Ricky Thompson

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Does society deliberately and systemically under-educate a major proportion of its citizens in order to condition them for lower paid jobs?

Do the establishment really want a more educated general populace or are they in fact purposely ensuring an uneducated class in order to lower their expecations and obtain a 'flexible' workforce?

If so...

...what mechanisms do they use to do so?

....are they right to do so?

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    Jun 19 2012: Society does not under-educate people inorder to condition them for lower paid jobs it EDUCATES them instead in order to condition them for lower paid jobs. !

    I have witnessed many cases in which educated people earn much less than what they could have earned if they did not have the education.

    look at the MBAs , people who could be entrepreneurs and earn millions but they get the education of running "OTHER" people's businesses and earn thousands.
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      Jun 19 2012: I'm not buying (yet) the argument that under education isn't deliberate but I do find your example of educating to underpay very interesting!
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    Jun 19 2012: I wonder whether the under-funding of public education results in part from the tendency of both the wealthy (whose kids do not attend the faltering public schools in big cities) and the not wealthy (whose kids rely on such schools) to reenforce each other in ascribing the poor performance of schools to nefarious intentions or laziness on the part of administrators and teachers. If we instead began to accept that teaching and learning are challenging, particularly when families are under stress, perhaps the wealthy would feel greater virtue in investing in urban schools even if their children don't attend. Perhaps more time, energy, and resources could be devoted to education itself rather than to political battles/accusations/grand-standing that distract everyone from the work at hand and that produce bad choices for kids.
    I put this forward only as a conjecture. How much more could we accomplish if those inside education were not assumed to be so backward and lacking in good intentions and if those outside education recognized that the work is more complex than it may appear from outside?
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      Jun 19 2012: Actually, this could be addressed if we just stopped funding education from property taxes. Move it to a more general tax.
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        Jun 19 2012: Linda, could you elaborate? The property tax is surely more progressive and equitable than a sales tax. though the sales tax covers more people.
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        Jun 19 2012: What would fix it more is a voucher system or privatizing the education system.
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        Jun 20 2012: Government involved in education at all is suspect. That article doesn't pass the smell test.
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          Jun 20 2012: The reason the government got involved in the first place was because only people with money could get an education. In the mid 1800s industry moved from agriculture to manufacturing and that mandated a better educated workforce and the government got involved. But if you want a more balanced look at the voucher system see
          http://www.balancedpolitics.org/school_vouchers.htm
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        Jun 20 2012: Better, the pro wins hands down, especially regarding the argument against about rigorous oversight nothing has a more rigorous oversight than the free market.

        I don't see any problems with the voucher system?
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          Jun 20 2012: Poor people will still get poor schools. Only poorer. The good schools will have wait lists and guess where the people on the wait list will have to go. To the now even poorer schools. So the problem they are trying to fix will only get worse.
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        Jun 20 2012: That is the beauty of the market place when something is in demand the providers of the service expand their business and I can guarantee you that the market place can do this infinitely better than a government.
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          Jun 20 2012: I agree with you Pat. Only the market place can make poor people poorer.
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          Jun 20 2012: In this market place driven education system, who provides for the intellectually disabled, or the one in a thousand students who are confined to a wheelchair, or the mentally ill? The assumtion that something is only as important as the demand for it, seems to fly in the face of what we call human.
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        Jun 20 2012: That is not agreement and the truth is only the market place gives upward mobility.

        Statistically speaking the poor are a category very few of the real people stay in this category or the highest quintile.

        You are smart come on follow me on this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S-O6WDalug
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          Jun 20 2012: You must work with a different type of poor than I do. I see how the market works to keep them there. The people I work with are survivors and resilient. They make it through every day as a triumph. I work with these people. I do not get my information from TV. This is more along the lines of the people I work with:
          http://www.chronicpoverty.org/page/about-chronic-poverty

          I see this, smell this and live this. I am not some yahoo trying to justify his own wealth like the guy in the video.

          The chronically poor are the ones that will suffer most from the voucher system. Transient poor will move on.
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        Jun 20 2012: He is anything but a yahoo, he started out as a Marxist and one of the foremost economists in the world.

        Not to make less of helping other people as that is a very high purpose and laudable but your reaction has stopped you from hearing what I'm saying.

        How do you explain this talk?

