Jobs, jobs, jobs — and school choice

In an acceptance speech devoted to jobs, family, jobs and jobs, Mitt Romney promised to “give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow” by promoting school choice. ” Every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.”

Earlier, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s speech was all about education.

We say that every child in America has an equal opportunity. Tell that to a kid in whose classroom learning isn’t respected.

Tell that to a parent stuck in a school where there is no leadership. Tell that to a young, talented teacher who just got laid off because she didn’t have tenure.

The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn’t exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all.

That failure is the great moral and economic issue of our time. And it’s hurting all of America.

Bush also called for school choice.

Go down any supermarket aisle – you’ll find an incredible selection of milk.

You can get whole milk, 2% milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk, and milk with extra Vitamin D.

There’s flavored milk– chocolate, strawberry or vanilla – and it doesn’t even taste like milk.

They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.

Shouldn’t parents have that kind of choice in schools?

Condi Rice, another choice supporter, said the “crisis in K-12 education” is a “threat to the very fabric of who we are” in her convention speech. Otherwise education was barely mentioned.

Here’s Romney’s education web page and the Hechinger Report‘s analysis of what would happen to education under Romney or Obama.

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  1. Obama thinks everyone can succeed, and Romney thinks that only those that can afford to have the opportunity should. Neither one gets it. If we were smart, we’d model our education system after Germany’s… Now that’s a country that gets it!

    • I’ve got a better idea. Since government’s inherently lousy at so much the less government’s expected to do the less will be done poorly.

      That includes education.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      Did you know that Germany is experiencing a performance gap? Native Germans do better than immigrants (mostly Turks) on tests used to determine academic opportunities.

      I admire the German educational system, but part of its success is determined by the individuals that populate it. They’re mostly German.

      We can probably learn a thing or two from the Germans, but we need to keep in mind that we’re NOT Germans.

      • Speak for yourself.

        • Stacy in NJ says:

          So, you’re German. We can safely then assume that, ala your posting name, you’re a good engineer and a pretty bad poet.

          • Dear Stacy, I’d write you a song
            Though it would not be very long
            And its purpose, you see
            Is a message from me
            Just to show you that you can be wrong.

            Could you walk a mile in my shoes?
            Drop the insults and just exchange views?
            There is one more small fact
            There is more to my act
            Than just lim’ricks; I also write blues.

            (I ain’t no Digital Cuttlefish, but I get by.)

  2. You should all read the book “That Used To Be US”. It’s a great book, and has a chapter in it where the authors describe that there are three main types of jobs: 1st tier jobs, the jobs that require a lot of education and that, while using technology extensively, that technology can never replace (think engineer, doctor, teacher, etc.); 2nd tier jobs, jobs that technology can (and has, in many cases) replaced; and 3rd tier jobs, the jobs that technology can never replace (this includes everything from waiter at a restaurant to garbage collector to police officer, firefighter, etc.)

    1st tier jobs have a pay range from ~$30,000 (for some K-12 teachers) to millionaires; 2nd tier jobs are the prototypical ‘middle class jobs’; and 3rd tier jobs have a pay range from minimum wage to ~$100,000 (for say, police captain). Unfortunately, technology has permanantly replaced a huge proportion of the 2nd tier jobs, and they’re NEVER coming back.

    And this is a HUGE problem for millions of people; people who are simply not capable of becoming engineers, doctors, etc. (can’t handle the Math, etc.), but can’t afford to work a minimum wage job because they have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. What is this country – even the developed world in general – going to do with these millions upon millions of people, for whom technology easily replaced their jobs?

    • Most of the “3rd tier” jobs offer a good living for people that are dedicated, hard-working, and creative. There are plenty of self-made millionaires from going down the paths these jobs offer.

    • Oh yeah, I wasn’t knocking the 3rd tier jobs in any way. Neither were the authors of the book. (97% of my family has 3rd tier jobs, and most of them the kinds of 3rd tier jobs that you can raise a family on.) The point of the book, though, was that there aren’t enough 1st or 3rd tier jobs available to re-employ all those 2nd tier people who saw their job / career vanish before their eyes forever. What does our society do with those people? How can we help them if there are no jobs to give them, they can’t learn Calculus to train for a new career, and they can’t afford to wait tables with kids to feed and a mortgage to pay?

  3. Annex Piedmont says:

    Wanting “choice” is a second-order effect. Families want “quality” or “excellence” first. It’s only in the absence of that quality that folks turn to choice. No one whose kid is zoned for high-quality schools walks around going “gee-I-want-more-choice.”