The value of education? The emphasis on a college education diminished the role of vocational training in the U.S. From what I can see, only the community colleges have offered the training programs required for certification in various applied fields. While I see my profession of teacher as a highly intellectual pursuit, it really is the applied branch of loftier academic fields like learning psychology, linguistics, child development psychology, and so on. Recently, someone responding in a blog comment section said he believed teaching Spanish was what he was supposed to do and nothing else – no geography, no history, no sociology or anthropology, in a word, nothing across the curriculum. (He also teaches only grammar).
And there is the deeper issue: just as we think of a teacher as having broad knowledge in which to embed the subject they teach, so employers want technicians with hands-on experience b/c they know the training programs do not impart the knowledge acquired through such experience. The result is thousands of people who have gone through these training programs only to find themselves relatively unemployable. Sadly, much the same is happening with degrees from on-line universities and the University of Phoenix sort of schools. We have an empty job training program in this country.
How do we know this? Other countries, like Germany, do provide such programs. Both those just entering the job market and those whose jobs have been replaced by automation or displacement of the job to other labor markets need good training. The lack of that has contributed to a massive shift in U.S. society, one resulting in a vast underemployed labor force desperate for work and decent wages. Even for the fully employed, the take-over of legislatures by corporate forces has weakened unions and kept even the minimum wage so low as to engender wide-spread poverty. That poverty has bred wide-spread social unrest and pathology.
In such a society, fascism can sink its roots. Even as I write this, fascism is taking hold in our nation’s capital. Resistance is growing by the day but the executive orders are coming out by the hour, along with the shuffling of crucial posts and positions, firing some, placing others in seats at the table of governance. As power alignments shift, we watch it on the news, but what are we doing? I just got a notice asking me to join a protest at my senator’s office, one of the few from the President’s party who seem willing to stand up to him. It’s for tomorrow. I’m going. Then on Saturday I’m canvassing and providing information. Perhaps we can stop this wave of fascist initiatives.
BTW, I have NEVER used the word fascist loosely as so many on the Left do. They label anything that is a power play or unjust as fascist, thus leaching Fascism of its malevolence.