Re: ECON: Lack of skilled people in the USA

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 23:47:11 MST

> Max More wrote: In an article
> reporting the declining position of the United States in world trade in
> telecommunications equipment,

Part of the problem might be that a long run of good times has
to a certain extent demotivated students. Even the slouches
manage to find adequate employment. We are to a certain
extent victims of our own success.

> the New York Telephone Company reported that
> "it tested 57,000 job applicants in 1987 and found that 54,900, or 96.3%
> lacked basic skills in math, reading, and reasoning."

Right, but they are likely getting the bottom of the barrel applicants.

> (35) A human resource
> planning document prepared at the Bank of America in 1990 reported that
> "Chemical Bank in New York must interview 40 applicants to find one who can
> be successfully trained as a teller";

Again, the better qualified applicants are not looking to become
bank tellers. Who aspires to compete with ATMs?

> (36) "at Pacific Bell in Los Angeles,
> 95% of the 3,500 people who recently took a competency test for entry-level
> jobs not requiring a high school education failed"

I would certainly agree that the US educational system is failing.

> Almost one-quarter of high school seniors could not
> accurately determine the cost of a simple meal from a short menu of items
> and prices,(42) and fewer than half "demonstrated a consistent grasp of
> decimals, percents, fractions, and simple algebra."(43)

This is an area that has long been debated. Schools are being
required to teach additional skills in addition to the ones taught 30
yrs ago, such as computer competency. The total amount of
time in class has not changed. So what should be dropped off
of the curriculum? The most common thing has been math
skills, with the notion that having computer skills will somehow
compensate for the loss. What isnt fully understood is that the
study of mathematics trains the mind in logic and clear thinking.

Max, being an educator, this must cause you countless
headaches, eh? spike

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