Goal: Every Child Employable

Of the 56 million job openings expected between 2002 and 2012, 27 million will require a high school diploma or less, 15 million will require some college or an associates degree, and 14 million will require a bachelors degree or more. How will the non-college graduates be employed? 

The largest category of jobs openings from 2002 to 2012 is the 27 million jobs requiring no college. Most of these require a small amount of on-the job training. Those requiring an apprenticeship will provide a financially rewarding career. The Occupational Outlook  Quarterly, Summer 2002 article Apprenticeships reports there will be over 300,000 jobs requiring an apprenticeship or a  postsecondary vocational award. Median earnings for the top 15 apprenticeship went from $48,570 for a power distributor and dispatcher to 40,420 for a stationary engineer and boiler operator. The more than 850 apprenticeship programs may be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, last 1 to 6 years, may contain classroom activity as well as on-the-job training for which the apprentice usually receives more than minimum wage. Popular programs boilermaker, carpenter, construction craft laborer, cook, electrician, Plumber, and telecommunication technician. The editor/author of this material is Walter Antoniotti.


Job openings for occupations commonly held by workers with an associate degree provide meaningful, rewarding employment. The health care profession has six of the top fourteen occupations with 1,630,000 openings. Openings for computer support specialist are next with 520,000, followed by electrical professions with 430,000, administrators with 400,000, drafting and design with 260,000, hairdressing/cosmetologist with 240,000, and engineering with 170,000. Many other occupations are reported in the Winter 2002-2003 Occupational Outlook  Quarterly article  Associate degree: Two years to a career or a jump start to a bachelor's degree. For example, the highest earning occupation for 2001 was heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic with a median weekly earnings of $941.  Drafting was last among the top 14 occupations with a median of $659. 

Military training is an interesting method of preparing for civilian employment and can result in a rewarding life-long career. Visit  www.militarycareers.com for more information.

The Story of Joan

An attempt to learn about the real estate business brought me in contact with Joan, a middle aged women who had been a million dollar salesperson in her first year. She was well dressed, attractive, very ambition and had a talent for selling. Joan was famous for her answer to a question from  prospective buyers who were aghast when they saw a foot of water in the basement of a home they might buy. “Well, think how lucky you are to know about the water. Now you can bid $3,000 lower and fix the problem for $1,000. Joan was correct; they bought and were very happy with the property. This was the middle 1970's when new starter homes were small, about 10,000 square feet, had one bathroom, three bedrooms, and cost about $40,000.
A larger home was one of the items the middle class purchased with productivity gains made over the last fifty years.

Joan wanted to be a real estate broker, but fail the test because of her poor mathematical skills. Math required for the license was using formulas, a little geometry, and multi-step word problems. Some of this was necessary for commercial developers but for what Joan wanted to do, little math was needed. But testing is a way to limit supply of brokers thus keeping broker/manager salaries high.  As her tutor, much of what I did was build her confidence that if she did the easy questions, a missed the few difficult questions, she would still pass. Needless to say, she passed the exam.

Joan was one of the most confident people I've encountered in many years of education. She went to school before testing sapped the vitality out of people who were not above average in both mathematic analysis and verbal understanding.  Interpersonal intelligence, easily the most important in the real world kind of useful intelligence, isn't considered important by our academic educators. 

The Rest of the Story

Joan had a secret to her success. She belonged to the Friday 7:00 AM Howard Johnson Breakfast Club. Two or three plus salespeople from ten or so local real estate companies met, talked a little business, and created a network, a monopoly. If you needed something for sale at one of your competitors, you called your friend from Friday morning and they would call you. The more people you helped, the more people who would help you.

I once had the world's greatest house listing in A+ condition at a great location, and price correctly. Two or three sales were stopped by parents coming to visit their children who loved the house.  I had guaranteed the owner who was leaving for Venezuela that it would be sold and he was nervous, but not me. With two weeks to go I called Joan and agreed to split the listing commission and it was sold the next day. Some people think Joan should go to college, I think school should be designed to maximize special intelligence of people like Joan.

edited and written by Walter Antoniotti

Battlefield Reflections of a Life-Long
Statistic Teacher

The Normal Curve Rules
 by  Walter
Teaching Statistics to Open Enrollment Evening College Students

Introduction: After years of traditional teaching I switched to the programmed type text Quick Notes Statistics and its companion Excel Statistics Lab Manual which had all the problems and their data sets written in Excel so much of the calculation requirements were removed as an obstacle to learning. Many students were familiar with the text as they had used Quick Notes Financial Accounting and/or  Economics Interactive Class Notes with Links in previous courses. These books had concise two-page outlines per learning unit with practice problems and complete solutions.

Methodology: Class one began with a 30 minute summary of material covered on the first computerized take-home exam or in the lab test. We then adjourned to the lab with some of the better students leaving to do required work at their own convenience while the  others joined me in the lab learn to use Excel to calculate measures of central tendency. Lectures/lab sessions followed. The class before the computerized test using Excel was a comprehensive hour or so review where I again saw the better students and after the review a few students were off to the lab to finish their computerized  lab set due before the test. This procedure was followed for tests on probability and on hypothesis testing/correlation/regression.

Result: 1) Being an honor system take-home or in lab computer exam resulted in the same grade distribution as for a traditional in class test where students were allowed  a large note card/ cheat sheet.
2) Using computers, more material was easily covered with less work and anxiety than the note card system. 
3) But only the better students learned more, much more. Students over 35 years at four different average at best colleges divided themselves into four groups.

Group one completed the course requirements but never really learned much and some found  Excel very difficult. They assed with low grades because of easy grading procedures.

