Education and training important for any job path | Opinion from

By Jim Tisdel, director of Corporate and Community Education at North Central Michigan College

There are over 4,450 jobs available here in northwest Michigan that are going unfilled, according to Labor Insight-Burning Glass.

No, they are not all low-paying jobs, but they are jobs in which employers are looking for some level of continued education after high school, some experience, and a work ethic. In addition, more than 70 percent of these jobs, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Market Information-Michigan, do not required a four-year degree and do provide a very reasonable living wage. So why do these jobs go unfilled? Awareness, information, desire, lack of seeing a job as the beginning of a career — any and all of these play a role.

Possibly the most overlooked thing for people to comprehend is that every job, no matter how simple or low paying, is a stepping stone to their next job, and more importantly a career. In sports it’s easy to see that if you want to play as a professional you begin in a youth league, then a school program, then a college program, then a minor league, and then if you get through all of that you might have a chance to play in the big league. It’s similar in any career; you have to start in an entry level position and build up your talent, skills, and experience. That simple truth is often not understood.

How does this relate to the open, unfilled, jobs in our area? If you don’t know the game you’re not going to want to play. But this topic isn’t a game, it is the path to a good life and a sense of well-being. Planning, effort, and dedication are needed to obtain a rewarding life — just like practice, practice, practice, is needed to obtain any quality level of sport, and for that fact, any career as well.

For years now, the idea that a person needs a four-year degree to get ahead and have a good life has been the most often told story to young people. This is just not true, as most levels of post high school education will bring individuals better opportunities. A technology certificate can bring a job that has high compensation — just as several other categories of certificates, certifications, apprenticeships, and associates degrees will as well. These degrees take months or just a couple of years to receive and come at a more reasonable cost.

So if there are all these jobs available in northwest Michigan, and 70 percent or more don’t require a four-year degree, why aren’t people knowledgeable of the paths to these opportunities?

Read the entire essay here: Education and training important for any job path | Business |

CURMUDGUCATION: Center for Ed Reform All In on Privatizing

Center for Ed Reform All In on Privatizing
Posted by Peter Greene
The Center for Education Reform, Jeanne Allen’s charter-and-choice advocacy group, is having a senior moment. Under the breathless headline, “Nation’s Most Senior Education Reform Group Relaunches,” CER has issued a press release about “its complete refocus on the changing landscape of American education, taking on the most difficult issues that no other national organization is currently pursuing.”

Wow! What plucky drive these folks have! This appears to be a follow-up to the manifesto they issued this summer. I waded through the whole thing here , but let me summarize even more succinctly–

Reformsters have gotten too wimpy and off-message, allowing themselves to be too often engaged by the dupes of the evil teachers’ unions, and so now we must have bold and decisive leadership that unashamedly embraces the value of turning education over to corporate control. We must learn a lesson from the fate of the Common Core, struck down in its prime because its defenders did not boldly resist the evil forces arrayed against it (and not at all because it sucked and couldn’t deliver any of what it promised).

But now, the CER has found new focus, new dedication, and, apparently, a new English-to-corporate gobbledeegook translator HERE: CURMUDGUCATION: Center for Ed Reform All In on Privatizing

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: Bill Gates Wants Your Tax Dollars!

Bill Gates Wants Your Tax Dollars

 Posted by Peter Greene
On his blog (recently), Bill Gates made his pitch to get more our of our tax dollars.

Gates notes that the Presidential campaign hasn’t touched much on innovations (which I guess is true if you don’t count innovative ways to repackage reality).  Invoking the 1961 moon-shot declaration of John F. Kennedy, Gates wants to make a case for four areas in which the government can spur innovation. With money.

He tries to frame this as a centrist idea by creating an imaginary extreme on one end of the debate:

I’ve heard some people argue that life-changing innovations come exclusively from the private sector. But innovation starts with government support for the research labs and universities working on new insights that entrepreneurs can turn into companies that change the world. The public sector’s investments unlock the private sector’s ingenuity.   

If he means, as his essay suggests, that some people argue that the private sector does these things while refusing any dirty government money, well, I haven’t heard anybody argue that. Have you heard, for instance, of any charter schools that have insisted on finding their own funding and have refused any solitary cent of government support? No, me neither.

Gates is arguing for the same old, same old– private corporations getting their hands on that sweet, sweet pile of tax dollars to fund their enterprise. Gates is arguing that we need to elect leaders who see that the government can make progress on the issues that face us by unlocking innovation with a big fat key made out of money. He cites the space race as one of the great public-private partnerships, but what he doesn’t discuss is the manner of the partnership and the rules by which it operated. It’s almost as if he thinks that just throwing money at private companies will automatically fix the problems of our world.

Well, four problems of our world.

Provide cheap, clean energy to everyone (without harming the environment).

