WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Boomers to Generation Y: Are You Experienced?
…The dearth of investment in young workers has them in a Catch-22: employers are less willing to make the effort to train recent college graduates—pulling up the ladder they once climbed to labor market success—and at the same time they cite inexperience as the operative fault of generation Y.
The Progressives broke the unspoken agreement between American industry and public education: You provide us with students educated sufficiently to meet the requirements of an effective work force, and we’ll hire them.
And so a high school diploma became a meaningful “union ticket” to decent jobs and a fulfilling life. For a while.
Over time, though, the educational needs of industry began to climb, even as the “inclusive” requirements of the progressive project began to dumb down the graduates produced by the public schools, until we reached a point where a significant portion of even college graduates are ignorant of their own history, illiterate, innumerate, and stuffed with spurious self-esteem and a poisonous sense of entitlement (thanks to a lifetime’s worth of being treated as special snowflakes whose every whim should be immediately gratified by a loving family and/or government, lest their conviction of their own historic perfection should falter just a bit).
So Meade (as he often is) is wrong when he cites “inexperience” as the primary fault that business finds in the products of public education.
The United States was the first country to provide for universal high school education. Today, one high school student in five leaves without a diploma, a weaker outcome than in most O.E.C.D. countries. The math and reading scores of American teenagers in O.E.C.D. tests have not improved over the last 10 years. And our college graduation rates have slipped substantially below those of other rich nations.
Schools do not appear to be adding much value.
The NYT article goes on to add, “Nor do employers do much to train workers.”
Well, that wasn’t the deal. America spends an enormous amount of its wealth on public education: The minimum return expected is a graduate pool of potential employees possessing at least the basic skills necessary to work. Blasting employers for failing to do the job that education was originally supposed to perform (before public education dropped the education part and simply became public progressive indoctrination) is not only unfair, it’s insane. Why on earth should employers have to train employees to read, write, and figure before they can even start to train them on the actual requirements of the job?
Short take: As with everything else, whatever progressivism touches, it destroys.