Education is Killing The Middle Class
An Update (11/4/2015): The Department of Education just released a report that says Liberal Arts Degrees are not as good as Science Degrees. Duh! Why would the say such a thing other than to soften the blow on our economy. The truth is our economy has gotten worse because even more so, college students can’t get jobs and the ones who are most impacted by that are those who take the liberal arts degrees which are easier to get. But here is the truth all over again. Noting has changed. The middle class is a reflection of the productivity of our school systems. The product coming out of our schools is not feeding the middle class with what it needs to survive. Our president claims he represents the middle class; but just how significant is that representation? Is this a reality after seeing what is happening now in our economy? Well yes and no. Yes, there is a middle class, but it has become an ever smaller insignificant minority of the population. The video below sheds light on the problem. More and more college graduates are not able to find jobs. The video also implies, and rightly so, that the upper class and the lower class, the haves and the have nots, are increasing and the middle is exponentially slipping away. Its degradation is signaling a future where the economy will reach a breaking point. Many think we should continue to spend money, more and more money, on education. That would be OK if we were getting from education what we need to keep this economic system growing.
But we are not. And we continue to deny we have a problem in education. We claim we need to improve it but that claim has been going on for decades and the quality of the product our education system generates is deteriorating. If we don’t begin “really” fixing the problem, we will see the burden of this failure continue to be placed on the shoulders of those who have managed to train and educate themselves to gain success. The few successful try to stay ahead and they are the ones who are proactively helping the system grow. But there are not enough of them coming out of our education system. In fact, the numbers tell a not so remarkable, dismal story. That successful group is dwindling quickly and being asked to give more and more to the less fortunate. They just cannot afford it much longer. Raising taxes on the rich is not kicking the can down the road; it is kicking a 50 gallon drum; a drum that will turn into a bomb. That bomb will not blow up the economy; it will cause the economy to implode on its self. And a simple look at the direction education is headed in this country explains it all.
Let us get one thing straight. The teachers are trying to do their best and they are heroically fighting an up hill battle. The government is so ingrained in the system that the teachers are quite literally being stifled in their efforts. The unions support the government by donating over 95% of their donations to one party. That does not reflect the educator population. Those donations takes care of the unions and the politicians and educational government organizations. These non-educator entities keep growing. It is a golden goose paid for by taxpayers who pay teacher salaries. Teachers are forced to pay union dues. If we could take away that parasite and put a lot more dollars in the system to help teachers help the students, we could change the rotten egg given our teachers and children into gold. School houses run by small communities and private universities ages ago did just fine until the government stepped in. First things first, let’s get the Federal Government out of it and bring unions under control. Let state governments run their own system. Get unions, the Department of Education and the politicians out of the business of sapping millions of dollars out of the system and putting very little value in. Look at every dollar leaving the system and stop that leak. Union dues are leaks, Department of Education is a leak. Find them all and plug the hole.
Technology is exploding and education is imploding. Here is a perfect example. We used to have a box hanging on the wall with a crank on it. We had to wind it up to get it to communicate with a live person at a local switchboard who would, depending on how far the intended recipient of the call would be, would manually connect with other switchboard operators, regional and national, back down to regional ,then local, to send a ring signal to the recipient. And to complicate that process, we used to be on party lines where if one party was on, you had to wait for that party to get off their phone. Each party could pick up their phone and listen in on the other party-member’s call. So what is it like now? Glad you asked. We carry a little lightweight device in our hands with which we can instantly connect to anyone with a similar device anywhere in the world. But now we don’t even need to call them voice to voice, we can just send a text message. Or we can add a note to a Facebook page telling anyone in the world what we are doing at that moment. Or tell them how we are feeling. In fact, we can send those messages to an almost infinite number of social network sites instantaneously. And that device in our hand can give or do just about anything we want from giving us a compass, our exact location on the entire earth and directions to just about any other spot on the planet. We can use it to answer just about any question we could conceivably ask. We can remotely turn on or off the security system in our homes, take pictures while skydiving and post them to Facebook for the entire world to see before we reach the ground. The sad part is, hardly anyone really understands how it works, doesn’t care to know, and doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand it if someone explained it to them. They take it for granted and assume the technology was always there. They didn’t know a box on the wall ever existed.
