Posted by BH
FREE ZONE MEDIA CENTER WFZR FZTV
|Tuesday, 07 August 2012|
The kids are screwed. The unemployment rate among Americans aged 18-29 is 50 percent higher than the national average. More than 43 percent of recent college graduates who have jobs do work which does not require a college education.
If the Obama administration policies which keep unemployment high are reversed, for most of us the recession will end. But the kids will still be screwed, because they don't know what they need to know to survive in the global economy.
The key is STEM education -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. The US used to be the world's leader. Today, we're one of just 3 of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development where the kids know no more about these subjects than their parents did.
The kids don't know much of anything else, either. They've taken Sam Cooke's 1959 hit, Don't know much about history, don't know much about geography, to heart.
More than half of high school seniors scored "below basic" in their knowledge of history, said the National Assessment of Education Progress in 2010. Half of Americans aged 18-24 in a National Geographic survey couldn't find New York state on a map. In Oklahoma, only 3 percent of high school students could pass the citizenship test foreigners must take to become Americans.
Only a handful of the roughly 6,000 students who've passed through his classroom know how to form a sentence or write an intelligible paragraph, a retiring high school teacher told San Francisco Chronicle reporter Mark Morford. "Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, (the teacher) realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler."
"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance," said Derek Bok, president of Harvard University from 1971 to 1990.
Boy was he right! We spend, on average, $10, 615 per pupil in the public schools for monumental ignorance. That's almost 250 percent more, in real terms, than we spent in 1970, when students learned stuff.
Kids today don't even know how little they know. "Many students tell me that they are the most well-informed generation in history," said George Mason University professor Rick Shenkman.
The kids would learn more if we had more teachers, and paid them more, teacher unions say. Since 1970, the number of teachers and administrators in public schools has risen 11 times faster than enrollment. This has meant more union dues and more campaign contributions for Democrats. But students learn less.
This isn't because teachers are underpaid. Their compensation is 150 percent more than for private sector workers with similar skills, according to a study last year by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. On an hourly basis, teachers earn more than most accountants, architects and nurses.
By far the most important factor in determining how much students learn is the quality of the teacher. If we could get rid of the worst 7 percent of teachers, that alone would vault our schools back among the world's best, says the Hoover Institution's Eric Hanushek. But it's for that 7 percent teacher unions go to bat.
About 30 percent of high school students studying math, and 60 percent studying the physical sciences, are taught by teachers who did not major in the subject in college, or are not certified to teach it.
"How in the world can we expect our students to master science and technology when their teachers may not have mastered it?" asked U.S. News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman.
The retired or laid-off professionals who could fill the gap are kept out of the classroom because they haven't taken the dreck education courses the cartel has made prerequisites.
Schools of education are by no means the only reason why things are as bad -- or worse -- at the next level. Students are more likely to leave college with massive debt than with marketable skills. We rank near the bottom in the OECD in STEM degrees.
For Democrats, support for "education" means giving teacher unions whatever they want. More Americans disagree. In Gallup's annual poll in June, only 29 percent of Americans expressed confidence in public schools, the lowest level ever recorded. That's down from 58 percent when Gallup first asked the question in 1973.
Enrollment in public school districts in big cities is plunging as more parents find ways to help their children escape from schools where they are more likely to be shot or stabbed than prepared for college.
The greed and corruption of the education establishment is made the more repugnant by arrogance, deceit and hypocrisy. "We're doing it for the children," they say as they feather their own nests. They're not doing it for the children, they're doing it to the children.
Thanks chiefly to the teacher unions and the educrats, the only thing young people today will have more of than their parents or grandparents is debt. For many if not most, a well-paying job, a satisfying career, a home of their own are beyond their grasp.
The ignorance of our youth has reached crisis proportions, endangering not only their futures and our prosperity, but also the viability of our democratic institutions. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be," said Thomas Jefferson.
"How much ignorance can a country stand?" Mr. Shenkman asked. "There have to be terrible consequences when it reaches a certain level."
We'll find out what those consequences are real soon, Mr. Morford's teacher friend thinks. He is "very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years."
Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
1. Taxes. As noted above, taxing businesses grossing between $250,000 and $1 million a year hits a disproportionate number of the sole proprietorships and small family businesses we desperately need to expand and hire more people. It also discourages prospective entrepreneurs. Then there is his “Buffet rule” tax proposal and his insistence upon raising the capital gains rate. The former is just silly posturing. The latter will negatively affect investment – which, of course, will mean that small businesses have a harder time becoming larger ones.(Sidenote: since Obama is so keen to yank America toward European-style socialism, he might want to read The Economist’s story from last week, blaming European government policies for the dismal lack of entrepreneurship and economic growth there.)
2. Obamacare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be ungodly expensive, and many small businesses – read family businesses – are not going to be able to afford to insure their current employees, much less hire new ones. Family Enterprise USA reports that 61% of the family firms they surveyed believe that the new law will make it harder, not easier, to pay for employee health care.
3. The HHS mandate. Having to provide what Obamacare considers to be appropriate insurance coverage is already burdensome. But the Obama administration has made this worse by insisting that all employers pay for sterilization and contraception – including abortifacient contraception. Catholic and other Christian universities and hospitals have filed lawsuits to contest the enforcement of this mandate, arguing that it compels them to violate the core teachings of their religious beliefs. But many family businesses are run by individuals who share those same beliefs, and they, too, are threatened by the HHS mandate. Already, at least one family business has sued – successfully. Others have followed. These are laudable developments. But most family businesses cannot afford the expense of a lawsuit in federal court.
4. The constant calls for reduction of the charitable deduction. President Obama has now tried five separate times to reduce the amount of the charitable deduction. This is inscrutable. The average family firm donates $50,000 to charities and philanthropic causes – most, locally for maximum impact. Larger companies donate much, much more.
Finally, the asserted goals of CAFÉ standards may once have been somewhat persuasive. The standards were necessary, it was argued, to preserve US oil reserves that were rapidly being depleted, reduce oil imports from unstable parts of the world, and prevent dangerous global warming. However, the rationales used to justify these onerous, unfair, injurious and lethal mileage standards are no longer persuasive.All of us should conserve energy and be responsible stewards of the Earth and its bounties, which God has given us. However, to ignore the unpleasant realities of existing and proposed mileage mandates is unethical, immoral and unjust.
New seismic, drilling and production technologies have dramatically increased our nation’s oil and natural gas reserves. Opening some of the publicly owned lands that are currently off limits would increase reserves even more. Using government and industry data, the Institute for Energy Research has calculated that the USA, Canada and Mexico alone have 1.7 trillion barrels of recoverable oil reserves – enough to meet current US needs for another 250 years – and another 175 years of natural gas.
As to global warming, even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is now backing away from previous claims about alarming changes in global temperatures, sea levels, polar ice caps and major storms, due to greenhouse gas emissions.