Good Jobs Are Out There – It’s the Schools that Are Failing

It’s the public schools that are failing, more than the job market. Last summer set an all-time record of 5.9 million unfilled jobs. Manufacturing job openings were at the highest level in years, with 300,000 new jobs becoming available each month.  

A Wall Street Journal interview with the CEO of United Technologies, Greg Hayes -- who famously caved to Trump and kept the Indiana Carrier plant in the U.S. -- has some surprising information about jobs and American workers. His company has jobs for machinists, with only a high-school degree required, that pay $100K a year. The jobs are going begging. Applicants cannot read or do math.  

“I’ve got thousands of job openings.”

Do you really?

“Thousands,” he replies. “A lot of this is because we’ve got growth in business on the aerospace side, but we’ll be adding thousands of jobs in the next three years, and right now I cannot hire mechanics who know how to put together jet engines. But it’s not just jet engines. We also make fan blades, other products, very sophisticated things. These are the high-value manufacturing jobs that America can actually support.”

A Pratt machinist earns $34 to $38 an hour, which with overtime works out to more than $100,000 a year -- “pretty good money,” Mr. Hayes says. The positions can be filled by high-school graduates with “basic competencies in math and English” sufficient to, say, read a blueprint.

Why don’t our students have basic competence in math and English? The decline of American education is a long-term problem with many causes, but the dumbing down of our schools was put on overdrive by Barack Hussein Obama and Bill Gates. We’ve had five years of the bizarre diktats of progressive Common Core education that decided numbers were too difficult for “at risk” (poor black and Hispanic) students, so no child in America should be taught normal arithmetic.

The result is what you would expect -- the lowest math scores in 25 years of testing.

Common Core is unconstitutional -- Obama issued ‘guidelines,’ tied to $4.4 billion in federal education grants, to flout our Constitutional protections against a federalized curriculum for our schools. Like other centrally planned, bureaucratic programs designed by ‘experts’, it earns healthy salaries for the consultants and bureaucrats, profits for the crony capitalist publishers and testing companies, a bonanza for the liberal nonprofits, and disaster for the children.

What does Common Core education look like? A 2-step 4th-grade arithmetic problem requires 108 steps. Kids are required to draw circles; if they use numbers, they fail. Later the same year, the kids can't master long division. In eighth grade, they’re no longer being offered algebra.

Later in life, the high-school grads can’t get a job.

Limiting the use of numbers in teaching arithmetic, Dr. Milgram explains, is a progressive fad promoting the idea that "at-risk" (failing) students learn better with drawings and stories, not numbers.

"Common Core creators believe the focus of U.S. standards should always be these students," Milgram said. "So they choose pedagogy that effectively turns off the average… students in a desire to focus on the weakest students."

Ominous news for our children: Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, seems to be less than honest about repealing Common Core, which she falsely claims is already dead.

 …the opposite of what DeVos claimed. ESSA (Obama’s 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act) requires the states to submit, for USED approval, state plans that include “challenging” academic standards, which elsewhere are described as “college- and career-ready” -- code language for Common Core. The state plans must be aligned with 11 different federal statutes, including those that have their own standards requirements (such as the Head Start statute, which requires “Baby Common Core” for early-childhood education).

Many states stopped calling their tests Common Core, but they are still in place, still being taught, still required to qualify for federal education money. Bill Gate’s Common Core advocate boasts that, “despite all the pushback from the grassroots organizers, only one state -- Oklahoma -- has actually repealed the standards without rebranding them.”

Mike Pence, when governor, was one of the culprits:

Pence has created the illusion of quality and independence, while installing second-rate standards that are little more than Common Core rebranded. For some on the left, Common Core is a (misguided) bid to secure “social justice” by dumbing down the most challenging state education standards -- along with the SAT. For others on both sides of the aisle, Common Core is an opportunity to pitch texts and technology to a newly nationalized education market... Pence may have calculated that formally withdrawing Indiana from Common Core, while effectively reinstituting it under another name, would win him admirers from both sides of the debate.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a champion of standardized testing, as is Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, and other establishment Republicans who like to spend taxpayers’ money and satisfy corporate lobbyists, and feel good pretending to themselves they’re helping the disadvantaged,

Devos’ continued support will bring the havoc of Common Core to private, charter, and home-schooled kids. There is no escape from mandated standardized testing.

If you’re aiming at college, getting good scores on the SAT and Advanced Placement exams means parroting progressive indoctrination.

school vouchers… could increase regulation of private and religious schools and even homeschooling across the United States. Because vouchers are a transfer of taxpayer funds, the schools that accept them could open themselves up to more regulation regarding curriculum, testing, and federal mandates -- all in the name of “accountability.” (snip)

“Of course, if private schools must administer the state tests, they must teach Common Core -- in other words, they must become just like the public schools parents are trying to escape…”

The Common Core curriculum has abandoned traditional teaching of English and history as well as math, in favor of the progressive agenda. Students are trained to respect and obey government and politically correct thought, not learn to read and think for themselves. They graduate feeling ashamed of America, and unable to satisfy basic requirements for an employer.

Common Core requires 50-70% of the full-length books to be dropped from the curriculum to make room for "informational" material. …suggested texts include the EPA's "Recommended Levels of Insulation" and "Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management." 

Huckleberry Finn has been dropped from Common Core's reading list, but it does have Blue-Eyed Girl by African-American author Toni Morrison, a book full of graphic sex scenes of rape and incest. …describes these revolting acts as "friendly," "innocent," and "tender"; she "explains that she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems." 


James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the other founders are largely left out of the new test, unless they are presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. The Constitution can be studied as an example of the Colonists' belief in the superiority of their own culture, for instance. But any teacher who presents a full unit on the principles of the American Constitution taught in the traditional way would be severely disadvantaging his students.

Ignorance is institutionalized in our public schools with so-called standards. It is a corrupt system serving teachers, bureaucrats, publishers, and the testing companies. Our schoolchildren need a fighter in Washington who will get the government and unions out of the way of competent, caring teachers and involved parents. Betsy DeVos is fighting for school choice on one hand, but giving local and parental control away with the other.

When CEO Greg Hayes has manufacturing jobs that can earn a high school grad $100K and can’t find an applicant with basic competency in math and English to hire, you know our children have been let down, very, very badly. As President Trump would say, it’s a horrible mess.

The author is a retired clinical social worker, Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, author of a mystery series set in Kenya, and political commentator.