        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jacqueline_novogratz_on_patient_capitalism.html
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          Jun 20 2012: OK taking a breath. Believe it or not, I do recognize Thomas Sowell. Does not change the yahoo comment. Let me outline why this doesn't work here. Why I get angry at people who blame the poor for being poor. The poor in this nation are some of the hardest working people on the planet. They have to deal with being invisible or worse, being judged. Wa wa that aside, let me explain just one person.

          Single mother of 2 under the age of 2. She spends the morning at wic, trying to make sure she has enough formula for the kids for the month. Lots of forms to fill and vaccination updates. Shes going to have to have an appointment at the free clinic for the baby. The afternoon is spent trying to get food from a food pantry. Lots of application along with verification of residence which can be tricky. Finally she is approved and can get enough food for the next three days. Tomorrow she plans on going to a church charity to try and get a refrigerator so she can store reconstituted formula and not have to waist it. More paperwork and wait, Every place she goes, she needs to take the bus which requires a bus pass. You got it, more paperwork, wait, verification... She spends every minute just getting the basics met. If she were to get a job, or start a business (canned laughter here) it would require that she NOT meet the basic needs of her family. She would have to somehow still stand in line for help with the gas and electric. She would not be able to make enough money to be able to afford to loose the benefits she has and there is simply not enough time in a day to do all this. The offices for assistance are only open during the day. She is considering the possibility of another baby because it would up her monthly income. She works more than 8 hours a day, taking the kids with her, to just get by. She would be in a worse situation if she had to work for minimum wage. At least she gets some help with the rent for the basement she stays in.
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          Jun 20 2012: So for patient capitalism to work, we would somehow have to figure out how to meet the basic needs of people while they are trying to start a business. Which they have no training for, which they do not have the academic skills for, Which they have no history of understanding because their parents were also poor and this is how they did it.

          Those opportunities are not available to them.

          They are very good at working the system. They know it better than I do with years more experience than I have. They know how many days you can get food at the Salvation Army and then you have to go to the food pantry. But go to Salvation army first because they won't help you if you got any help recently.

          And then Yahoos like Mr. Thomas come along and say they get this stuff for free and that is the problem. They are taking care of their families best they know how just like the rest of us.
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          Jun 20 2012: Joseph Stiglitz, the nobel laureate in Economics and also one of the foremost economists in the world, has a new book out called The Price of Inequality. It is a clear exposition of both the concepts of market failure and of government failure. He also addresses how some people choose to see only one of these failures and to ignore the other, with their positions oftenaligned with self-interest but not always. There has been a tremendous amount of salesmanship as well on the subject. [Nobel laureates in other areas, of course, like Peace or Medicine, would not be credible experts on this subject!]
          It's clearly written for anyone interested in the basic economics of income distribution, unemployment, growth, and so forth.
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        Jun 20 2012: Linda

        No one is blaming the poor for being poor it just is what it is. No doubt this lady will do better in the future. The truth is that anyone starting a family of a young single mother is going to have a hard time and more often than not I have heard this time related as a good time as that is when the individual was required to do more than they thought they could and they could. This may not align with the nanny state perspective but none the less is what I have seen.

        By virtue that you mentioned WIC I suspect you and I are neighbors. I won't bore you with my war stories but the other side can be every bit as difficult as the scenario you mention, you may scoff but that would not be a pertinent perspective.

        When you say: "Those opportunities are not available to them." that is my point as they should be.

        The reality is that as government expands as it has here is the state of Calif government costs go up, the problem is that this drives investment capital out of the state. The very substance that creates opportunities is investment capital. If this is available in Africa why not in California???
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          Jun 20 2012: If this is available in Africa why not in California???" I really don't know Pat. You are the one with faith in the market system not me. Can you answer this?
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        Jun 20 2012: Like I said it is because all new jobs are created by investment capital. Investment capital goes where it is treated best.
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      Jun 20 2012: Peter

