Jack Saturday

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1141-1143

I played the "loyalty game" for years only to discover that I was the only one playing it. Your boss may expect two weeks notice and yet see no inconsistency when he "lays off" one of your fellow workers with zero warning. I am retired now after nearly 40 years in construction and I was never fired, never quit and was usually among the very last guys layed-off at the end of a job because I thought that was how you played the game. Looking back, I wish I had quit a few jobs and moved on to something that actually enhanced my life instead of being loyal to something that would use a man up and then discard them like a broken tool.
Ronald Belew
Huffington Post / By Alexander Kjerulf
[emphasis JS]

Human capital?
Everything changed in 2008, and it hasn't changed back. Unemployment isn't concentrated among the poorly trained anymore; it has invaded the ranks of the educated and experienced. In my own field of biomedical research, new statistics have just come out indicating that 10% of former postdocs consider themselves unemployed, up from a negligible number 10 years ago. A postdoc is someone with not only a Ph.D. in a STEM field but years of research experience, inevitably in a productive, funded lab, after the Ph.D. This is some of the most valuable "human capital" you will ever meet. And there aren't enough jobs for them! If you improve human capital by taking a high school dropout, giving them a chance to finish high school, go to college for 10 years, get a universally-admired degree, and acquire solid experience beyond that, they will either be unemployed themselves or take a job away from someone equally well educated and leave that person unemployed. No, David, improving human capital is not the answer -- this is a demand-side recession, and whether you like the conclusion or not, improving demand by yanking wealth away from people who will stash it in the Cayman Islands and giving it to people who will spend it on Chevrolets, music lessons for their kids, trips to the Grand Canyon, and the occasional family meal in a restaurant is the only way to fix it.
Charles, East Lansing, MI 
Comment section
The Piketty Phenomenon
David Brooks
New York Times
APRIL 24, 2014

[emphasis JS]

As a college professor for the past 15 years, I can tell you that the entire industry is not set up for us to engage with our students in the positive ways mentioned in essay. First, the vast majority of professors are contract or adjunct faculty with insecure jobs (I am included in this bunch). We worry about whether we will have a job next semester or next year. This reduces our ability to effectively engage with students in the ways that we want. Second, those professors who have tenure-track jobs have to worry about publication. Even at "teaching institutions" (the liberal arts college I teach at is in this category), there is lip service given to teaching, while the real rewards are for the professors who publish and bring in grant money, regardless of how horrible many of them are in the classroom and in dealing with students outside the classroom. Third, the current trends in accreditation and in assessment at colleges today means higher education is being forced into the pathways K-12 education has had to go: lots of quantifiable, but meaningless data that have little or nothing to do with the real job of teaching and caring about/preparing students for their future lives. Every course we teach now needs quantifiable learning objectives. Most of the classes I teach are the sort to get students thinking - and keep them thinking for many years. How does one do an end-of-the-semester, quantifiable assessment of that? It is a horrible shame.
ailun99 Wisconsin
comment section
In College, Nurturing Matters
charles M. Blow
New York Times

MAY 7, 2014


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