01/29/2014 by syrbal-labrys
I was thinking more about the State of the Union address from last night. I perked up my ears when he began talking about education. I DO believe education is vital. But I have some disagreements with President Obama about what is important and why. First off, I don’t know if I really consider pre-kindergarten education worth a damn. Mind you, I paid and dearly, for some fancy-pants Montessori schooling for my kids. I also was no slouche at working with them at home. With my last child, I didn’t do the pre-K stuff and in all honesty; I saw no difference.
I think the screaming for pre-K schooling highlights a couple issues: (1) The really ugly one that a lot of parents are either too driven by need to survive financially to do more than park toddlers in front of a television while they work, or too stupid themselves to help kids hit developmental markers and (2) Kindergarten itself was once viewed as the ‘extra’ the non-obligatory pre-grade school thing. When does it stop? Ask why kindergarten isn’t doing the job it was once deemed capable of completing.
Of course, then the President stressed the need to get more kids college degrees. Hmmm, well, that made me exclaim “What the fuck FOR?” My disabled veteran son HAS a college degree from a good private university. He has no job. The jobs he has been offered are either (1) not really jobs — sales jobs on commission only on things people don’t want to buy or (2) with pay so low that by the time newly mandated health care on himself and his child, child support, gasoline bills are paid he has less than $500 clear to live on for the MONTH. Luckily he lives with us and we are carrying him for now, because he couldn’t even cover rent in this area, much less groceries, car insurance, heating and utility bills.
So, let’s discuss all these college degrees, shall we? My son’s intended bride graduates this summer, and there is no viable job on her horizon either. And she has college loans. Frankly, I’ve seen the course-work of junior colleges and state schools and I am angry. It is all shit that I personally learned in HIGH SCHOOL. So, bad enough that kindergarten isn’t doing the fucking job it was capable of in 1958, but high schools are not getting the job done that they did in 1971 EITHER. So, now, to be as capable as I was fresh out of 12 years of school, students now need to accrue bills for four more years?
There is some kind of bizarre combination of deflation of actual education and inflation of need for degrees. A BA/BS used to mean you could at least teach; now most schools demand a Masters. Jobs like physical therapist are more frequently demanding a PhD now. Apparently, the business to BE in is to BE a college or university! Young adults who can’t find jobs are basically being told it is their own fault — they are not educated enough to do the job.
I call bullshit on that for a couple reasons. First off, American employers are lazy cheap assholes, ok? They don’t want to train anyone at all — the idea of apprentice, journeyman, and master workers is something that they associate with feudalism in the Middle Ages. And yet, in many trades it was (and in Europe IS) the way things were actually done until the middle of the last century. What a lot of companies really seem to want is a bloodless, brainless robot that has no needs for pay or insurance or retirement.\
Second, there simply are not as many jobs of ANY sort as there are people in need of work. I took myself out of the workforce voluntarily in 2003. Not because I wanted to do so; my lack of pay has impacted us in negative ways — not to mention what it has done to my own self-image as a feminist and woman. But by then, I already saw struggling young families who needed the job I was using to pay off debt to pay for rent and groceries. Morally, I could not work for my convenience when they needed to work for SURVIVAL. Obama talks about supporting veterans, and getting college degrees in more hands; but that will all do NOTHING if there are not more jobs. And frankly, a lot of companies have decided, in recent dire times, that getting by with 2 employees doing what 7 USED to do is cheaper. So they are not hiring.
So, yeah, talk and talk some more Mr. Obama. If you want the American economy to jump start, stop kissing corporate ass. Tell them if they build their products abroad they can pay an IMPORT TARIFF to bring it back home to sell. And your threat to go around Congress with executive action? It has the Rethuglicans calling you “king-like” and I fucking hope the obstructionist bastards are right. But what I fear is that it is yet another empty promise/threat like I’ve heard from your lips before.
Telling Americans hard truths about themselves and their country has been unpopular since Jimmy Carter got laughed at for doing it. But hey, the lies are not helping and not fixing anything. Oh, wait…yes, they are; they are helping the rich loot the country before it all falls down, rather like the Marcos family looting the Philippines. How silly of me, the capitalists must survive; we serfs don’t matter. Even college degree holding serfs.