Thursday, January 15, 2015


Political Mayhem Thursday: Policy and Higher Education

I found this chart over at Paul Waldman's American Prospect blog.  I had no idea how far we have come in high school completion and higher education in this country since the time my parents were born.  In 1940, less than a quarter of Americans graduated from high school!

Part of this has been driven by the economy.  In 1940, a 16-year-old boy could get a job in a mine or a factory that paid a decent wage and which he might expect to have for the rest of his life (it was a little different for women, of course).  Finishing high school was a luxury.  Those jobs, of course, largely don't exist anymore.

Is it worthwhile to push for higher levels of college completion now?  If so, how do we do it?

We need to start with early childhood education, for everyone. Not just pre-K (4 y.o.), but pre-pre-K, starting at 1 y.o. It is now known that in the first two years of life, children who hear more words by more people have an edge all the way through the educational process.
"hear more words by more people. . ." How true. . .

And with the unemployment rate back to hovering in the mid 5's (whether a true reflection of employment or not), children need to hear a consistently stronger message from their parents or guardians.

Imagine the benefits to a consumer driven economy if service sector, hospitality, retail, farm worker, etc. jobs were mostly transitional, or by choice, and a stepping stone to full time positions that include benefits and incomes that offer opportunities to save - as opposed to the majority of jobs created during our recent recovery.

The benefits of education "pre-pre-K" through higher education need be advocated as a greater necessity today more than ever. Without adequate education or training is complaint hollow when most of the jobs offered match the skill sets attained by so many seeking employment?

There are benefits to continually re-investing in business - greater benefits with targeted investment in society through accessible and affordable education.

Esteem through inclusion, contribution and saving strengthens business, community and family - which reinforces the benefits of continued training, learning and education - which reinforces business, community and family . . .

Are we not all 'stake holders' (in one form or another) in a common journey? Is our contribution in harmony and balance with that which we claim or receive?
I don’t think the push should be for a higher level of college completion. I think the push should be for a higher level of quality education. A public education HS graduate should be well rounded enough to read and write proper English syntax, NOT draw blank stares at basic geography or historical names, should have basic reading and comprehension knowledge of one foreign language (in the US Spanish is always a good choice) and a fair grasp of basic arithmetic. The statistics changed at a fair pace from the forties, but the expectations have not kept up with that pace. The job market of trickle-down economics these days offers only the kind of jobs freshly minted college grads are overqualified for and unless in IT or Health Care, the jobs that pay well enough to put a dent in that ticking college loan are the kind of trade jobs one doesn’t study in college. Perhaps the chart should also reflect the deteriorating curve of education quality in order to explain why these days one cannot get a secretarial job unless college educated and how a secretarial job will take a long time to make that loan go away enough to make another one…Is it me or is life on paying back loans a terribly sad prospect? There’s a sea of gray, peppered with a myriad of cracks through which middle class America is slowly seeping away. I think education and politics play a major role in throwing middle class off the charts and that is way beyond bad statistics.
Marta well stated. That said, the infants and toddlers I see at the local gym (yes gym) day care are some of the most well adjusted and behaved little ones I see and they are pre-pre-k.
No comment on the substance of your blog, but kudos for holding the on "graduate from" and eschewing the edgy if emerging tendency to drop the preposition. (For an interesting short piece this subject, go to Grammarphobia Blog.)
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