      When you change your perspective from problem to solution your situation could easily be handled.
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        Jun 20 2012: When a school gets its first paraplegic student, who pays for the ramps to be installed. When the school was built no-one put in ramps because they are expensive and there were no paraplegic students enrolled. It would have been a waste of money.
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          Jun 20 2012: Around here they are retrofitted all the time, a non issue
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    Jun 18 2012: I do not know how this works in other countries, but in the United States there is no intention or conspiracy to produce an uneducated class to condition them for lower paid jobs. Many lower-paid jobs are held by bright, educated people, particularly when the economy is slow, and businesses appreciate the availability of smart, literate people when the economy expands. Furthermore, schooling is not just vocational preparation but also about creating an educated citizenry, prepared to participate in decisionmaking in an ever changing world. On the economic front, again, there is widespread belief within the states (that set educational standards school kids need to meet) that an educated workforce attracts businesses that require educated workers. No state would cultivate an economic underclass in the hope of not attracting employers who appreciate an educated workforce.
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      Jun 19 2012: I agree. Because as I posted elsewhere, many people with baccalaureate degrees are working retail here. As Fritzie said, lower-paid jobs are held by bright educated people. The rest tend to be incarcerated.
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      Jun 19 2012: Haha! I really hope you didn't mean that last sentence, Linda!
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        Jun 19 2012: I wish I was. Been learning about this through experience. Working in certain population groups in my area of the country I find out that for many unemployed men, the only health and dental they have access to is through the jail system. Even know some petty criminals who commit minor crimes because they need dentures. This causes an interesting phenomena called revolving door jail. Once you have a record nowadays, the record can be accessed by anyone so these people have a harder time finding a job especially when the market is flooded with baccalaureate prepared people. So they do the best they can until they need dialysis or something like that and then they commit crimes to be able to access healthcare. Which of course stops as soon as they are released. But they still need healthcare, cannot get a job.... etc.

        Sorry I do not have statistics to support my assertion. It really is based on my experience.
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          Jun 20 2012: Wow...I appreciate the National Health Service here in the UK more than ever now.

          Again...wow.
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    Jun 19 2012: No I don't see any evidence of that, in fact the opposite. The problems start when they deviate from the market place.
  • Jun 19 2012: It's in every nation's best interest to have an educated populace. Unskilled labor is gradually being taken over by automation and robotics. Even a machine that costs $25,000 is cheaper than a human worker that is paid a salary equivalent. Machines can work 24 hours a day, they don't take breaks, don't expect vacations or additional benefits, and they don't complain about labor conditions. Eventually the only reliable way to earn an income is to be an entrepreneur.
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      Jun 19 2012: But surely only a minority of people can/will be entrepreneurs (at least ones that make enough money to live to a decent standard).
      • Jun 20 2012: Then why is it that many first generation immigrants are able to establish small businesses not only in a new country but at times without ever knowing the local language?
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    Jun 19 2012: In my country at the moment it is almost the opposite. Our federal government is always going on about the education revolution and the skills shortage. The success of a school is measured by how many students go on to university. At the same time some of the greatest employment opertunities are now as unskilled laborers and process workers on production lines as no one seems to want to do those jobs.
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      Jun 19 2012: It is also the same in my country.
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      Jun 19 2012: If this is so I presume that the pay for unskilled laborers etc is rising quickly in order to attract more people, yes? (the question is to both of you, Peter and Sina)
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        Jun 19 2012: Yes it is, in AUS anyway. Minimum wage in AUS is now $15.51 per hour for an adult, and yet many unskilled jobs are taken by recent immigrants and students from O/S because the Australian psyche doesn't value the contribution of cleaners or shopping trolley collectors.
        That's about 50% more than in the UK and double the US
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        Jun 19 2012: Historically what happens is that those type of jobs will be done elsewhere.
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    Jun 18 2012: I really don't see any reason as to why they would do this. There are unquestionably better and worse schools which all depend on different factors such as area and wealth of school and pupils etc. For example at GCSE and A level Northern Ireland has outperformed England, Scotland and Wales in terms of grades in the past few years. And I'd rather hope to say that I'm among the more intelligent among my peers and something I notice is that even those who are subjected to the same education as me can be complete and utter idiots. So from my school no definitely not, we are all equal some just choose not to listen and I'll get to why later. In other areas though there are schools with reputations of getting awful grades, is this a reflection of teaching quality? I think not. It is more than likely down to factors which arise from the pupils and these are as follow.
    The poverty or low income cycle is a ferocious system which does exist in the UK. Households with low incomes, especially in Belfast, tend to produce those who be deemed as less educated and in times rightly so. So, here you have parents who neither care nor want to do better, hence their child adopts the same attitude almost every time, and so as they go through the education system they waste their chances. The problem especially in NI is that there are large areas like this and this leads to schools being full of children with this mindset and so the school gets labelled as bad. And so the children never get educated and get a low wage job and so the cycle continues. Also if a Gov needed to fill in jobs they would be better off empowering education so that someone would invent a fully robotic system to do jobs no one wants to.
    But one thing I would point out is the difficulty of education, some people have great intentions but just can't grasp what they're being taught and so unluckily fall into a lower wage bracket and it may be the elitism of education which creates a flexible workforce.