There are infinitely more things they don’t know about. They do know that bees sting and it hurts. But they do not know why. Hardly anyone knows that bee venom attacks just about any biological cell it comes in contact with. Nanobees are microscopic devices created by us humans that carry a synthetic type of venom into the blood stream. But these nanobees have been genetically programmed to only latch on to cancer cells and then release the venom to destroy just those cells. They have already tested it on mice and want to begin testing it on humans NEXT YEAR. I wonder how many volunteers they will get? And the most negative and devastating thing about this research is the cruelty to those poor little mice and their hurt feelings. I am sure PETA is not very pleased. The mice are what most of those mindless PCers worry about.
There are hundreds of other things really smart people are working on. How about a few layers of material sprayed on military Humvee gas tanks that almost instantly seal a gunshot hole or many gunshot holes preventing loss of gas or fires the enemy want to start. After this material was applied, the enemy thought they were missing the target. There is a plastic, paper thin material, which has a surface that imitates sharkskin. It keeps bacteria from growing on it. There are memory chips that are made from growing a biological material that have so much storage capability that they can hold all the books ever written on a very thin layer that is one half inch square. Science has come up with a miniature device that can be injected into your eye so the doctor can move it around inside to repair things, remove things, and unblock a blood clot in a vein. With that memory chip I mentioned, I’m wondering whether I could get something like that embedded in my brain so I would know everything there is to know and not have to go to school. The smart folks are trying to figure out a way to do that using genetic engineering. Imagine the conversation: “Is there anything you don’t know? Nope! Me, too!
The point is we need highly educated folks to continue on with this research; to carry on where others left off. The world we live in seems to have no barriers for what we can come up with. And the speed in which we are coming up with these inventions is increasing exponentially. Some scientists say traveling faster than the speed of light is within our grasp. It seems inventions are coming at us at that speed.
So, here is the deal. Our education system doesn’t even come close to filling the needs of a society exploding with so much technology. Liberal Arts degrees do not cut it. We don’t need art; we need things like more efficient nanobees. Sure there are thousands of students graduating with business degrees but those degrees are so easy to get, we end up with someone only capable of working in the call center, updating someone’s personal information. And the crazy thing is, these call center folks with these hot degrees think they are smarter than any one in which they come in contact. They do not want a raise for the quality of their work, they want it because they are showing up for work occasionally, put up with idiots on the phone and more importantly; instead of a box on the wall, they have a super degree hanging on the wall from Who-Knows University so they are absolutely certain they deserve every penny.
What actually is happening here? Here is a chart that gives us a good idea of the different degrees our students are graduating with, keeping in mind only about 60% of them actually graduate.How many of these soft, easy degrees do we get added to our system each year? etween 2003 and 2013, our colleges pumped out people with liberal arts type degrees, which include business and culinary arts at a rate of over 50% of all the degrees. People want to get through college as slowly as possible since they are working very hard improving their social and drinking skills in between classes. The longer they stay, the better the skill. They may be taking a business degree but they spend their freshman year majoring in sociology which actually is not on the list of classes they are taking. If they do really good with that, they may opt to spend a lot of their time in Sociology 2 the following year. If they graduate, they qualify for mostly phone center jobs but they also want to be able to cook something other than Ramen in that microwave they have no clue about how it works. From 2003 to 2013, the number of degrees went up but the types of degrees are a big problem. The number of degrees when to over a million but less than 1% were physical sciences and science technologies. The fields that increased the most were Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness. Science and engineering just doesn’t seem to interesting to most of the graduates but that is exactly what we need to stay competitive across the globe. Percentage wise we are going to the wrong way with degrees in these science field. So much for Obama’s promise to get us back on track by 2020. We are gaining outdoorsy types, call center folks and artists but we are losing the brainy folks, exponentially. That is an equation where we are moving absolutely in the wrong direction. Look at the chart and make your own conclusion.
Let us talk about the cost. Our government funds most of these degree programs, but also insists that the parents who have money get stuck with government education loans as well. All this money keeps professors and school administrations living very comfortably. There retirement plans are growing exceptionally and are the golden eggs. We pay an amount based on credits not subjects. We pay exactly the same amount for engineering and science classes as we pay for a study on what it is much like a class that studies the life of Lady Gaga. Yes, the class actually exists and we pay for that. So we are paying for a science study curriculum 7% of the time and the rest of the time we are paying for practically useless study. Actually we are paying for someone to sit in a seat for 4 yrs instead of working for a living. And when we are done paying, they don’t get a job and they renege on their education bill. And we are told it is all Bush’s fault. But there are other compounding issues. Engineering students usually graduate in 4 years or sooner but those other folks take 5 or six years to graduate because they don’t take a full load. They need to spend time protesting how bad things are, or they change their minds on what they want to study several times. We continue to pay for this as long as they sit there.
