Unemployment Rate by Education Level
In 1992, the BLS began tracking unemployment rates by education level. Highlighted below are the unemployment rates for the following four groups…. All groups consist of individuals 25 years old or higher.
|Education Level Achieved
|High School Grad
or Associate Degree
It is no secret that the lower the education level the higher the unemployment rate. We are told that employers are out looking for people to fill their jobs and there are just not enough qualified applicants. When I grew up in the 1950s and 60s a young man could graduate from high school and if he had the connections could get a job in one of the auto factories in the area. It was a good paying middle class job. But then came robotics and foreign competition.
I’m not saying that robotic or competition are a bad thing. In fact I think it is just a normal progression through the industrial age. A hundred and fifty years ago a young boy with no education could plan on making some pretty good money by signing on to a moving cattle from Texas to Kansas City. Those jobs like the factory jobs of my generation naturally disappeared with the advent of the railroad. It is just a matter of progress that the good paying jobs of one generation are not the good paying ones of the next.
The fact that to get a good middle class job in today’s world takes something beyond a high school education is just to be expected. But, a basic problem is that our education system just hasn’t kept up with the demand for more intelligent workers as evidenced by the above numbers. This fact really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Our kids generally are just not getting the education needed for today’s jobs.
So, how do we as a country change the culture of our education system to meet the demands of the 21st century? I have never been involved in this field other than as a student but I have been exposed to some of its participants. From the teachers I have met personally it seems that the majority of them are pretty naive in the ways of today’s businesses. For the most part they are arts majors fresh out of college. Most spend their entire careers inside the educational system. If we hope to continue to compete for the middle class jobs of the world we will need to entice those who have a working knowledge of the jobs available today and a big part of that is math, science and especially computer savvy teachers. We need teacher at the high school level who have experiences outside the educational system. I don’t think that is happening to any degree right now. At least not in my local school district.
I know many teachers read this blog and I am not trying to put you down in any way. From your comments I know how difficult a job it is to be a teacher in today’s world. I know that a big part of the problem is in the home of the students. But we must face facts that our kids are generally not equipped for the middle class jobs of today.
Source: The jobs are there, the education is not – USATODAY.com.
This disparity has come to be known as the “skills gap” — the divide between the jobs American businesses need to fill and the jobs Americans are qualified to do. Research shows that approximately 90% of the jobs in the fastest-growing occupations in our economy require some level of postsecondary education and training. And 80 million to 90 million adults today — about half of our current workforce — do not have the skills needed to acquire or advance in jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage. Where once we had a significant advantage in the global economy, our nation is quickly falling back to the pack and is growing increasingly unable to compete with nations such as China, Canada, Germany, India, and Korea. More…
I just finished reading the September/October issue of Sojourners Magazine and in it was an article about education. One of the most remembered quotes from that article is “The achievement gap due to income inequality is nearly twice as large as the racial achievement gap”. It went on to say that most of the underperforming schools are found in low-income neighborhoods. Education is still pretty much a State controlled environment but I know this is true for Indiana where I have lived most of my life.
Schools in Indiana are pretty much funded from local property taxes. So the higher the income area the more the school system gets to educate the kids. I grew up and am still living in a small town rural area of the State. When I was in high school the only guidance counselor we had as a local farmer who also taught FFA classes. I doubt he ever had any kind of training to help kids determine what was the best career field to enter. We didn’t have any advanced math classes beyond trigonometry so when I went to college at Purdue I had to play catch-up with remedial classes in that area as well as a few others. More…
With my ingrained altruist and “Follower of Jesus” worldview I am naturally drawn to and inspired by Sojourners magazine. This month’s issue is centered about making sure those in impoverished neighborhoods have access to quality education. I hope some of you will consider subscribing. No, I am not being paid anything for this endorsement.
I noticed in our local paper recently that there were about 30 young people from our local high school who were inducted into the National Honor Society. Seven were guys, the rest were girls. This seems pretty indicative of what is happening in the U.S. the last few decades. Girls are the ones who see educations as important and guys, for the most part, think it is a waste of time. Girls are pretty much the ones who stay in school and guys make up the majority of those who currently drop out of high school.
It is a fact that girls are also the majority of those going to college. As the graph below shows they became the majority about 1990 and has been pulling away ever since.
If it hasn’t occurred already I imagine the gender roles will soon be reversed in that the female of the household will become the primary bread winner. Guys, and maybe our society as a whole, just seem to be more fixated on sports than they are about education. The nerds among us guys, despite successes such as Bill Gates, are still the object of ridicule among testosterone driven teenagers
Source: Mooresville School District, a Laptop Success Story – NYTimes.com.
