Tag Archives: labor

CA Middle School students’ solution to corporate dominance of government

Some students at Medea Creek Middle School in southern California, have a very clear understanding of what’s broken about our economic and governance systems. Probably a much clearer idea than most Americans.

Here is a brief article including the less-than-9-minute video they made to explain it to the rest of us:


In the first paragraph there is a link to the school’s website if you’re interested; it’s a pretty cool website.

Kudos and thanks to these young thinkers and voices.

What might Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and New Mexico middle schoolers be capable of that we’re not taking advantage of?

Please feel free to share this widely..


Evidence that you can’t lure entrepreneurs with tax cuts

Mission: Graduate, ABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP) are putting us on the right track to growth, both short- and long-term.

150 executives surveyed by Endeavor Insight, a research firm that examines how entrepreneurs contribute to job creation and long-term economic growth, said a skilled workforce and high quality of life were the main reasons why they founded their companies where they did; taxes weren’t a significant factor.  This suggests that states that cut taxes and then address the revenue loss by letting their schools, parks, roads, and public safety deteriorate will become less attractive to the kinds of people who found high-growth companies.  (Hat tip to urbanologist Richard Florida for calling attention to the study.)

Rock on Mission: GraduateABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP)!

You can read the entire article here.

The 6 killer apps of prosperity – 2011 TED Talk

The world is constantly changing, only now it’s changing ever more rapidly. This 21 minute talk can give you an idea as to how you, your children and grandchildren may be affected. Here’s a summary from the TED Talk page:

“Over the past few centuries, Western cultures have been very good at creating general prosperity for themselves. Historian Niall Ferguson asks: Why the West, and less so the rest? He suggests half a dozen big ideas from Western culture — call them the 6 killer apps — that promote wealth, stability and innovation. And in this new century, he says, these apps are all shareable.  (My underlining)

History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)”

View the talk here.

This talk has been viewed 993,860 times.

Financial Education Paradox?

Great little article by economist David Laibson delves into, “Most Americans know they should save for retirement and pay off their debts. Yet they often don’t do those things. Why?”

And why it’s so difficult to consider and create effective “Financial Eduction” curricula and classes – and that’s frustrating because “finances” is such an integral part of everyone’s real-world experience!

His last couple of paragraphs, I believe, speaks volumes about what an effective education looks like:

What does this tell us about the best way to teach financial education? 

What this means is that you should get the financial education you need when you need it. If you enroll in a 401(k) plan today, you should take the 45-minute educational seminar on it during the enrollment process. The time to learn about credit cards, borrowing and compound interest is when students are 18 and starting adult life.

The human memory is so fallible. If I tell you something and expect you to remember it five years from now, that’s a big ask. So I would focus on teaching skills that translate immediately to practical application.

(My underlining – teach around ideas and stuff in a real-world-ish application context. Tie math and English and science into such things as, how do your folks buy and pay for your clothes, where in the world do they come from, what do your parents/guardians do for a living, how long do they have to work to pay for a pair of new shoes, why was a textbook written, by whom, how much does it cost, how much is that for the whole class, where does that money come from, …)

Read the whole article here.

Factory Model for Education No Longer Working

Factory Model for Education No Longer Working

Here’s a quick summary of the article. This won’t be surprising if you’ve been reading on the subject, but it is a worthwhile reminder.

  • Industry has been implementing new technologies for 30-40 years
  • Education continues using systems created in the 1900s
  • Teaching the same subjects in the same way at the same pace to a roomful of children
  • In the 1900s, 17% knowledge workers were needed; today it’s 60%
  • Simply techno-cramming is not effective and not efficient without personalizing for individual learning,
  • Utah and Florida performance-based contracting examples are worth looking at:

Read the full article here.

2/3 of job openings thru 2020 will require HS degree – or less

The findings of this study probably apply to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County as well.

University of Wisconsin Center for Economic Development

The Skills Gap and Unemployment in Wisconsin: Separating Fact From Fiction, February 2013, by Marc V. Levine

Executive Summary

The ‘skills mismatch,’ it is argued, is the central reason why unemployment remains high, even as job vacancies remain unfilled.

This widely held view, however, is incorrect.

  • The consensus among top economists is that the skills gap is a myth. High unemployment is mainly the result of a deficiency in aggregate demand and slow economic growth, not because workers lack the right education or skills
  • This conclusion, rejecting the skills gap/structural unemployment theory, has been confirmed in numerous recent studies
  • Even if every unemployed person were perfectly matched to existing jobs, over 2/3 of all jobless would still be out of work. And this calculation understates the jobs shortage, as it does not include discouraged workers or those involuntarily working part-time.
  • Beyond the anecdotes of local employers, the Wisconsin and Milwaukee labor markets show no statistical evidence of a skills shortage:
    • Wages:  Wisconsin wage “growth” lags the national rate, another sign that there is no labor shortage here.
    • Hours: Average weekly hours worked in Wisconsin are down 4.3 percent compared to 2000.
    • Occupational Projections: Occupational projections for the state reveal that 70 percent of projected openings through 2020 will be in jobs requiring a high school diploma or less.
    • Underemployment and Workforce Over-qualification is the inverse of the one commonly put forward: it is a mismatch of too many highly educated workers chasing too few “good jobs.”
  • The study concludes with a brief analysis of: 1) why the “fake” skills gap, as The New York Times‘ Adam Davidson has called it, holds so much sway over policymakers in Wisconsin; 2) how the skills gap meme deleteriously diverts attention from other, more salient factors explaining joblessness here; and 3) why new workforce development policies, responding to an imaginary skills gap, will do little to improve the jobs situation in Wisconsin and in Milwaukee.

Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown, whose research is often cited
by skills gap proponents, put it this way: “Training doesn’t create jobs. Jobs
create training. And people get that backwards all the time. In the real world,
down at the ground level, if there’s no demand for magic, there’s no demand
for magicians.”

The complete report (1.7mb) is available in Adobe’s Acrobat format. Acrobat Reader is required to view the file. Use Adobe’s web site to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.



Employers increasingly emphasizing ‘soft skills’

A recent Associated Press article by Paul Wiseman says that top employers want college graduates with skills that don’t show up on school transcripts. I am hearing the same thing from local small and medium businesses about high school and community college graduates. So it’s across the board national and local.

Good potential employees have acquired the necessary knowledge and/or technical skills; exceptional potential employees also have ‘soft skills.’

So, just what are these ‘soft skills?’

  • works well in a team environment – gets along with co-workers
  • can write and speak with clarity and be understood – articulates ideas
  • adapts quickly to changes in technology and business conditions – solves problems on the fly – thinks on their feet
  • can interact with colleagues from different cultures and countries

And that’s the disconnect between what can be taught in a classroom and tested for to show progress for students, teachers, principles, school systems to state agencies and legislators – and what can’t be easily classroom taught or tested that employers are looking and needing to hire.

Solution: above my pay grade, but I can see and appreciate the problem.