Group two calculated some statistics correctly but ran into trouble deciding which Excel menu procedure to use for each of the eight different problems on the take home final. I had warned them that over 35 years grades always went down with each tests and many were always disappointed. Some of these adults worked really hard but having to choose between finite and normal distributions, large and small samples and then between one sample and two samples eventually led to mistakes.

Group three often got the statistic correct but then had difficulty determining to accept or reject the no change null hypothesis.  All the studying in the world doesn't help because they had never really figured out what hypothesis testing was all about.

Group four, the top 20% had one final hurdle to explain what the answer meant. They had correctly accepted or rejected the null hypothesis but what did it mean? They needed to write in the analysis section that the new procedure was faster/slower or had less/more defects or the new diet was better/worse or else it was back to group three and a lower grade. Less than six from a class of twenty-five got almost everything correct and got a 4 points on almost every problem. A very few indeed got everything correct.


Teach Students
to Read
 Do Basic Math and
Get Out of the Way

"Computerized work has also made knowledge more abstract and more reliant on data. In the late 1970s, Ford Motor Company began to use computer-controlled fuel injection systems in place of mechanical carburetors. Ford soon experienced heavy warranty expenditures because many technicians, not understanding fuel injection, would tackle a problem by "throwing parts at it"—replacing one component after another in the hope that something would work. Ford responded by requiring that warranty repairs could only be made by technicians who had passed a training course on repairing fuel injection systems. Half of the technicians who took the training course failed, many because they could not read well enough to understand the technical manuals. They knew how to repair mechanical carburetors because they had watched other mechanics do it. Watching other mechanics could not teach them to use computerized tools to test electronic components."

By making students read what the system wants and not what the student wants means too many students never really learn to read. Reading is key and what they read is irrelevant. Teaching General Science for students who don't like science was like me taking Gym; it was a waste of time. The idea that you taking CIVICS or studying US History makes someone a good criticize is ridiculous. Let students read what they want and let the computer interpreter and direct toward their studies. Can you imagine all the money we spent educating these mechanics and they couldn't read. Not doing algebra was not the problem. The term of a senator versus a house member wasn't the problem. They couldn't read!

Dancing with Robots“ by
Frank Levy and Richard J. Mundane,
is right and in one respect
and wrong in another.

"It is important to put these trends in perspective. American schools are not worse than they were in a previous generation. Indeed, the evidence is to the contrary. Results from the NAEP long-term assessments show that most American students now master foundational skills as defined 40 years ago—for example, reading well enough to follow directions. Today’s education problem stems from the increased complexity of foundational skills needed in today’s economy and from the changes in family income and family structure that leave a significant portion of American children unprepared to learn when they enter school."

There has been an  increase in the complexity of foundational skills needed in today’s economy.

They are wrong in thinking that the changes in family income and family structure that leave a significant portion of American children unprepared to learn when they enter school because intelligence is normally distributed and it is impossible to increase the number of people with the ability to master these more difficult foundational skills. Just find these intelligent people and encourage them to develop foundation skills and reward them economically.


Should a Massachusetts friend of mine been required to take a college prep-curriculum? An average 8th grade student, he expressed a desire to attend high school in a neighboring district to study carpentry.. Four years of getting up early, being dropped at his grandmother’s house by 7:15 a.m. by his father, and walking home about a mile after school was accomplished. Today, in his middle 40's, he is a successful contractor making good money and a successful husband with two healthy children. All this without a college-prep curriculum.

His younger brother, also took a different route to success. Also not much of a student, his ninth grade year ended after a few weeks as he became his family's first high school dropout. Interested in police work, earned his GED, enter the national guard, and served in the first Gulf war. He returned and is now working as a unionized corrections officer. Of above average intelligence, he scores higher on standardized exams than his competition, most of whom had a high school degree and some had a college degree.

Their cousin took a more conventional route to success. An average college student specializing in work and social life, he graduated in six years. Now he has a successful business career working in Boston. The non-academic aspect of his education and not curriculum helped him succeed. Note: Cost was not a consideration.  Solving the Lack of Good Jobs

Epilogue: The Cost of a Misdirected Education

My Keene State College 1990 Economics 101 class was given data showing that average college graduates make much more than high school graduates. They had seen it before. That is why most of them were in college. Then I showed them median income of college graduates. They were disappointed with the lower number.

I explained how some really high earners make the mean higher than the median. Then I showed them data indicating the bottom quarter of college graduates earned about the same income as high school's top-quarter. They became more unsettled. Then I gave them the lowest income statistic of all, the median income for those with just a bachelor's degree. Those with higher degrees were left off. From the back of the room I heard  "you mean they are ripping us off. 

I pleased to report that the Great Recession has mass media coverage of the decreasing economic return from a college education has substantially increased. But like any unwelcome news, parents, teachers, and politicians will be the last to react properly. The collateral damage has been immense. It will continue to be so unless some responsible mass media helps makes an educational system that improves the well-being of all students . Here is the collateral damage of our love affair with college.

College graduates who can't find a job and dropouts owe over 1.3 trillion dollars in outstand college loans and are finding they do not have the skills to earn a positive economic return from their investment.

Disgruntle U.S. graduates and dropouts whose needs were not met by their investment of many years in school and from whom society receive little support. In fact, many need society's support.

The Tiger Mom social stress has spread to many academically oriented suburban communities. See Reforms to ease students stress divide a new jersey school district The overly academic approach used by most high schools originally had a negative social affected on less advantaged students. Now it is showing up in middle class males.



Source: 20-15 Trade Surplus or Deficit?
Neither Matters for Changes in Manufacturing Employment Shares