Marco Rubio Correctly Identifies America’s Biggest Education Challenge
America is at a weird place right now when it comes to the economy. Just looking at the numbers, everything seems to be great. There are more jobs, there’s more growth, and the market seems to be pretty positive about our prospects.
However when it comes to the types of jobs that are available, there is an abundance of work-capable adults, but very few of them are qualified for the types of jobs that are being created.
This is nothing new, either. There has been for decades now this push to get everyone a four-year college degree, but many degree programs that exist don’t have a practical industrial use. Take it from a liberal arts major: I double majored in broadcast journalism and sociology. I went back to get a teaching certification and a Master’s degree so I could teach. Had I not done that, my job prospects in the current economy would be incredibly slim.
I could still find work in fast food or retail, but automated units are quickly replacing traditional workers there. I’d be out of luck in about 5-10 years.
That brings us to a pair of tweets Marco Rubio posted today.
And that is the correct solution to our current problem. Many of the jobs we used to rely on as always being there are now getting automated. Workers in those fields aren’t needed. But, there are technicians who are needed, though very few are still currently trained to do that work.
The job market has been shifting toward this for a while now, but no one has really emphasized it enough. Vocational and career schools are still regarded by many social groups as inferior. They are treated as the last choice at best – at worst, they aren’t considered at all.
It doesn’t start senior year of high school, though. Many traditional public schools still hold on to the idea that you need four classes of academic-focused English classes, rather than training kids to write in a professional or business perspective. They are frequently taught to write short stories and poems but hardly ever taught to write a resume or cover letter.
Not every student needs a high-level physics or calculus class, but everyone should take business math or a personal finance class.
There are structural reforms that can and should be made at the primary and secondary education levels before we even get to emphasizing where kids should get their next level education. Not every kid should be college-bound, but every kid deserves a chance to learn how to be a professional.
I hope that Rubio’s tweets signal a larger push from him and other GOP forces to revamp some things in education and inspire states to work to implement stronger curricula that focus on creating people who are capable of working the jobs that will soon become available. We aren’t getting that now.