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America’s Business is Jobs, Not College

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Many of us are guilty. I am, too. You, probably.

In high school (and after) we mocked the kids who took shop. The “greasers” who got credit for wrenching on cars or welding or making cabinets. It was the 1980s and shop, along with home economics, became an elective in most schools.

Until the 80s, some practical life skill class was a requirement at most American public and parochial high schools. Only prep schools let students slide. But in the 1980s—perhaps influenced by the satire book “The Official Preppy Handbook,” schools across the socio-economic spectrum dropped shop from the mandatory list. Some dropped it altogether. At that point, kids who signed up for shop were signing up for blue collar work. They were hand-raisers for the mockers.

Cultural contempt for people who do actual work only increased in the three decades since shop became a dirty word. Movies, television, novels, comedians make fun of the people who build their homes, build and repair their cars, program their computers. put out their fires, fix their leaky toilets, and paint their walls. The smirking class scoffs at guys who take a shower at the end of their workdays.

At the same time, American culture has all but made a 4-year college degree mandatory. From Presidents of the United States to high school principals, the people we’re told to respect show little or no respect for the vast majority whose highest education ended in a prom. Yet, from the President on down, we depend far more on those who know how to make things than on those who “stare at their feet and think great thoughts,” as legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once said.

The Post-Dispatch points out, there’s no incentive for schools produce great workers:

Public schools, meanwhile, are judged by test scores and the percent of students they send to college. Guidance counselors aren’t likely to push young people toward the plant gates.

Today, America has a glut of college-educated pizza deliverers and a shortage of forty-dollar-an-hour machinists and electricians. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights the shortage of skilled labor in St. Louis:

Factories around St. Louis can find plenty of people for grunt jobs — lifting boxes, sorting parts and such. They have a much tough[er] time finding hands-on machinists, computer numerical control, or CNC, machine operators, toolmakers, industrial electricians, multi-skilled maintenance mechanics and other jobs that require math talent and a couple of years of schooling.

A recent national survey of association members found that 90 percent have moderate or serious trouble finding qualified employees.

So, jobs paying $20, $25 and sometimes $40 an hour are going unfilled.

If you think the skilled-labor shortage is an argument for open borders, you’d be very wrong. Skilled workers in Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East lead decent lives in their countries. Unless driven out by war or cartel violence, skilled workers don’t migrate illegally into the US–grunt workers do, the kind of workers America already finds in abundance.

A lot of those grunt workers are recent college graduates. CareerBuilder.com found in a 2014 study that 51 percent of college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require degrees. ZeroHedge.com found one (click here for full story):

Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age. Not so for her.

Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

“That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500. Romanowski said she envies the choices that her daughter has in life, but she acknowledged that her daughter has it harder than her. “I think the opportunities have just been fading away,” she said.

Had Andrea opted for machine shop class instead of college, she’d now have 8 years of seniority as a machinist earning somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. It’s unlikely she will find a job that requires her degree that will make up for the 8 years she lost in college and dead-end jobs.

While it’s true that the aggregate of those with college degrees earns more than the aggregate of those without, that statistic is deceiving. The college-educated number skews high because of ridiculously high salaries of a few. Skilled laborers without degrees are huddled together in a narrower range of salaries. In other words, the gap between a senior machinist and a Fortune 1000 CEO is way bigger than the gap between the machinist and the liberal arts major who sells pizzas.

Further, the college-educated pool includes all levels of education: doctors, lawyers, PhDs, etc. It’s not just those with a 4-year degree and no more. Plus, we don’t need as many Ph.D. historians as we need skilled machinists and electricians. The Department of Labor says only about 1/3 of American jobs require any education beyond high school.

So where do we go from here?

I think America’s attitude about real work is about to change. Donald Trump won on the strength of people who work for a living. To a large extent, so did Eric Greitens here in Missouri. So the people in power owe a big debt to the people who shower after work. Meanwhile, a growing number college-educated young people—the key demographic for advertisers and entertainment producers—can’t afford the products advertised on TV and Facebook. (Products made by people who took shop.) Smart marketers and television writers will soon realize that the actual key demographic in America is young skilled workers, not just young people in general.

As the leftist hysteria over 2016’s election quiets down (and it will), expect to see growing respect and appreciation for the people who work in blue-collar jobs. As college tuition continues to rise faster than inflation and faster than healthcare costs, expect taxpayers to demand that Congress slam the brakes on higher education spending. Some of that money will go to pay the debt, but some tax money can be returned to the states to expand shop classes.

Making America great again requires that America make things again—things that last longer than a pizza or an Old Fashioned cocktail. The jobs that Trump has promised need people who can lift a load and do the math. As one employer told the Post-Dispatch:

He’s picked new high school graduates, hoping to train them, but often found they lack basic skills. “It’s basically all math and hard labor. I have had kids that make the effort, but they don’t have the brain power.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “the business of America is business.” That was almost 100 years ago. Today, the business of America is jobs.

