America’s education system ignores the skills employers need

Americans still believe that hard work is essential to success, but is it enough?

Liberals in Congress and the media sell the idea that poorer Americans are held back by structural racism, sexism, big tech monopolies, and whatever newism an academic or enterprising expert can imagine.

Of course, not all children start in the same place. Those from high-income families have a better chance of having an education that pays off, but less so for non-blacks or men.

Eighteen percent of Harvard freshmen are black compared to 13% of the US population, and about 57% of recent college graduates are women.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has targeted Georgia’s new electoral law because 29% of blacks use postal voting compared to 24% of whites. He should be apoplectic about what is going on in higher education.

I will let the reader decide whether Mr. Garland is a man hypnotized by Woke’s theology.

Even the starting line matters. That’s why Senator Mitt Romney offered a similar family allowance to Democrats. But much of the national debate centers on the ideological competition between critical racial theory – whites have racism in their DNA – and Project 1619 – capitalism and America were founded to entrench slavery – and conservative orthodoxy – free markets, free trade and limited government are the only enlightened path.

The truth lies somewhere in between, but pushing and pulling has spawned federal welfare and social policing states that have disabled children and young adults trying to be successful. And encumber working-class and middle-class Americans thrown to the rug when disruptive technologies, import competition, financial crises or pandemics destroy their jobs.

Too much of the federal education support system and local school policy is aimed at getting all qualified – and too unqualified – high school graduates into college, while half of those who enroll drop out. or get degrees that don’t lead to high paying jobs. . They end up in debt until middle age and eventually lured into politicians who tell them they are victims and offer handouts in the name of fairness.

In reality, it is the collateral damage of rotten primary and secondary schools. These talk too much to kids about social justice and barely focus on math skills, practical mechanical puzzles, critical thinking, and conceptual approaches to tough engineering challenges to cultivate interest in STEM disciplines.

High schools let the kids sort, and we end up with too few college students with the math and analytical instincts for STEM disciplines and too many with a soft humanities and social sciences specialization.

School guidance pays little attention to private sector apprenticeship programs sponsored by the Ministry of Labor. After two years, these offer salaries above the average for college graduates.

The result is that employers don’t have the workers they need.

Almost nothing is being done to allow the army of displaced workers to enroll in these programs. Resettlement assistance and income assistance are almost non-existent for the mid-career unemployed.

As a result, the economy has too many people making sandwiches and serving coffee, food stamps, and Section 8 housing, and not enough qualified engineers and technicians.

If politicians, teachers and activists constantly tell young people that the country is hopelessly racist and that the underprivileged are outright victims, then they will do too little to improve themselves. Other than turning to the government for a program that discriminates against someone else and offers guaranteed income.

The Biden-Harris administration is blind to the facts and deaf to reason. It doubles down on policies that have failed by expanding higher education and inserting racial and gender preferences into the United States Employment Plan and the American Family Plan at every opportunity available.

Industrial policies and congressional administration are targeting subsidies for physical manufacturing – pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, advanced batteries, critical materials, and rare earth minerals – while seeking to dismember the high-tech giants that carry out the Expensive R&D that creates the software essential to manufacturing success.

It would be like subsidizing the steel industry but taxing car design in the 20th century, but the president is obsessed with factories and union cards. He has appointed antitrust officials with publicly pronounced biases against big tech.

Every child should have the essential resources to be successful, but giving free money to families with a daily dose of victimization theology, rephrasing the myth that college is offering the golden ticket, and denigrating our founding heritage is the key. surest way to kill our prosperity, to extinguish the beacon of democratic America, and to turn the future over to the autocrats in Beijing.

• Peter Morici is an economist and professor emeritus of commerce at the University of Maryland and a national columnist.

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