John Florez: Jobs, education becoming unlinked

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  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    April 21, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    What American schools have historically provided is a better general education, avoiding a narrow focus on job training only. This is what makes us the leaders of innovation in technology. The technology of the future is unknown, but the subjects disparaged by carman, political science, international relations, social studies, family and child development, actually prepare us for flexibility and innovation to meet the needs of our changing society.

    People are our most important product.

    This is why I oppose the narrow focus of the "Prosperity 2020" project, spearheaded by commercial interests. Education has broader purposes. Yes, keep the tech schools, but don't fail to prepare our future planners, leaders, communicators, and innovators. Even the most hard-core scientists benefit from the creativity and mental stimulation than come from the fine arts. We are a society seeking a full, well-rounded life, not just production lines.

    Ultra Bob is right, many jobs of the future don't even exist yet.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    April 21, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    The woes in Utah Education have very little to do with any "federal" growth of education. These woes have come about because of one-party domination of state politics with an agenda to starve public education to death in favor of vouchers, charters and privatization. I guess one has to examine if these are worthy endeavors and generally the past generation of students have been sacrificed for these aims. Once the public education is beast is starved to death by the Right, then I suppose they can rebuild the model in what form is desired. Of course, the students of say the last 20-25 years, and especially, the last ten or so years and in the immediate future until the task is fully complete, will be the collateral damage of this aim...

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 20, 2013 10:02 p.m.

    I regard the true Americans as those who stand up for the Constitution and our god given rights, of which the federal governments only role is to protect. It goes without saying that the federal government has made a mockery of true education and awkwardly stumbles around its massive budget to further confuse and distort the concept of 'Education'. You got it right about what America (because of the protection of individual god given rights) has done the past 200 years to make this country great. However, Socialism did not make America great; Free enterprise and God-given rights, protected under the Constitution, made America great. Socialism's failure is readily apparent in Europe. If you are LDS, then all you need to read are the words of some of your prophets regarding the evils of socialism. It's really simple. You either believe in working from the outside in through compulsion (Communism or socialism), or from the inside out through free choice (Gospel of Jesus Christ). No other country in the world has guaranteed a better opportunity for that possibility. America and liberty will rise again, but it won't be through the Department of Education.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 20, 2013 1:59 p.m.


    I see the failure of the public schools in the take over of state governments by unscrupulous business interests. Fifty years ago I moved my family to Utah, the good schools were part of the reason. Since then, the state legislature has worked against public education. I don’t know of the bad changes forced by the national government.

    As bad as it is, the American government has not failed it mission. In a mere 200 years it has given the world the best example of a civilized society ever.

    Control is what government does. It is why government is created. It protects us by controlling the things that harm us. Our freedom is dependant on their ability to do their job.

    People who would limit and prevent the federal government from its job cannot be regarded as true Americans. As a classroom teacher, I salute you. As a detractor of America, I am afraid of you.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    April 20, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    What Florez should have titled this article is: "Jobs and Irrelevant Education Becoming Unlinked"

    Then he could have gone on to talk about 1) The failure for more than half of college students to get a 21st century relevant education in spite of spending more in real dollars on education almost every year. 2) The failure for individuals to keep their education up-to-date, and upgrade skills as market needs change. Yes it is difficult, but the dividends paid are large. 3) Related to #2, two to three generations of workers who have learned how to avoid hard work, largely a result of growing up in homes when careers were easy to manage and the job market robust (e,g, 1993-2000). Many want to engage in recreation, sports, TV, web-surfing, etc., and get frustrated that their "job" gets in the way. It wasn't always this way, and still isn't in many parts of the world.

    We need to get back to the fundamentals of getting real, relevant educations (not just a piece of paper), and learn how to work hard again.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 20, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    Ultra Bob: Actually, I am right. Any person who thinks that the federal government has the answer to any of our challenges, perhaps least of all education, is sorely misinformed, to put it mildly. Look at the achievement scores the last 50 years, where the government has sold the public on their 'expertise' to educate their children, to validate my point. The federal government has failed in its purpose and mission. The dept. of Education is not about education, it is about control. They have failed (dare you to show me any statistics that indicate otherwise) in so many ways it would be futile to summon the facts to someone that doesn't want them. My children have excelled in the public schools, according to their expectations, because they have been expected to do so, plus go further. That has only happened because they have been required to be responsible , unlike those who want the federal government to do everything for them, including 'school' them. A sad state of affairs indeed, particularly for those who continue to support the great 'oz', our federal government.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    April 20, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    In Utah, our education woes are particularly bad. We have massive grade inflation, low expectations for student performance and parental oversight, and class sizes that are way too large. We hire too many young teachers and use a revolving door policy to replace them constantly, all in an effort to keep wage costs low.

    The nasty secret is that Utah schools are average at best and even UNDER-PERFORM the national average in key subjects when scores are adjusted for demographics. You can't have 20 something teachers straight out of college teaching core subjects and expect them to be able to teach and motivate students (and parents!) to perform at a high level.

    Until Utah gets serious about education, we will continue to fail to prepare younger generations for success in the global marketplace.And we will end up with more "entrepreneurs" starting up multi-level marketing firms instead of creating real value and real jobs.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    April 20, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Technology is disruptive, but those machines that displace jobs don't design themselves (it takes and industrial engineer), install or maintain themselves (industrial technologist), program themselves (software engineer), sell and distribute the extra products the machines produce (internet designers, managers, marketers, truckers, warehouse staff, etc).

    The real problem is that many have educations that do not create value for others. UtahBlueDevil's point that updating your education constantly with relevant 21st century skills is mandatory is right on the mark. If your job is displaced and all you have is a degree in some soft science (political science, international relations, social studies, family and child development, etc.), your odds of filling a real market need and getting a job that pays well will be low.

    Our elementary/secondary schools and our colleges and university are not operated to give the majority of students a relevant education in key 21st century skills like math, science, statistics, design and engineering. Entrepreneurism is necessary, but most successful 21st century entrepreneurs will have these 21st century skills. And our schools only prepare about 10-20% of students with this key foundational knowledge.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 20, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    “Let's educate a new generation of entrepreneurs that can create jobs yet to be invented.” Only thing is, how we educate for conditions that we don’t know about.

    UtahBlueDevil seems to understand. He can attribute his success to his education which taught him “how to learn” rather than pumping his mind with obsolete knowledge.

    Bandersen is wrong. The principles of liberty are not found in locally controlled schools. Locally controlled schools are usually just extensions of the goals and desires of local interests. Those interests include the indoctrination of attitudes and morals of business and religion which are often fixed and unchangeable.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 20, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    As a classroom teacher for over 20 years I agree with what the article. However, innovation in education must absolutely be grounded in liberty principles. Instead of more liberty, parents and federal laws are first and foremost seeking more control, dictating the number of hours students spend in school, less involvement by parents, and more authority by a federal government that doesn't have a clue (Look at the recent Common Core Curriculum) as to what to do. If you want innovation, you better return schools to the real source of its power, local control, something the federal government in a million years is not going to do. After all, they speak for millions of parents that have forgotten their role in the future of their children. Those who forget just want someone to contain their children, not educate them.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 20, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more. I am a poster child for this - by accident. I currently work doing statistical analysis of oil field production, working side by side with geo scientist. I didn't study statistics, nor the sciences in my college education.... I just self taught myself what I needed to know. And I have had to do this several times over in the last 30 years.

    Education needs to be a life long event... that isn't a destination, but a continuous process. Fortunately, continuous learning has lots of options now days, and you don't need to go sit in a classroom to make it happen.