand, schools are a luxury you find in a functioning industrial society. As we decline into a 3rd world cesspool, you are NOT going to have any kind of public school system you were used to from the 1960s. Do you see such schools in Mexico, Sub Sahara Africa, or wherever we are importing our replacement people from? Exactly why do you think the Nigerians and Ethiopians are here – on student visas that become green cards – for the good weather?

    You cannot have a “school” in a 3rd world welfare state. County Hospitals either. Police and Fire services as we had them either. Say goodbye to the libraries soon also.

    Which is why I think we need a lot less liberalism. Only my opinion. Whatever will be will be. We have a Governor who thinks an academic is a suitable Supreme Court appointee – so presumably this candidate can tell us how we have to live (you know liberals use the appellate courts as their private legislature). I once appeared before Rose Bird at the State Supreme Court. It’s interesting to look such a person in the eye. But then I have friends who interviewed Idi Amin and many other such worthies.

    Maybe we both agree that conditions in CA are bad and should be put back to the way they once were.

    That is not likely to happen. This infection is going to run it’s course.

    Brave New World.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    I certainly agree that both corporate welfare (triumphed by neo-conservatives) and state welfare (triumphed by neo-liberals) are both part of the problem. The problem is not from liberal vs. conservative but authoritarianism vs. democracy and top-down vs. grass-roots. Economic vitality is dependent upon thriving small businesses and communities. State welfare destroys this by making citizens dependent upon state entitlements for their survival. Corporate welfare destroys this through Wal-Martification that advantages large corporate monopolies.

    I don’t buy this demonization of liberalism in general as the source of problems. It has failed, clearly, to effectively confront the abuses of big business. But it is plastic-suit conservatives like Romney and Rick Perry that embrace neo-liberal economics, meaning no regulation, that allows big companies to extinguish small business. CA education decline can be traced directly to Proposition 13, a decision to regulate taxes out of tune with the actual reasonable appraised value of houses. Prop 13 was also championed by conservatives. Plutocrats on one side (neo-conservatives) and bureaucrats and technocrats on the other (neo-liberals) will only make the problem worse.

    Both have a sense of entitlement at odds with reality. That is why I argue for community-based, small-business based economies and education. I am not a neo-liberal or a neo-conservative. I’d like to say I am a third old school conservative (personal responsibility, limited government, no entangling foreign wars, respect for wisdom of traditions), a third old-school liberal (concern for the “least among us,” advocate for equality and opportunity, social responsibility), and a third new-school progressive (grass-roots organizing, creative, practical responses to real problems, community-based solutions, etc.)

    You take the best of traditions and you leave the worst. You promote the best character, ideas, and practices in people (ones that create productivity and help others) and you firmly defeat the worst (ones that exploit and abuse others). I frankly don’t care what political affiliation allows you to do it. Just do it. Offer something to make people whole or complain on the sideline.

    Some of the possible solutions can be surprising. Here is an interview with me advocating for debt forgiveness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCARZPGliqU
    I’m sure there are conservative, liberal, AND progressive good ideas. Let’s support them and let’s defeat the bad ideas.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    I told you so may seem tiresome, so why not simply let the data tell you so. The high education jobs are disappearing not increasing. People with PhD’s tripled their use of food stamps to 33,655 and people with Master’s degrees also tripled their use of food stamps to 293,039. Overall food stamp usage up 43% to 43.6 million Americans. So much for the high-tech, high-ed, high-pay jobs promised by reform so-called experts. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/food-stamps-phd-recipients-2007-2010_n_1495353.html?icid=maing-grid7#s609260&title=10_South_Carolina

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    Why not add to the list? Young people, even from highly reputed higher education institutions in high-tech, high-skill, majors are not receiving jobs. Now what do you tell them? http://www.newgeography.com/content/002960-are-millennials-screwed-generation

  • Nextset

    Smart young people I know are doing very well actually. They are well employed and some are establishing their own businesses.

    Stupid young people are underemployed and unemployed.

    In the boom years, stupid people were taken care of in the economy. Socialism has killed those times and the future looks far worse.

    The best thing one can do for stupid people is to teach them obediance to smart people – and how to make themselves useful so they will be kept around.

  • Zeus Yiamouyiannis

    I’d like to see those stories. Everyone always “knows someone” doing well when it suits their argument. (Often it’s just one or two, or they are merely making it up.) However, it is the system reality that pulls the most weight. If an overwhelming number of young job seekers are not getting jobs, the simpler explanation than, “They’re stupid,” is that there aren’t available jobs. How do you simply create your own jobs en masse when everyone is trying to do the same and have each other as a customer?

    Your mentality is typical of those clinging to the old and failed ways. Double down on what doesn’t work. Ignore the concrete reality and trends and just chalk up every structural problem to personal failure. To really acknowledge a broken system would be too much for you to consider so you’d rather blame the people suffering the consequences rather than pitch in to develop a new and effective way.

  • 1day at a time

    The California Competes Council found that the state needs 5 ½ million new college degrees and technical certificates by the year 2025. But, without major changes, California will fall 2.3 million short.

    I have seen this figure as low as 1 million short, but everyone agrees the state is screwed if we don’t solve the education crisis in the state because the economy will depend on having enough graduates Then again, *Paging India on line 1*, we’ll be fine.

    http://californiacompetes.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CaCompetes_Report_Final-2.pdf