Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 2, 2009

Futures Tutorial Part 12: Education

futurestutorial12

We certainly called this one.   The national education review in 2000 confirmed what we saw in 1992.  U.S. public education – K-12-  failed more than it served.  And U.S. colleges and universities provide the best education in the world – and the most expensive warehousing of young adults acting as adolescents.

Foremost, the public schools wouldn’t provide “adequate” eduation.   Adequate is defined as adequate for recruits to enter the Army and not have to be educated – as opposed to trainined – in basics.  So, the educational quality of young soldiers going down is a big concern for the Army.  And the Nation.  And, of course, Virginia.

Additionally, new skills are needed jobs that didn’t even exist 5 or 10 years ago.  Public school educrats are incapable of being bright enough to discern what those skills are – among the many new skills aborning – or flexible enough to make adjusts to offer them, or bright enough in the skills to teach them.  It’s up to the Army to teach new skills or make the presentation of the duty as simple as possible.  Think ‘buttonology’ for operating very complext systems with very little operator ability to troubleshoot and no chance at repairing the system.

The big broad numbers stay depressing.  

About 1 in 4 American kids in any class year don’t finish High School.  Their ability to function in our society is severely limited.  There are no skill, no training, no talent jobs, but not enough for 1 out 4 folks in every age cohort.

2 out of 4 American kids go to college with 1 in 4 finishing.  About 6% go on gradschool. 

So, half of the cohort has a high school education, 1 in 4 are college grads, and 1 in 15 are graduate/professionally degreed. 

A few posts down the changes in income distribution show what marketable skills and usable education mean in money.  The top half of America has much more money. The bottom half plugs along with little gain.

Much is made of the number of engineering students in India, China and around the world, as well as non-US in U.S. engineering schools.  It’s an indication of failure in one area.  It isn’t necessarily a harbinger of total economic non-competiveness in the future – but of only one significant failure. 

Anecdotally, when I go to California where the engineers are – that I work with – the older white male (and over represented based on population – Jewish) engineers are being replaced by more Asians (from India east) and many more young women (also over represented based on population – Asian).  I call them the YSPs (younger smarter people).

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