President Obama thinks all kids should go to college (94 percent of citizens agree, according to a May 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center). But this great American educational miscalculation is behind much of the nation’s massive unemployment.
Disturbingly, we don’t have enough skilled workers to make America work effectively today. Companies across America are literally begging for workers, offering well paying, high-skilled work just to stay in business, according to a Daily Caller article earlier this year.
People of every political persuasion are demanding a cure for unemployment. But the administration and Congress have failed, mainly because of Obama’s misguided insistence on green jobs and subsidized projects in “renewable” industries. (Think Solyndra scandal.) The Obama $474 billion Jobs Act is a bust. It is a mix of unworkable provisions and tax hikes that make even many Democrats turn up their noses.
As for higher education, the Obama administration is behind a tax credit that lowered the college tuition cost for more than 12 million students last year, an Oct. 13 CNNMoney.com story said.
Obama and Biden “will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit.” This refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds of the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct only 100 hours of community service. This should bring plenty of young voters to the polls for Obama next year.
Thirty percent of college and university students drop out after their first year. Half never graduate, and college completion rates in the United States have been stalled for more than three decades. “The record is quite bad, especially for African-Americans and other minorities,” says Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust. “The colleges want us to think everyone graduates, but a huge number don’t, and many leave with significant loan debts and job skills totally inadequate in the 21st century.”
Others leave school brainwashed by leftist professors, which brings joy to the Obama people. A study for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching used the categories “liberal” and “conservative.” It found that 70 percent of the professors in major liberal arts colleges and universities considered themselves liberal. Fewer than 20 percent identified themselves as conservative. (Of course, “liberal” here means left-liberal or socialist, not classical liberal.)
David Horowitz also makes the case in his book, “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.”
To look at one important area of study, only 8 percent of 376 surveyed companies rate the information technology (IT) graduates coming out of universities as “well trained and ready to go.”
Economist Robert Samuelson has said about American education:
“Theories abound as to what’s gone wrong. For skilled blue-collar jobs, high schools have de-emphasized vocational training, community colleges often aren’t well-connected to local job markets and union apprenticeship programs have withered, according to Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.” Another theory, says Samuelson, is that Americans are less willing to move to take jobs.
Nearly two-thirds of college presidents in the May 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center said it is unlikely that the U.S. will achieve the goal set by Obama that by 2020 we will have the largest share of young people with college degrees of any country in the world.
Moreover, a majority of Americans (57 percent) say higher education in the U.S. “fails to provide students with good value for the money…” And 75 percent said college is too expensive.
A record number of students are leaving college with a heavy debt burden. According to the Pew study, nearly half said that paying off that debt made it harder to pay other bills.
Ohio University Economics Professor Richard Vedder wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June that expensive college tuition didn’t have to cost so much. He said fees could be cut in half by getting the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads to teach about half as much as the 20 percent of faculty with the highest loads. The top 20 percent, he said, presently do nearly 60 percent of the teaching.
“There is a tremendous need for tool makers, machinists and technicians within the next few years,” Raymond Hopp, president of HK Metalcraft in New Jersey, said. “That translates into excellent and well paying career opportunities for our young people; and college education is not a requirement.”
The success of students of color is integral to Obama’s stated goal for the U.S. to regain its spot as the global leader in college graduates. The country is currently in twelfth place. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called this goal the “North Star” of his department’s education efforts.
Carl Camden, head of the temporary-employment company Kelly Services, says skill shortages span an array of jobs, from electricians to CAD/CAM operators (computer-aided design and manufacturing) to PhD scientists for clinical drug tests.
“You can’t find engineers to take jobs in many cities,” says Camden. “We have three jobs for every candidate.”
In an article earlier this year John Ratzenberger warned that we have a “failing economy, crumbling infrastructure, and a workforce made up of college graduates and unskilled labor.” He is producing an education documentary for national release in early 2012 called “Industrial Tsunami.” He said it will showcase programs across the nation that are providing “hands-on, meaningful training to a new generation of Americans. There are some terrific efforts underway, primarily in the private sector[.]“
But that would be contrary to everything Obama believes.
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