Saturday, April 28, 2012

53% of New Graduates are Jobless or Underemployed

The USA Today reports graduating class of 2012 is in for a rude awakening as Half of new graduates are jobless or underemployed.
A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

Median wages for those with bachelor's degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.

Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor's degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade. "I don't even know what I'm looking for," says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.

About 1.5 million, or 53.6%, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41%, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year. Broken down by occupation, young college graduates were heavily represented in jobs that require a high school diploma or less. In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).

According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor's degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren't easily replaced by computers.

Useless Degrees

The USA Today talks about the "underemployed". Is that really what's going on?   Just what job does someone majoring in Political Science, English, History, Social Studies, Creative Writing, Art, etc., etc., etc., expect to get?

Arguably, graduates in those majors (and many more) should be thankful to get any job. Therefore, those who do land a job should therefore be considered fully employed, not underemployed.  In turn, this means a college education now has a negative payback for most degrees. 
Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he has received financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. "There is not much out there, it seems," he said.

There is nothing out there for many degrees which means that going to graduate school will do nothing but waste more money. Nurses are still in demand, but technology and engineering majors are crapshoots. If you can land a technology or engineering job it is likely to be high paying, but if not, the next step is retail sales.

Who Benefits From Student Aid? 

Students get no benefit from "student aid". Rather, teachers, administrators, and corrupt for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix do.

Obama wants to throw more money at education, and that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Instead, I propose stopping student aid programs and accrediting more online schools to lower the cost of education so that degrees do not have negative payback.
Sadly, there is a trillion dollar student loan bubble, and that debt overhang will negatively impact the economy for years to come. Let's not make the problem worse. It's time to kill the inappropriately named "student aid" program.


British Catholic schools face 'indoctrination' claims over gay marriage

The Roman Catholic Church contacted its secondary schools in England and Wales asking them to encourage pupils to back the campaign aganist gay marriage.

Church education chiefs last night defended theselves against allegations of “political indoctrination” insisting they were "proud" to promote traditional marriage.

The Catholic Education Service contacted 385 secondary schools asking them to circulate the recent letter read in parishes defending the traditional definition of marriage.

Schools were also invited to promote the petition organised by the Coalition For Marriage opposing the Government’s plans to allow homosexual couples to marry.

Last night almost 470,000 people had signed the petition, backed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, the biggest active petition in Britain at present.

Last month a letter penned by the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols and the Most Reverend Peter Smith, was read at masses attended by around a million worshippers.

It defended marriage as a “natural institution” and said that redefining it would be a “profoundly radical” step.

Schools were invited to use the letter in assemblies or distribute copies to parents as well as highlighting the petition.

But a pupil at one London secondary school complained to the website PinkNews saying that they were “appalled” by the way the issue had been presented.

Secularist campaigners warned that schools which read the letter could be breaking equality laws as well as rules against promoting political causes in schools.

But Maeve McCormack, policy manger for the Catholic Education Service, said: “It was an explanation of marriage and a positive affirmation of marriage, celebrating the huge value that it brings to society – we are proud of the fact that these kinds of values are taught in our schools.”

She said that Catholic schools were free to put forward Church teaching in RE and assembly.

But Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: "This is a clear breach of the authority and privilege that the Catholic Education Service has been given in schools.”

Richy Thompson of the British Humanist Association, said: “the Coalition For Marriage petition is very deliberately a political document and for this reason we question whether the CES has broken the law.”


Britain's  history lessons are 'worst in West': Failing curriculum needs overhaul, says academic

History teaching in England is among the worst in the western world, a Cambridge University don has warned in a devastating report.

Youngsters are taught a ‘mis-cellany of disconnected fragments’ and examined on barely anything before 1870, he claimed, missing out on vast swathes of British, European and world history.

Professor Robert Tombs, a history fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge, said it was ‘difficult to name’ a European country that taught the subject so poorly.

In the report, released today, the professor demanded an overhaul of the subject, and published an alternative curriculum featuring 36 key events in British history that all secondary school pupils should study.

Very few current GCSE courses examine history before 1870, he said,  with more attention often paid to skills such as evaluating  sources rather than acquiring knowledge.

While coverage is broader at A-level, he said the late middle ages and most of the 18th century are hardly touched.

‘Over-specialisation on a few topics crowds out vast areas of history,’ he said. ‘Scant attention’ is paid to the British Empire, despite its far-reaching implications in global history.

By contrast, countries including France, Germany and Australia are already teaching, or moving towards, a broad chronological sweep of world and national history.

Professor Tombs also condemned ‘dismal’ marking, saying: ‘Many examiners seem to know little about the topics they mark.’

The report, published by the Politeia think-tank, comes as the Government considers major curriculum reforms.  Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced a radical shake-up of all subjects. Proposals are being drawn up for introduction in September 2014.

In his report, Professor Tombs said history education in schools had ‘little in common with real historical study’.

Pupils typically study a random array of topics including Tudor England, the native peoples of America, the Industrial Revolution in England and the Nazis.  Some study Hitler three times during their school career.

And rather than focusing on knowledge, examiners are more concerned with testing artificial historical ‘skills’ such as evaluating sources.

Pupils are also forced to study obscure topics in ‘absurdly arcane’ detail, he said.  Pupils taking an Edexcel GCSE unit on international relations, for example, need to know about Hungary’s internal politics between 1953 and 1956, as well as ‘scores of other topics’.

‘It would be difficult to name a European country that teaches history in such a manner, one which can leave the majority of school-leavers in the dark about the unfolding story of their past,’ Professor Tombs said.  ‘Our present compulsory curriculum lags behind other countries in its neglect of swathes of European history.’


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