Next subject. We have only talked about those who actually graduate. There are around 40% of the folks who go to college who just drop out. The top 10 worst public colleges for graduation rates range from 4% to 15%. That means, 95% get money from the government and we get nothing. We are funding a babysitting service for young adults. Some students, very few, get through college quickly so we don’t lose as much money – thank you very much. But most of them keep going for years on the government dime changing their degree choices so they can sit longer and not run out of loan money. When they measure graduation rates they used 6 years of college instead of 4. If they measured 4 year graduation rates, they would have a much worse result. We get 40% dropout rate over 6 years. THAT IS A TREMENDOUS waste of taxpayer dollars. Where does all this money go? Well, the President of the University of Ohio get 1.9 million. The average for the majority of presidents is around $600,000 to 800,000. We are paying them but we are getting practically nothing for our money.
This is almost like K-12. Come to class, do practically nothing and graduate to the next grade so we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. And besides, the way budgets work; attendance is what drives the amount of money schools get from the taxpayer pot. That is why they are so strict on attendance. That is why you get letters from the school saying Johnny didn’t show up today. And there are laws that can get parents in trouble if they don’t send their kids to school because they keep them home too much while they are sick. And don’t forget the truancy laws. The police pick up the kids for that. Whether these kids learn anything doesn’t matter. We just hope they do. Property taxpayers are footing most of that K-12 bill.
Taxpayers are paying for college courses whether a student shows up at all. A “D” doesn’t get you anywhere, a “C” says you only got about 50% of what was taught; but we pay for the “A” the same amount we pay for “B” through “F.” Is there any mention of paying for quality or for courses that get us somewhere as a nation? NO. It is “What would you like to take next, Johnny?” The teachers get richer and the students flat line. I know this is true. I have seen charts where incomes continue to go up for teachers at a 45 degree incline but the line for student’s improvement is perfectly flat. We get nothing for a hell of a lot of more and more money.
I listened to the first of three presidential debates. Romney made a statement about education saying we need to improve it, hinting at a system where pay is based on need and performance. What a novel idea. The capitalistic world works that way. If you fill a good quality need and perform at a high level of proficiency delivering that need for a reasonable price to exactly where it needs to go, you get paid handsomely. If you don’t do that, you better go find another line of work because others are going to eat your lunch. But keep trying, and the system keeps churning in a positive direction. If we ran our school systems like that, we would not be having the problems we have today.
The standard should be that if you want an engineering degree you get a full ride as long as you maintain a reasonably high grade point average. If you get all “As,” your full ride will be covered completely to include room and board and all the Ramen you need. If you begin to slack off, you start seeing your full ride benefit become a little less of a full ride. If you don’t graduate on time, you start losing your benefits pretty quickly. By the way, we will not pay for a class on Lady Gaga, at all. You can pay for that, and it needs to be on you off time after you finish all your homework for the classes for which we ARE paying. Tie administrators’ salaries to the dropout rate, the graduation rate and the rate of degrees we most dearly need to move our country forward. The problem right now is the colleges will take anyone who is breathing so they can get that Pell grant money and the infinite number of government loans available.
If you waive a carrot on a stick close enough to a horse, he will see it and come after it as fast as he can. If he sees the carrot seem to become smaller and smaller, he is either walking backwards or he is moving slower to the point where that carrot begins to wither. Interesting note: if you happen to be riding on that horse, you will usually sit just behind the “withers.” But as the horse continues to move, you begin to slip backwards to the point where you actually become part of the rear of the horse which is referred to as the “horse’s ass.” We do not want to pay for a horse’s ass. Or, for anyone who is withering in class, for that matter. We have a country to run, not an adult daycare center and an outlandish welfare system lined in gold for school administrators and those teachers who specialize in Lady Gaga type courses.
If we could manage to pull this off, we could more than adequately care for our handicapped, sick, homeless and anyone else who is in a serious situation in need of a leg up. We will “push” you until you get back on your feet (that dictates the need for a clear plan) but we will not do any “pulling” with other folk’s hard earned money. Freeloaders need not apply.
The following links provide a great deal of data on the college degrees we are seeing today. It was prepared by representatives of our school systems. Actually the data is telling us they are failing in regard to national needs. The number of degrees is impressive but the types of degrees, quantitatively speaking, is pretty bad.
And now take a look at a video that gives us an impression of where we are headed….
We need to pledge allegiance to our schools and give them the help they need!
They are what gave us the United States of America to begin with; well at least the old schools did, our newer schools give us defecation.
“I felt that word would be more acceptable than the 4 letter one, but unfortunately, most college grads only understand the 4 letter one.”