It’s a noble thought, but– well, is the suggestion here that somehow the big energy companies don’t have any money for R&D? Because I’m thinking that the big energy companies are actually wealthier than many nations.

Develop a vaccine for HIV and cure neurodegenerative diseases


 Protect the world from future health epidemics

Again, I applaud these goals. But medicine is a great example of how public-private partnerships have come off the rails, as witnessed by medicines like the epi-pen, developed with the support of public tax dollars, and yet manipulated by private interests for maximum private profit. The world of medicine already has a very productive public-private partnership– the private corporations reap profits and the government keeps rules in place that protect those profits, even when the profits are indefensible and involve drugs that the public already paid to develop.

Give every student and teacher new tools so all students get a world-class education

Well, you knew this was here. Gates calls for “personalized education” with every child hooked up to a computer that will dispense and education. Oh, and teachers can just upload videos of themselves, because technology is never boring and students love to watch videos of teachers. Anyway, the private sector has started work on these things, but it would be great if the feds would kick in some R&D costs, because companies like Microsoft don’t really have money for R&D either. Of course, what Gates really skips over here is that he’s asking the government to fund a policy change, not a technological one. Gates is asking for funding to change the very nature of what school is and what it’s supposed to do (train, in Gates world, rather than educate). Gates isn’t just asking for federal help for private companies to create new tech; he’s asking for federal cooperation as private companies set new national policy.

What is notably lacking?

Read the full blog post here to find out: CURMUDGUCATION: Bill Gates Wants Your Tax Dollars

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: USED’s Troubled Charter Love

USED’s Troubled Charter Love

Posted by Peter Greene: 06 Oct 2016

“Honey, you have got to break up.”

When a trusted member of your own family sits you down to tell you that you are in a bad relationship, it’s only prudent to pay a little attention. And that is where John King’s US Department of Education finds itself right now.

“Dude,” says the USED’s own office of the inspector general. “You have got to get this whole charter school thing under control. It is soaking you for money and you don’t even know what the heck is going on.”

The audit by USED’s inspector general was meant to assess ” the current and emerging risk that charter school relationships with charter management organizations (CMOs) and education management organizations pose to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) program objectives and evaluate the effectiveness of OESE, OSERS, and OII internal controls to mitigate the risk.” The audit set out to look for internal controls– any sorts of checks and balances and brakes on the USED-charter relationship. The findings were not good:

We determined that charter school relationships with CMOs posed a significant risk to Department program objectives.

You can read the whole sad jargon-soaked report if you like

  The bottom line is that the audit found three major issues:

Read more here: CURMUDGUCATION: USED’s Troubled Charter Love

CURMUDGUCATION: College Digitized and Privatized

College Digitized and Privatized

Posted by Peter Greene: 07 Oct 2016

Slice the “a” from ‘audacity” and you have Udacity, the leading purveyor of for-profit, on-line college. Udacity is the dead of digitizing, the maharajah of MOOCkery. In them, we can see everything in the digitally privatized future face of higher ed that some folks love and other folks find appalling.

Read more here: CURMUDGUCATION: College Digitized and Privatized

Pence, Kaine share long histories in the fundraising trenches | OpenSecrets Blog

Though divided ideologically, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia have traced similar paths through state and federal politics on their way to being nominated for vice president. Both have served in Congress and as governors, and now hope to assume

Read more here: Pence, Kaine share long histories in the fundraising trenches | OpenSecrets Blog

FEC challenged again to find coordination in current campaigns | from the OpenSecrets Blog

New allegations that a pro-Hillary Clinton outside spending group and two that are backing Donald Trump have illegally coordinated with the candidates’ campaigns are refocusing attention on a concept that regulators have never quite nailed down … read more

FEC challenged again to find coordination in current campaigns | OpenSecrets Blog

New role for Trump adviser and former lawmaker: lobbyist for Syrian opposition | from the OpenSecrets Blog

Paperwork filed this week indicates that current Donald Trump campaign senior adviser and former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), now of lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, has become a registered lobbyist for the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian Opposition
… read more here New role for Trump adviser and former lawmaker: lobbyist for Syrian opposition | OpenSecrets Blog

Trump’s tax losses, and the political power of real estate | from the OpenSecrets Blog

The possibility that Donald Trump avoided paying income tax for nearly two decades has stirred debate about how, exactly, he managed to report almost $1 billion in net operating losses on his 1995 tax return. It has also triggered buzz about the copious benefits available to the real estate industry in our tax code.

The exact provisions that Trump and his tax lawyers exploited aren’t clear, because only three pages of the return were leaked to The New York Times — not the full document. (Trump, in a break with the pattern of presidential nominees for four decades, has refused to release his tax returns.) …

Click here to read the full article