Let’s get to work.

Are abortionists manipulating Mizzou’s black athletes?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A few Mizzou football players announced they’re boycotting all sports activities until University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe quits or is fired. Considering the football team’s dismal performance, the cynic in me wonders if sitting out might help the players’ chances of getting an NFL draft.

The players and other African-American students at Mizzou believe they are victims of “systematic oppression” and they want Tim Wolfe to fix it simply by resigning.

I cannot find any specific recommendations for Mr. Wolfe to consider other than resignation. Instead it seems he’s challenged to simply “do more” without limit. Presumably, banishing all white students and professors from the University of Missouri system would not be enough.

I suspect, however, that restoring Planned Parenthood’s privileges on campus would be quell the unrest.

In October, the University of Missouri Board of Curators held an emergency meeting to discuss personnel issues. The four-hour meeting took place shortly after Mizzou broke ties with Planned Parenthood in the aftermath of a series of damning videos that showed Planned Parenthood hawking body parts of aborted babies.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Mizzou’s black athletes are being duped by the heirs of Margaret Sanger who founded Planned Parenthood, in part, to wipe the world clean of black people?

Margaret Sanger was a strong proponent of eugenics. Via The Public Papers of Margaret Sanger at New York University, Sanger wrote in 1921:

Today Eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems. The most intransigent and daring teachers and scientists have lent their support to this great biological interpretation of the human race. The [first world] war has emphasized its necessity.

She was also a master manipulator who carefully said, more or less, “we must ask the inferior races to abolish themselves.” But she held out the potential need for superior races to do the job. Again, from her 1921 article on eugenics:

Birth Control is not advanced as a panacea by which past and present evils of dysgenic breeding can be magically eliminated. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.

What is eugenics? Eugenics is a pseudoscience meant to cleanse genetic malfunction, eliminating racial, political, and social problems throughout the world. You know, like Hitler tried to do.

In an America demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early twentieth century. Elitists, utopians and so-called “progressives” fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton’s eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: populate the earth with vastly more of their own socio-economic and biological kind–and less or none of everyone else.

  • See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796#sthash.xwGlJLCu.dpuf

But eugenics never took hold in America, right?

Wrong.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

  • See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796#sthash.xwGlJLCu.dpuf

But, but, but . . . but Hitler took eugenics in a direction never intended by its American sponsors, right? Surely the Yanks were talking about voluntary birth control to weed out genetic problems.

Guess again:

Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point eight was euthanasia.

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a “lethal chamber” or public locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, Applied Eugenics, which argued, “From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution… Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.” Applied Eugenics also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection,” which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”

  • See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796#sthash.xwGlJLCu.dpuf

In fairness, the final report opposed both abortion and extermination:

Any individual once born should, in the opinion of the committee, be given every opportunity and aid for developing into a decent adulthood of maxi- mum usefulness and happiness. Preventing the procreation of defectives rather than destroying them before birth, or in infancy, or in the later periods of life, must be the aim of modern eugenics.

Still, as Margaret Sanger’s own words indicate, eugenicists left the door open to more “Spartan” measures if society failed to aggressively implement its recommendations, especially segregation and forced sterilization.

While I could be wrong, I suspect that the racial unrest at Mizzou is being fomented by the Planned Parenthood brownshirts. Perhaps Mr. Wolfe’s next investigation should seek to uncover manipulation of African-American students by supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Schools Don’t Need More Technology–They Need Less

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I was on my high school’s board of education for a year. It was quite an honor, honestly, but I screwed it up.

At the time, I was a software architect. They put me on the board as the technology guy. I was supposed to make the case for more funding for smart boards and other tech stuff.

But I said kids really don’t need more technology in school. Technology, I said, was like sex education: they’ll get more than they can handle on the streets or watching TV. What they need is a better understanding of how they can use it.

I was thrilled to read that Eric Greitens agrees with me. Maybe not on the sex education part, but on the technology.

This is from Eric’s new book, Resilience:

Today we spend huge effort and millions of dollars to bring more technology into the classroom, when the great majority of students in the great majority of circumstances can learn almost all of what they need to know with a supportive family, a pencil, some paper, good books, and a great teacher. The schools that produced Shakespeare and Jefferson and Darwin had some writing materials, some printed books— and that was it.

Greitens, Eric (2015-03-10). Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (Kindle Locations 1551-1554). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

The more I learn about Eric Greitens, the better I like him. He understands that a good home and good teachers are more important to education than computers and whiteboards that record what’s written on them. If what’s written on the board is wrong or stupid, smart boards record errors and stupidity. That helps no one.

Here’s more from Resilience on this point:

Imagine you’re a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old school kid at Radley Hall in England in 1837. Here are some of the questions on your winter exam:

  • Why is not virtue either παθος or δυναμις?

