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Old 07-13-2013, 12:54 PM   #121
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Here, I found a segment of the letter: (couldn't download the entire letter)
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ITS A SCHOOL NOT A WORKER BEEHIVE:

THE MORE things change, the more they stay the same. Google and Microsoft are now calling for mandated computer science instruction in the public schools, urging public schools to include more “workforce development” so that foreign labor doesn’t have to fill technology jobs (“Firms call for tech classes,” Page A1, June 11).

More than 150 years ago, business leaders like Andrew Carnegie were calling for schools to tailor their teaching to fit the needs of manufacturing industries, the 19th-century version of “workforce development.” Increased standardized testing is seen as another key to making American student more competitive with their Chinese counterparts. Bill Gates seems to be providing the educational reform solutions to a public impressed with his business acumen.

The role of the American public school, as envisioned by Jefferson, was to educate a population to be thinking, activist contributors to a democratic society, not to provide worker bees. Public education today needs to be producing citizens: informed critical thinkers who can move our nation forward. We cannot continue to reduce education to a system that will simply provide human fodder for business and commerce.
And I suppose that these informed critical thinkers will be informed with the prejudices of their elitist and statist teachers, and help move us forward to a more fully implemented socialism. After all, they will be a natural constituency for this, as they will be entirely dependent on the state for their living, either as dole recipients or more likely as functionaries of various state bureaucracies. Think France.

A lot of highly but uselessly educated young people are found in many countries all over the world; think Egypt for an example in the news today. This is always a recipe for disaster.

The humanities professoriate are busily talking their books. They really care not at all for the well being of the students going heavily into debt to pay for their useless educations. Since ideas form attitudes and attitudes matter, this is a very dangerous group of people for our country. This character should be fired.

Ha
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:15 PM   #122
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Financial reasons or no, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, just because I was interested in these families. I was rooting for one, not so much the other, and couldn't wait to see how the kids turned up. There's no better education that watching people go wrong.
This brings to mind the old quote (paraphrasing): "“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:20 PM   #123
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And I suppose that these informed critical thinkers will be informed with the prejudices of their elitist and statist teachers, and help move us forward to a more fully implemented socialism. After all, they will be a natural constituency for this, as they will be entirely dependent on the state for their living, either as dole recipients or more likely as functionaries of various state bureaucracies. Think France.

A lot of highly but uselessly educated young people are found in many countries all over the world; think Egypt for an example in the news today. This is always a recipe for disaster.

The humanities professoriate are busily talking their books. They really care not at all for the sell being of the students going heavily into debt to pay for their useless educations. Since ideas form attitudes and attitudes matter, this is a very dangerous group of people for our country. This character should be fired.

Ha
Mr. Ha, that's quite a broad brush you paint.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:24 PM   #124
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"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is"

Wayne Gretzky

That's a principle that many of us have followed throughout our careers. It means continuous learning, moving to where the jobs are or will be, and having an overarching vision (FIRE) that guides decision making. In general, except for making sure Keith had a college education, these families didn't do those things.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:30 PM   #125
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Mr. Ha, that's quite a broad brush you paint.
I am a closet polemicist. Form time to time, this breaks free.

Viva la huelga!

Ha
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:38 PM   #126
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I had to Google "polemy." I couldn't find "polemicist."
Definition: "Warfare, contention, opposition."
I think I'd rather go to another dance.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:43 PM   #127
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I had to Google "polemy." I couldn't find "polemicist."
Definition: "Warfare, contention, opposition."
I think I'd rather go to another dance.
A double-click in my Chromium browser brings up this dialog:

polemicist
a writer who argues in opposition to others (especially in theology)

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Old 07-13-2013, 02:49 PM   #128
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I am a closet polemicist. Form time to time, this breaks free.

Viva la huelga!

Ha
Don't be so modest! Viva la huelga!
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:53 PM   #129
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"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is"

Wayne Gretzky

That's a principle that many of us have followed throughout our careers. It means continuous learning, moving to where the jobs are or will be, and having an overarching vision (FIRE) that guides decision making. In general, except for making sure Keith had a college education, these families didn't do those things.
Our MegaCorp circulated a paper based on that quote. It was one of only a handful that stuck with me, about IBM making disk drives when they were a high profit margin and required special skills, and then moving away to the 'next big thing' as they became a commodity.

Kinda funny considering I'm basically sports agnostic, esp for hockey. The couple hours of the recent BlackHawks/Bruins playoff is very probably more than I've watched previously in my lifetime.

But that's a great quote.

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Old 07-13-2013, 02:54 PM   #130
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Don't be so modest! Viva la huelga!
Somehow, I can't see ERD marching with Cesar Chavez! LOL
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:55 PM   #131
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Watched most of it, thought it was predictable for NPR. The message seems to be lamenting lack of high paid manufacturing jobs for unskilled workers. I feel for the families but noticed all seemed well fed with TV's, etc. Not the definition of poverty in the other 98 percent of the world. Having 3 kids when you are 20? Not a good decision in the U.S.
You obviously have not witnessed poverty in the third world like I have. I do mission work and been invited into the homes of the poorest of the poor in Central America and Asia. They live in cinder block, wood and metal roof shacks with no plumbing. They still cook with wood fired ovens and have an outhouse if lucky. Yet one thing is far more common than you realize. They have a power line feeding a single or two hanging light bulbs and a TV set, often a flat screen LCD. It's their window to the world and their only luxury.

