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

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looking to Strike it Rich on Wall Street - Settling for TFA

During most years, a fresh crop of Ivy League graduates pack up their belongings and make the trek to New York City in search of their golden ticket to the opulent class.  And during most years, the banks and Wall Street investment firms would provide 6-figure salaries for many of these young pawns looking for their slice of the casino capitalism pie.  But this year is certainly different - as the article below describes.  What avenues are open for those who were "hoping to strike it rich on Wall Street?"  I won't give away any answers.  From the New York Observer:
June 11, 2009 | 4:00 p.m

Ever since the U.S. economy started sinking, countless TV news correspondents and anchors have set out on cross-country road trips to touch base with how Americans in the heartland are coping with the downturn.

Next week on PBS'sNewsHourJudy Woodruffwill check in with a slightly more rarefied demographic of folks struggling to make it in this dire economy—namely, the next generation of college kids hoping to strike it rich on Wall Street.

The piece is part of an ongoing series, called Generation Next, in which Ms. Woodruff interviews young Americans—from would-be car workers in Michigan to future wind-turbine mechanics in Oklahoma—as they try and get their careers jump-started despite one of the worst job markets in the past century. The resulting pieces air on PBS and NPR.

For the story about the prospects of would-be Wall Streeters, Ms. Woodruff spent several days at Duke University (her alma mater!) in late April on the eve of graduation. There, she meets a handful of finance majors hoping to land high-paying gigs in New York, only to find their dreams of post-collegiate life in Murray Hill momentarily thwarted.

"It used to be assumed that if you were good at math and you had any interest at all in finance and economics that this was a great career," said Ms. Woodruff. "You could go to New York. You could work for this successful institution. The world was your oyster."

"What we found, ultimately, was that banks this year expect to hire 70 percent fewer people than they did last year," said Ms. Woodruff. "Some of the students we interviewed had internships that in the past almost always led to job offers, but in these cases didn't," she added. "Instead, a lot of these kids are doing Teach For America. They are working at nonprofits. They're going to grad school. They're completely rethinking what they want to do with their lives as a result of this."

If it sounds like a nice opportunity for schadenfreude, Ms. Woodruff's choice of subjects—which favors kids from modest backgrounds rather than say, captains of the lacrosse team—promises to stir up some sympathy from viewers. Not to mention more angst for PBS-watching parents.

"Nationally, two years ago, 51 percent of college grads had a job as of graduation day," said Ms. Woodruff. "This year it's something like 19 percent."

"I think it's bleak everywhere," she added.

The roughly nine-and-a-half-minute story will air on The NewsHour on Monday, June 15.

Tune into PBS tonight to see a puff piece that is certain to portray TFA as an army of courageous knights on a crusade to save public education.  Will they mention how these ill-prepared TFAers, who were "looking to strike it rich on Wall Street," are taking the jobs of professionally-trained and experienced teachers - who are out of a job mostly because of the very same financial sector these young TFAers would have eagerly joined in a "normal" year?

1 comment:

  1. The past two decades have seen a serious run at destroying America's system of universal public education for the sake of the global economy and maximum profit making. Call these folks what you will--the Business Roundtable, corporatists, Reagan Revolutionaries, neoliberals, disciples of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, privatizers, money-grubbing vultures--their objective was always clear. They wanted Americas children educated into their service. They wanted servants on the road to outright slavery.

    Some of their number stepped up in a big way. There was of course Bill Gates who is the nerdish face of the movement. There was America's first family of fascism, the Waltons. They wanted children trained for the tedium of Walmart jobs as early as possible. And there was the decrepit one, Eli Broad, who has maybe done more damage to the nation's children than any other human being on Earth.

    Well there is good news around Eli Broad today. No he has not died. It's better than that. The foundation of all the money he uses to fashion his attack on public education, KB Home, has been downgraded to "sell" by Goldman Sachs, the people in charge of the US economy now. The share price of Broad's baby has dropped quite precipitously today over that.

    There's nothing like a bit of good news to brighten up a Monday morning. And remember, Boycott Bing, Gates is counting on it to punch up Microsoft's earnings. This has always been about economic warfare and the sooner we hit back the better.