Monday, September 24, 2007

Over Educated and Under Employed 9/24/07

"A Stingier Job Market Awaits New Attorneys" is a headline in today's WSJ. "Growth of legal sector lags broader economy; law schools proliferate." This warning may come to late for some graduates with school debts that may exceed $100,000 a year. Some may wind up working for as little as $20 an hour with no benefits. Most of the high paying legal jobs go to those who come from the most prestigous schools. Or are ranked near the top of their graduating class.

Many find late that the practice of law is not for them; still a legal education is a tremendous asset for a variety of professional paths. It may be discouraging to find that skilled workers; electrician, plumbers, computer technicians, welders, transportation workers, etc;, without a college education and without a huge educational debt are making more money than, say like, Israel Meth, a 2005 graduate of Brooklyn Law School earning about $30 an hour as a contract attorney reviewing legal documents for big firms. He uses 60% of his paycheck to pay off student loans-$100,000 for law school on top of $100,000 for the bachelors degree he received from Columbia University.

My previous blogs have pointed out that a college degree may not be all it's cracked up to be. Many colleges mislead students by recomending fields with well-paying opportunities only for the graduate to find out these higher paid jobs only went to the top graduates or they were in a dying profession. My wife with straight A's and a Master's in Dietetics found the field crowded for the good paying jobs and not much chance of making it by opening her own business when local health organizations were offering the service free.

She and I agree (along with most of the teachers I talk to) that high schools offering and selling few Vo/Tech opportunities or little non-traditional training, are not doing many students any favors.

District #150 says it is offering a wide selection of classes this academic year that will teach skills needed whether or not the student goes to or graduates from college. It appears these efforts are late and kids that could have had a future in the non-college work place are already unhirable. But better late than never so we perhaps will see more kids ready and willing to work.

At the same time, the Head of the U.S. Department of Labor and local labor leader Dan Siverthorn says there are not going to be enough skilled workers to fill the jobs of the near future.

Many lawmakers are dragging their feet on tighter immigration laws for exactly that reason. With so many of our young people with drug and criminal records,no work ethic, no sense of responsiblity, an inability to read and interpret what they read, little understanding of history: the question remains, where are these skilled workers going to come from?

I have been asking this question for years and have yet to hear any satisfactory answer. We aren't even meeting our own present local needs for skilled workers let alone the needs of the future.

Yes, I know about the services offered by ICC, Bradley, Caterpillar and others but District #150 have another almost 1000 kids or more in high school and an equal number in the middle schools who are not being being prepared to be contriuting members to society. And no, new expanded libraries and new school buildings are nice but are NOT THE ANSWER. No, NOT even an expanded zoo, a new Children's Playhouse nor a new museum will solve the dilemna faced by we Peoria residents.

I quote from a book I highly recommend all of you read "In Defense of Elitism" by William A Henry III and summed up in an article "Why Equality is Ridiculous" by Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government at Harvard. Henry writes "Opportunity does not need to be equal; it needs only to exist. One has to have the gumption to seize it and the preseverance to compete with others in the same situation."

Mr. Henry writes "that the crazy revolt against nature, led by Karl Marx, has brought us to deny that some people are better than others, as if denial could make our democracy pure."

When I watch "Marvels of the Modern World" on the History Channel or watch our Marines and Seabees who were heroes in action in World War II or watch Roger Federer play tennis, or listen to a symphony, why would I NOT believe that some people are better than others?

Where we are making our major failures in the raising and educating of our kids is denying that not all kids are equal, some excell in ways almost unimaginable to people with limit talents as myself. It is our jobs to search out that talent, encourge and assist the development of that or those talents so that we are indeed a community and a country of multi-skilled, multicultural society contributing individuals.

How can you compete with others in the "same situation" who have developed a work ethic, learned responsibility, had their talents discovered and developed and have been taught some basic living skills?

It is my candid observation that a very large number of all the students attending Peoria Public School District #150 haven't been properly presented with the opportunities they are capable of "seizing". It is my candid appraisal that teaching to the test may help those with the ability to memorize but is of limited use to those who might have the ability to innovate if "opportunities" were properly presented.


AdamB said...

I think you're on the right track, though of course I can't agree that some people are better than others.

Sure, Federer might beat the hell out of Terry Schiavo (say) at tennis, but is he a "better person"? Who knows? That's not up to me, in my opinion.

But you're right that there are huge talent differentials in our schools, and lumping everyone together is a big mistake. The only class in Peoria that ever did me any good is calculus. Everything else was a huge waste of time.

Peoria Pundit said...

Denying that some people are "better" than others is like denying that strawberries taste better that excrement. Of course some people are better than others. This is not to suggest that folks are better than others because of race of religion.It should go without saying, but some need to hear it said beacuse they are quick to accuse folks of fascism.

Anonymous said...


Right on.