Inventing Jobs?

Thom Hartmann, The Big Picture, June 2011

Yes, the times are a-changing. Since the US Congress began enacting legislation like NAFTA and trade policies for globalization of the marketplaces, the American worker got screwed royally and is suffering badly for it.

Thomas Friedman tackles this in his new piece, Need a Job? Invent It:

Wagner’s argument in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.”

This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do.

The technology boom and the global financial collapse has indeed made things utterly impossible for the youth of our nation to have a chance at succeeding after college costs have skyrocketed. "Suck on This" Friedman believes the children will have to invent their own job from now on.

My generation had it easy. We got to “find” a job. But, more than ever, our kids will have to “invent” a job. (Fortunately, in today’s world, that’s easier and cheaper than ever before.) Sure, the lucky ones will find their first job, but, given the pace of change today, even they will have to reinvent, re-engineer and reimagine that job much more often than their parents if they want to advance in it.

OK, I did invent C&L, so to speak ,and was the first at putting up video on blogs, so I can identify somewhat with the piece. But how many bloggers can actually survive out there in the marketplace of America? Not many, trust me. We're all facing hard times now, but if what Friedman (who married into millions) says is the only way for our students to make a living, then this country is sunk. The marketplace can only handle so many invented jobs at a time (there's one Twitter and one Facebook) and that would leave millions and millions of students left out in the cold trying to take care of themselves, without the resources to start a family or create a life of their own if they so desired.

But I do agree that the way we teach our kids may need to change. Here's an idea:

Teachers,” he said, “need to coach students to performance excellence, and principals must be instructional leaders who create the culture of collaboration required to innovate. But what gets tested is what gets taught, and so we need ‘Accountability 2.0.’ All students should have digital portfolios to show evidence of mastery of skills like critical thinking and communication, which they build up right through K-12 and postsecondary. Selective use of high-quality tests, like the College and Work Readiness Assessment, is important. Finally, teachers should be judged on evidence of improvement in students’ work through the year — instead of a score on a bubble test in May. We need lab schools where students earn a high school diploma by completing a series of skill-based ‘merit badges’ in things like entrepreneurship. And schools of education where all new teachers have ‘residencies’ with master teachers and performance standards — not content standards — must become the new normal throughout the system.”

But if the prescribed medicine is that our children are forced to invent their own jobs to survive then America is not ever recovering.

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