Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Teachable Moment (last month)

Back in July, study results about the educational preparation of America's workforce came out. You probably didn't hear about it, because the national media didn't cover it. Apparently "school's out for the summer" applies to the news business, too. I Googled and Yahooed the report's title and three pages deep into both searches found the first media coverage was in "Industry Week."

It basically said what we pretty much all know -- our schools are failing pretty miserably when it comes to preparing kids to enter the workforce. But the good news is they CAN put a condom on a cucumber and have seen "An Inconvenient Truth." (OK I added the good news part.)

The report -- "The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training" -- was authored by some pretty respectable and basically non-partisan partners: Corporate Voices for Working Families; the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD); the Conference Board and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The two professional societies were understandably interested that their members could go to their companies to get more $$$ for training these "skulls full of mush" as the "Great One" says. The Conference Board is certainly not what you'd call an anti-business organization, and CVWF has on its board a good cross-section of companies, Wall Street, and educational institutions.

But the point -- how lousy our schools are these days -- (as BAD as that IS) is not really the point of this particular blog. I see it as a teachable moment (pun intended) for the current healthcare debate.

I wonder if the current Administration and one-party power lock in Congress would attack with such fervent desire, point out faults with such vitriol and venom, propose such fundamental and far-reaching changes to "the present system" in order to overcome THIS "crisis" as they now do with healthcare?

  • Talk about something costing the country huge sums of money and being broken.
  • Talk about lost productivity and implications for future generations.
  • Speaking of how far behind America is compared to our all-knowing, all-seeing, all-doing-it-better-than-we-are friends in "Europe."
  • If ever there was an example of how well (ill) a "government option" works it is the state controlled, union dominated, bureaucratic, "never enough money" black hole of a government service.

That's US public education.

Like the Wall St. executives, would this ruling party summon the heads of the major Teachers Unions before the Congress and demand to know where the billions of US taxpayers dollars had gone for all these years for the lemons their members have produced?

Like the Auto Maker CEOs, would today's Leftist Government make the Unions accept non-union educators (if there are such people), theoreticians and business executives to "run" the schools because they obviously can't?

Would this Administration disparage the prevailing education establishment, union leaders, and kooky social relativist school boards as "... the people who got us here" from their "... failed policies of the past 40 years ..." and banish them from having any role in the reforms?

Funny how it's also another example how the private sector manages to excel without the endless pit of government money and primarily by the skin that parents, students, and their schools all have in the game.