I’m not sure what Obama really thinks about all of this, and I’m certainly in favor of better education, but I agree with Sirota on this point:
Yes, it is the Great Education Myth – the idea that if we only just made everyone in America smarter, we would solve outsourcing, wage depression and health care/pension benefit cuts that are the result of forcing Americans to compete in an international race to the bottom. As I wrote recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, this is one of the most dishonest myths out there, as the government’s own data shows that, in fact, all of the major economic indicators are plummeting for college grads. You can make everyone in America a PhD, and all you would have is more unemployed PhD’s – it would do almost nothing to address the fact that the very structure of our economy – our tax system, our trade system and our corporate welfare system – is designed to help Big Money interests ship jobs offshore and lower wages/benefits here at home.
It’s more insidious than that, even. It creates one archetype for people to follow, and society labels people who don’t follow it as losers, and gives them an excuse to not include them. I have a doctoral degree, so I’m part of the in club, but I’m going to need car mechanics and garbagemen the rest of their lives. I’d also like to think that the people who do that see at least some reason for doing it and don’t wake up every day thinking they suck.
America should be a football team, not a running race. On a football team, the left tackle can get paid almost as much as the quarterback (or more on some teams). On a football team, you need small quick guys to catch, and guys to kick. In other words, it takes all kinds. In the 100m dash, it’s just about whose the best runner.
We’re ignoring our Nose Tackles in this country, and importing them from abroad, to the detriment of both their country and ours.