  • Give Aristotle’s reasons (4) why true self-love cannot exist in vicious men.

  • Find the length of an arc whose chord is 18, and the chord of half the arc 10 ⅓.

  • Give the characters of Alfred the Great, Cardinal Wolsey, Henry the Eighth, and Queen Elizabeth.

Greitens, Eric (2015-03-10). Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (Kindle Locations 1554-1558). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

I think I can handle the last question, but only superficially. So, are we moderns really smarter than 19th century Englishmen?

Schools don’t need more technology. They don’t need money to buy smart boards. They need the courage to empower their teachers to teach. We train teachers, then tell them to simply follow Pearson’s marketing education guide. That’s not teaching; it’s robotics.

Maybe Eric Greitens gets it because his mom was a special education teacher, like my wife. 🙂

Rockwood School Board Quid Pro Quo?

Reading Time: 1 minutes

From the “see, I told ya so” file . . .

Rockwood NEA President Suzanne Dotta worked hard to influence the recent school board election. The candidates Ms. Dotta pushed won.

The new board hired Ms. Dotta as Director of Professional Learning within 72 hours of the election.

I expect Ms. Dotta to teach Rockwood’s professionals how to game the system for personal gain at taxpayer expense.

If you’d like to question this apparent quid pro quo, the next Rockwood Board meeting is April 24.  Meetings are held at Crestview Middle School, located at 16025 Clayton Road in Ellisville.  Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.

Eileen Tyrrell Is Only Rockwood Candidate In It For All Stakeholders

Reading Time: 1 minutes

Eileen Tyrrell is the only candidate who represents ALL the stakeholders in Rockwood School District.

While other candidates focus on more money for the system, Eileen focuses on using Rockwood’s (embarrassingly) ample resources better.

Here’s what you need to ask youself:

  1. Do you plan to fulfill your duty to vote on April 8?
  2. What time of day do you plan to vote?

  3. Where will be and what will you be doing immediately before you go to vote?

See you at the polls on April 8 to vote for Eileen Tyrrell.

Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8

1.2 Million Reasons to Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you live in Rockwood School District?

I do. My kids all went to Rockwood schools. My wife taught in a Rockwood school for three years.

The teachers in Rockwood tend to think a lot like the people who live here. They’re not a bunch of wacked-out lefties. Not most of them.

Still, that good education has come with HUGE price tag. Rockwood is one of the most expensive districts in Missouri. Property taxes for residents are almost double the average car payment.

And Rockwood’s board and administrators have a long, ugly history of scandal, corruption, and waste. The Missouri Auditor and the Missouri Ethics Commission practically have field offices at Rockwood’s headquarters.

For me, that last bullet is the root of all Rockwood’s evil. School board members get arrogant and secretive. The Rockwood Board does the bidding of the NEA instead of representing the taxpayers who build and maintain the schools. They use your tax dollars to extort more of your tax dollars. They want it all.

That’s why Rockwood needs a real champion of education and the people.

Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8
Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8

If not for Eilleen Tyrrell, that crooked construction company would still be pocketing millions of your tax dollars illegally. Eilleen Tyrrell and Lisa Hunt Earls formed Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions in 2011. Eilleen wanted to give taxpayers a voice.

Eileen Tyrrell gave you a voice, and that voice made your schools better. But it wasn’t easy. RSRS continues to battle the NEA-appointed Board of Education at every turn.

The union bosses and their hand-picked BOE think your money is their play toy. And they don’t like citizen activists like Eileen protected your pockets.

Last year, Eileen made a difficult decision. As one of the boldest, most tenacious ambassadors of accountability in education, Eileen decided she needed to represent you on the inside.

I support and Eileen Tyrrell for Rockwood School Board on April 8th–and every other day of the year.

I meet a lot of people through St. Louis Tea Party activities. Many of those people come out and do a lot of hard work. But that work takes a toll. Most cannot sustain their effort over a long period.

Eileen Tyrrell never gives up. Eileen has fought the good fight–and won–more than anyone I’ve met in the 5 years that the Tea Party has been around.

Now, the NEA is strong-arming teachers to fight Eileen. Some of those union-blinded teachers will put pressure on you and on your kids to stand by the old guard and their secretive, expensive, corrupt ways.

One Rockwood teacher wrote an impassioned Facebook post encouraging you to vote the way her union bosses tell you to vote.

But you’re not like that. You chose to live in Rockwood because you know that hard, honest work wins out. You don’t take orders from union bosses, and you don’t let elected officials secretly divvy out your tax dollars to their friends.

I am confident that you will join me in supporting and electing Eileen Tyrrell on April 8th.

If you believe in government accountability and good schools you will click this link, send Eileen a few dollars to fight the NEA’s millions, and ask just 2 other people to vote for Eileen on April 8th. That’s the only election you need to care about.

Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8th in Rockwood School District.