Sunday, April 07, 2013

STEM as Propaganda

There's a great article in School Matters that revisits the phony rhetoric that surrounds the STEM and Race to the Top educational programs.

Gerald Bracey's work still shines; "Another recent article by In These Times entitled Study Demolishes the Myth That U.S. Workers Lack Skills further puts the lie to the notion that U.S. workers are lacking in the education or skills department. The piece, which discusses a paper by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Professor Marc Levine, contains powerful quotes like: "There are still three unemployed people for every possible job opening."
The article proper enumerates the points of Levine’s report, only the headings of which are reproduced here.
  • False: The skills of the workforce somehow dropped sharply between 2007 and 2009.
  • False: There is a vast pool of high-skilled jobs waiting to be filled.
  • False: Employers are trying in vain to attract skilled workers.
  • False: Understaffed employers must make do with the skilled workers they have.
  • False: New high-skill jobs have been created.
  • False: Workers with advanced degrees are more highly sought-after.
  • False: The American job market will increasingly demand higher-skilled workers.
Globalization has allowed the ownership class to increasingly pit workers against each other in ways the Robber Barons could have only dreamed of. When workers compete, their boses win! A major part of the impetus behind corporate education reform is the same momentum that's created a job market were workers are increasingly expected to work harder and harder for less and less, while being required to have ever more education and training (at their own expense, of course). Nearly all of Silicon Valley's plutocratic elites' whining about a skills shortage is part and parcel a cry to drive down wages and squeeze ever more profit out of workers who are expected to "lean in.""

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