Friday, January 27, 2006

Nothing today about the ski trip

Well, I seem to have stirred up enough jealousy, angst, and other strong feelings by writing about the ski trip. Guess I’d better turn to another topic.

Surely there’s something I can blog about that’s non-controversial and won’t cause a storm of protest among my many and diverse readers. Hmmm. But what fun would that be?

I could always mention that my newly installed dishwasher seems to be leak-free, and does an excellent job of cleaning all the dishes, pans and utensils. But no, that would be tempting the conspiracy to leap to the attack. As long as it leapt at the rest of you, it would be OK, but now that it has attacked my own body (and I’m still not fully recovered) that might not be good if it came back at me again. So I won’t mention that.

There’s lots of comment-worthy stuff on the news, but I just get angry when I go there.

Oh, OK, here’s one for you. A colleague of mine (an HR manager at a Texas location of an Exxon Mobil refinery) reported recently that of all the applicants they get for jobs as plant operators, fully 75% cannot pass a simple test of literacy skills and math fundamentals. Of the 25% who DO pass, 50% of those fail the required drug test.

That leaves her with 12.5% to choose from. Of the ones she hires, half of those are sent off during their first year for remedial classes in reading, math, and basic chemistry. Many do not possess such basic workforce skills as regularly showing up for work on time, dressing properly, or practicing acceptable personal hygiene.

Do I see that as an indictment of both our education system and the way we “raise” our children? Yup. Oh, but our schools will teach our kids all about the environment, and how to save the planet! (Those are just a FEW of the reasons Carol and I decided to home-school our daughters.)

Here are a few more stats for you:

Over the next 15 years, India is expected to graduate twice as many students from college as America.

China is expected to graduate three times as many.

42% of students in China earn undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, compared with 5% in America.

75% of all new jobs will require some post-secondary school education.

68% of those entering high school 4 years ago have graduated; for communities of color, the graduation rate is 50%.

My source is Steve Gunderson’s testimony to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, presented in April, 2005. There's a lot more in there. You can read his remarks at this link.

The answer to all of this, according to members of the “Education Community” is more money for teachers’ salaries, schools, and so on. The answer according to me is parental concern and involvement in teaching their offspring how to read, write, and live.

End of rant.

(Let’s see how much controversy THAT stirs up!)


kenju said...

I see similar statistics around here and it is all scary as h**l. I cannot imagine what the world will be like in 25-50 years. It makes me afraid for my grandkids. So far they get good grades and are motivated to study, but the peer pressures they will be under as they grow are scary to contemplate. I wish we could all go back to the 50's again.

schnoodlepooh said...

No controversy with me. I'm sorry to say that we americans are a lazy lot.