Aug

22

T here are millions in California looking for jobs, but few want the type of work available.

A couple of years ago NPR's Terry Gross interviewed an apple farmer from Washington facing this problem. Most "Anglos" didn't even want to attempt the work — those who did rarely lasted more than several days. Last year Alabama was in the same position after its Republican governor managed to get through legislation requiring all field laborers to be citizens or holders of green cards. For the past three years Tennessee has not been able to find enough workers to keep its many nurseries thriving.

In every case there are (were) many job seekers. In most cases, though, the Anglo component of that cohort didn't even apply. Much of this may be well known but what is new (at least to me) is that for the first time ever the number of unemployed over 25 with some college or a college degree outnumber those with a high school diploma or less.

If this is an anomaly I suppose it's no big deal. However, if it signals a paradigm shift, then the high cost of education really does deserve some serious study. Two weeks ago the Senate released an 1100 page report outlining the depredations of the for-profit colleges. Despite appeals that the study also incorporate our many non-profits, the Senate majority said "no."

Should this development prove to be a new trend then the current secondary school curricula must also be re-examined. And I would hope that emphasis would go into examining the position and credentialing of the "guidance counselor". Currently the big push is to get as many high school graduates as possible enrolled in college — any college. The secondary school system measures its success by this number…and it is widely circulated. However, I've never been able to get a number of how many of these college bound grads also received a college degree.

If secondary schools and their guidance counselors are aware of a shift then it would behoove them to adjust their curricula and guidance to remain true to John Dewey's Creed:

"Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven."


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  1. Ed on August 22, 2012 3:30 pm

    “Son, it i true I got a job out of college in management training at firm xyz, but you should definitely apply for that job picking apples while living in that charming chanty town.”

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