Archive for the ‘literacy’ Category

College Degree? Great. What Can You DO?

August 23, 2012

Any pug can go to college, but don’t bet on impressing employers unless you can do something they need.

As a college-educated retiree, I can tell you that a four-year college degree is not now, and for decades has not been, a reliable path to high-paying employment.

The scandal of tuition inflation (fueled in part by government subsidies) is only compounded by the lack of capacity for independent research and analytical thinking a typical graduate has when the cap and gown get tossed into the closet, and the grad gets tossed into the job market.

(To be fair, most of them enter college without those skills, or with those skills seriously underdeveloped, because their K-12 public education has concentrated on sociopolitical indoctrination at the expense of basic skills — reading, writing, math, reasoning and research.)

The rapid pace of change in Information Technology, and its pervasive effect at every level of everyday life, certainly changing the way business is done, means that a specific skill set that is in demand halfway through a college student’s four-year education track, and which may influence his choice of major, may well be obsolete by the time that same student graduates.

In fact, a technology in high demand when this year’s crop of freshmen graduate from college in 2017, may not even have a name, now, much less a defined curriculum that makes a grad attractive to a prospective employer. How many incoming freshmen in the fall of 2007 thought they should be learning how to write smart phone apps?

While the four-year graduate is still flying a touch-screen cash register for Apu, at the Springfield Kwik-E-Mart, living in Mom’s basement, and wondering where the money to pay his hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans is coming from, his more-adaptive contemporary, a student who left college in his sophomore year — or even with high-school diploma — has entered the job market with the ability to adapt as the job market changes, and to TEACH HIMSELF new skills ,as well as to absorb new developments in his existing skills.

By the time the “dropout” is a successful entrepreneur, or well up the ladder in a thriving business, the college grad will just be showing up on his doorstep, asking for an entry-level job, and not bringing much to recommend him. And, his student loan payments will still be due.
While he works nights in Apu’s emporium, he will need to struggle through some shady online college, incurring even more student loan debt,  and hope that he can use those skills before they go obsolete, to make better money, someday.

 
“So, you’ve got a BA in Poly Sci, with a minor in Women’s Lit? Great. Set me up for $30 on Pump 4, will ya? Is that coffee fresh?”

Kwik-E-Mart

“So, college grad, huh? Hang up that cap and gown, and get me some coffee.” (Photo Courtesy of The Simpsons at Wikipedia — Thanks, Apu!)

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CPR for America — ABC!

January 25, 2012

Here is where we are:

We walk into the room, and find our country, the United States of America, down on the floor, unconscious, not breathing, and with no pulse. Death is imminent.

Triage is in order. Treat the immediately life-threatening conditions first. Then fix the underlying problems.

The mnemonic used in CPR training, “ABC” (Airway, Breathing, Circulation), focuses on the order of importance of things in first-responder emergency care. Rescue breathing, for example, can’t happen without an open airway.

Circulation, including cardiac compressions and stopping bleeding, is irrelevant if there are no airway and breathing  to get  oxygen into the blood.

Get the airway open, deliver some breaths if needed, and then do cardiac compressions, if needed.  After the ABCs are taken care of, tend to the bleeding.

Fractures, pain control, swelling, infection, and other, important, but less urgent conditions come later. They cannot be neglected, but they come after ABC.

Same with our country.

Yes, we need a conservative president, and the more conservative, the better. However, any president who is not an America-hating, hard-core leftist,  is a life-saving improvement over Barack Obama. He has our national airway blocked. He will kill our country in another four year term.

Elect a president who will fire the “czars,” sequester the insane spending on pointless, destructive bureaucratic regulations, and take the government’s choking grip off the economy’s airway.

Airway open.

Get the air moving in the lungs. Tell Congress to repeal the stupid laws that gave these bureaucracies imperial power over Americans. Make the Justice Department administer justice, and not the political whims of the White House.

Breathing established.

Elect succeeding generations of strict constitutionalists to the House and Senate, so that any president who wants to rule like a king is hogtied and impotent, and impeached and removed, if necessary. Federal judges who want to write law from the bench will be returned by a Constitutionally responsible Congress to the private sector, or to prison, if they have done wrong in office.

Stem the government’s endless appetite for power and property by stopping it from doing the endless things it has no business doing. Abolish unconstitutional agencies, and fire their employees.

Circulation restored, and bleeding stopped.

Then, fix the deeply-rooted, abusive practices of a government that have had generations to fester and swell.

This process will take several election cycles, but it can work, if we don’t turn our backs on politics after the next election.

A, B, and C. Each is vital, but none is enough, without the others.

The best president in history is only a temporary fix, without a Congress and a judicial branch that will do their constitutional jobs.

None of this can happen without an electorate that is educated on the founding documents, and involved for the long haul — not just for 2012, but for every election from now on, and for every day in between.

We may put off our country’s imminent death, but we will have done nothing to forestall its progressive, degenerative decline into third-world, bankrupt, crippled irrelevancy — and death is still the ultimate result.

ABC.

A presidential election is a beginning, but it is just a beginning. It’s not a long-term job; it’s a never-ending job, and it’s the voters that have to do it.

First, ABC.