- Posted January 4, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
Needed Connection Between U.S. Education and Jobs
Happy New Year: I hope in 2014 you can focus more on a needed connection between education and jobs. As a Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher of 20 years, I feel, a national strategy has become making American middle class so impotent that current job outsourcing can become a popular notion by our new 'axis of evil' leaders (corrupt government, manipulative media and greedy business). By experiencing no connection between education and jobs the middle class frustration has reached an all-time high. The talk of austerity has gone so far that its impact on the psyche of middle class Americans has become truly scary. The middle class education has become a facsimile of its yesteryear, now only appeasing students with empty diplomas rather than competitive skills for jobs that should have never left America in the first place-a big psychological scar on American identify that cannot be erased easily.
Education must have four dynamic connections to employers which means connections to jobs. Employers accountably must provide curriculum directions, job placements, donations and recruitment of new qualified students for each program at every possible level (in low grades with orientation only, in higher grades with direct accountability), especially for career technical education. These four ties could eliminate pervasive administrative featherbedding, boondoggling, corruption, ignoring and manipulation of good teachers which have become the mainstay of current American middle class education.
In addition to these horror stories the way good teachers are treated shows that education has no intention of changing its way either. Unlike the American aristocratic medical education, which treats its faculty well, it is unheard of to have a copy of it in other fields: rotations or paid internships for students who soon will receive secure and well-paying jobs. Additionally most of the American middle class education is equipped with dated, dilapidated and general technology rather than both general and industry-specific ones. Driven by market share and production process competition employers always demand job candidates with the state-of-the-art and specialized technology learning and experience.
Look at how the education has treated me, a career technical education teacher (CTE) in California for over 20 years. Even though I have a master's degree and many years of industry experience, I have always been exploited by school districts (in comparison to the treatment of K12 teachers) mostly because there has never been enough responsibility between education and employers (jobs). Mostly school districts have forced me to work part-time teaching several subject matters simultaneously with worst working conditions--no state-of-art resources or strong IT, no union representation, no benefits, no retirement, and no paid vacations. I have always maintained if one had the calling for being a good teacher, believing in genuine transformation through experience of knowledge vs. superficial consumption of knowledge without much internalization or experience, he or she should not be penalized for it.
The writing is on the wall. It tells us that America has a labor surplus and therefore it no longer needs middle class-skilled workers. All fancy certificates of its educational institutions are for naught. Certificates of most of these institutions are not worth the paper they are written on. In other words American middle class is railroaded into the illusion of school for career as in reality there is not much career that could be had. As long as a 10-fold cost saving of labor from cheap labor countries exists, middle class will not be hired for very many new well-paying jobs. And to top it all, now watch out for the Obama's TPP coming your way!
As you see the problem with American middle class education is double-pronged: 1) can it produce marketable skills, 2) and if it did, could there be guaranteed jobs for those who have attained them. The solution to these complex problems is simple: don't allow educational institutions offer programs in the fields that guaranteed jobs later cannot be had.