They also often have 4-6 kids. Why. Because the man gets the woman of the house pregnant with 1 or more kids and when times get tough he leaves her. Another man comes to her "rescue" a few years later and the cycle repeats. Saying no is not often an option. That's how most of the non industrialized world operates.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:25 PM   #132
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I found it shocking that the Neumann family mom took a job on an armored car crew where she carried a weapon and handled all that cash and got paid minimum wage. That is BS and proof of a screwed up system. I am an honest person, but I find it hard not to be in her shoes and one day find that some of my daily haul accidentally dropped out of an open door in my neighborhood ( annual bonus time)!
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:28 PM   #133
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It would take the law about 15 minutes to have you in custody.

Ha
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:41 PM   #134
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I found it shocking that the Neumann family mom took a job on an armored car crew where she carried a weapon and handled all that cash and got paid minimum wage. That is BS and proof of a screwed up system.
You are certainly welcome to start your own business and pay people the wages and benefits that you think are appropriate. Wouldn't that help more people than complaining about what others do?


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I am an honest person, but I find it hard not to be in her shoes and one day find that some of my daily haul accidentally dropped out of an open door in my neighborhood ( annual bonus time)!
Funny, that sure doesn't sound like something an honest person would think about.

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Old 07-13-2013, 05:23 PM   #135
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You are certainly welcome to start your own business and pay people the wages and benefits that you think are appropriate. Wouldn't that help more people than complaining about what others do?

-ERD50
Those wages certainly didn't help Mrs. Nuemann and she didn't't even get benefits. Honest people shouldn't have to think about alternatives for survival for their family because dishonest employers can't pay a living wage while they dine on caviar and ship champaign in their McMansion.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:32 PM   #136
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I finally watched it from the DVR today. I found it somewhat depressing; these people made errors but unlike most on this board, they didn't have the skills and understanding to plan their way out. Who of us would put college on a 24% credit card? And how does our system educate folks like this that it may not be a good idea? I love my kids and if faced with that as an only option I might. Did these people have the resources to relocate elsewhere when their homes were already tanked?

One takeaway for me. Married at 19, DW supported me through three degrees, two in engineering. She's still with me; and we waited for kids until I graduated (ding ding ding ding!). In fact she delivered #1 3 months into first job. If we hadn't known about birth control our life would have been a tad different. My parents stopped funding my education when we married, but we were prepared for that.

All that said, we also had some great luck (I know, you make your own good luck, but still) in some ridiculous opportunities we took advantage of, like a field assignment 1,000 miles away that moved us with her pregnant and a 1 year old. It kicked my career way up while those who didn't want to do it resented what it did for me.

So watching this show I couldn't help but feel sorry for them for the most part. Did I see options I might have taken to improve the situation? Yes, but I'm blessed with better education and "see backwards vision." We all can't have STEM degrees and live in paid off homes by the time we're 50. And it's hard for those people.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:45 PM   #137
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Part of me though, was disappointed in the choices made. My wife and I put off having children when we were young. Why? Because we knew we couldn't afford them. I'm not sure when it became a right to have as many children as you want without regard to the costs of that decision. It was also pretty easy to predict the outcome of some financial moves (e.g. buying the building to start two new businesses, choosing an out-of-state school when an in-state would have been 1/2 the cost).
Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

People give more thought into the car they want to buy than into having kids. I have seen this on my wife's side of the family; a sister that has kids and her kids have kids, both generations that cannot afford them. Sorry to be so hard nose, but I have zero sympathy. This is what is leading to the downfall of America.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:49 PM   #138
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I was also taken aback that the job driving an armored truck paid only minimum wage, while requiring you to wear a gun, which would require some training, and imply some risks which the driver was not compensated for.

So, I searched the Web, and found on a job site an armored truck driver who said that he made $30K, certainly above the current minimum wage. He said that it was a dead-end job. Well, unlike in other fields, you do not eventually get promoted to a job with a higher responsibility, so that's normal. However, he added that "all in all it's a decently dependable job with benefits, paid vacation, 401k, etc. I'd say it's a good stepping stone, but not an extremely successful career job. Go work at UPS."

So, what gives? Why are businesses in the Neumanns' and Stanleys' area paying so much less? Their profitability must have been low compared to elsewhere. Why?

Or perhaps the stagnant economic condition there drags everything down, and the surplus of labor drives down the hourly rate. Fine, but why don't businesses see that as an advantage and set up shops there, instead of in other places where they had to pay a lot more for labor?

I would suggest to PBS to research into questions like the above.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:53 PM   #139
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Perhaps the stagnant economic condition there drags everything down, and the surplus of labor drives down the hourly rate. Fine, but why don't businesses see that as an advantage and set up shops there, instead of in other places where they had to pay a lot more for labor?

I would suggest to PBS to research into questions like the above.
My theory would be that, if no one is getting paid, no one can pay for your product or service either. I can buy 15 or 20 houses in Detroit for ~1k, but filling them with actual paying tenants is a whole other story.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:57 PM   #140
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A spiral death trap, yes.

Is there any way out, other than for people to move all out of town, and to bulldoze the entire place, like they start to do in Detroit?

PS. If I were a manufacturer, would I not consider making my products there using lower labor costs and ship them to other places in the country. I would not pay them dirt cheap, but I could make my workers happy and grateful, while still paying them less than I would elsewhere. Why doesn't that happen?
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