The district’s graduation rate was 91 percent in 2011, up from 80 percent in 2008. On state tests in reading, math and science, an average of 88 percent of students across grades and subjects met proficiency standards, compared with 73 percent three years ago. Attendance is up, dropouts are down. Mooresville ranks 100th out of 115 districts in North Carolina in terms of dollars spent per student — $7,415.89 a year — but it is now third in test scores and second in graduation rates.
I know change is difficult for all, especially us seniors sometimes. So, to read this article and learn that students are learning from applications on their MacBook Airs in addition to a live teacher can be very disconcerting. But as a retired information technology engineer I can understand why it works. The internet has opened up the information superhighway to just about anyone with a connection. There is almost nothing that we can’t start learning with just a few keystrokes. What used to take hours researching in a twenty four volume encyclopedia now takes seconds with a keyboard.
One of the main advantages of this type of process is that each student can learn at their own pace. I can still remember my grade school days (yeah even that long ago ) when I would get quite bored because the teacher had to go through the same lesson several times in order to make sure every kid in the class understand. I was an impatient kid, something I have never grown out of I guess, so sitting there with nothing to stimulate me drove me to boredom beyond my imagination. Wouldn’t it have been great if I could have, on my own, moved on to the next lesson. I think I would have gotten much more out of the classroom time.
But, just like everything else involving change, especially paradigm change as this story approaches, it will be resisted quite adamantly by some in the educational community. Change just comes harder for some than for others. Of course there will always be lessons that must be learned that can’t be put on a computer screen. Those lessons will continue to require a passionate well informed mentor teacher. But the daily grind stuff that students can learn at their own pace is better done by other methods.
So many kids today are much more fluent in this sort of thing than their parents ever dreamed. I think the parents and especially grand-parents will have a harder time accepting this new way of learning than the kids ever will. According to the article the kids at Mooresville take it in stride.
Most people, especially those in the U.S. like to proudly proclaim we are number one. We shout it from the rooftops. We scream it about our favorite sports team. We are often caught with that silly large rubber hand to show our pride. We as a country are number one in several areas.
- We’re number one when it comes to our war machine. Heck, you could combine all the other war machines in the world together and that would still not knock us out of first place. We spend many times more in this country than in country in the world on our war machine.
- Because of the above item we are also number one when it comes to our debt load. No other country in the world has borrowed as much as we have from our children and grandchildren to finance our way of life.
- We’re number one in global weapons sales. That is probably our number one export. We sell more weapons of mass destruction than anyone else in the world. We sell to our neighbors, even those who eventually become our enemies and use them against us (take Iraq for example, or Iran as a future example).
We pride ourselves that we are number one. But let’s look at some of the areas where we fall very very short of being number one.
- We’re number 34 in the world when it comes to educating its citizens. Finland, which many here call a socialist country claim the number one mantle in education. As a matter of fact almost all industrialized countries are ahead of us in education. This fact does not bode well for our future citizens.
- We’re number 16 when it comes to infrastructure. We just don’t do a good job of keeping up in this area. Everything except for our military establishments are in decay.
- We’re number 37 when it comes to healthcare for its citizens. We are the only industrialized nation that does not provide healthcare for all its citizens. Yes if you have the money, and it takes a lot of money, you can get very high quality care in the country. If you don’t have the resources for a typical 6 figure surgery cost then you are pretty much out of luck.
Maybe I am just a naive soul but I would rather be number one is just about any of the items in the second list as opposed to be number one on all of the first. Until we somehow get our priorities aligned we will continue to slide down the lists of things that are really important.
But what do I know…..
I started getting the National Geographic magazine again. I used to look at them regularly when I was in grade school and high school many years ago but haven’t noticed them much since then. Many joke that older people like myself get NG because of the larger print. Personally speaking there is probably some truth to that. But it does have a lot of very interesting topics in between the covers and I have more time to read them now. This month there is also a large wall poster about the "World of Seven Billion”. I will spend a few posts here discussing that topic.
In the U.S. the top 20% of households are make more than $90,000. The top 20% of the world households make more than $12,000. This is a huge disparity! In the overall scheme of things everything seeks balance. As the world becomes more connected we become more homogeneous. Some don’t like that at all but it generally the case over the long run. Given the fact that there are so many people in the world that will the unskilled work for $1/hour it seems very unlikely that our industrial base will ever return to the U.S. So, the factory work that paid $20/hour or more is pretty much gone. The sooner we accept that fact the better.
Where the U.S. excels is in new discoveries. That is what keeps us in the affluent lane of the world. But since new discoveries pretty much depend on a strong math and science background, how long will we maintain that technological advantage? Long story short, we need to do a better job of educating our youth. The big part of that is to get away from the ‘nerd’ mentality. Instead of mocking nerds all of us should be one!
But what do I know…