"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Plans for Hostile Takeover of New Jersey High Schools Continues Unabated

In March we reported on a meeting we attended in Long Branch that was designed to scare the unwary public into believing that New Jersey high schools are going to hell in a handbasket and, therefore, in need of rescue by Achieve, Inc., the Business Roundtable and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. Now a new meeting is coming up Wednesday in Maplewood, New Jersey. Here are some reasons for you to be there.

If this national and local effort were just a harmless PR campaign to divert attention away from the accelerating exportation of American jobs, this would not be such a big deal. But what is at stake is the soul, the heart, and the legs of American public education. Will public education continue to strive to serve the diverse educational needs of a democratic republic, or will public high schools become corporate training and testing camps for the 21st Century? Be assured--nothing less than the future of the public high school is at stake here.

So this coming Wednesday when the Achieve, Inc. powerpointers begin with their song and dance about the need for more college graduates with high tech degrees, be prepared to share some of the reality. It is not the fault of the American high school that every job that is not nailed down is headed offshore, and it is not the fault of the American high school that the American jobs of the future will be mainly dead-end service work. These realities have resulted in corporate-government decisions, or indecision, as the case may be.

Some facts:
The chart at left (click it to enlarge) shows the type of job growth and job disappearance over the past 20 quarters since 2001, as more and more jobs get exported to cheaper foreign job markets. That line that spiking off the chart? Those are the most dynamic sources of American job growth--dead-end jobs requiring less than a high school education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, eight of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2014 do not require a bachelor's degree.

Even more graphic is this Table 3, Occupations with the largest job growth, 2004-14, in "Occupational employment projections to 2014," published in the November 2005 Monthly Labor Review. It shows that only five of the thirty jobs with the largest projected growth throught 2014 require a bachelors degree or above. These five jobs requiring bachelors degrees will constitute only 16% of the total number of jobs with the largest job growth. One of the top thirty, registered nurses, will require an associates degree (8% of the total number of jobs with the largest job growth).

The majority of those who are lucky enough to go to college will graduate with debt burdens to Nelnet and Sallie Mae that would choke a horse. Barbara Ehrenreich points out that this harsh reality makes for desperate, resume-padding job seekers who are willing to do anything their potential bosses may ask them to do:
Or maybe what attracts employers to college grads is the scent of desperation. Unless your parents are rich and doting, you will walk away from commencement with a debt averaging $20,000 and no health insurance. Employers can safely bet that you will not be a trouble-maker, a whistle-blower or any other form of non-"team-player." You will do anything. You will grovel.
So if you would like to join the effort to tell the real story behind this attempted hostile takeover of the American high school, be at Columbia High School this coming Wednesday evening.

To make it easy to get there, I have clipped this from the official website:

Event:Columbia High School--South Orange-Maplewood, 17 Parker Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040
(973) 378-5269 Fax (973) 378-7607
Description:Our world is changing – but are New Jersey’s high schools changing with it? Join us for a conversation on our state’s high schools. At each meeting, a variety of topics relating to the future of New Jersey’s high schools will be discussed [bring your prepared notes and line up to speak--they have two microphones waiting to hear from you].
Time:7:00 p.m.
Location:17 Parker Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Click here to register for this event

Directions: Click here for customized driving directions

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