Katherine S. Newman: Reskilling America

Spending a good 20 pages or so bashing the very people and groups you recommend could push your agenda in the last ten pages probably is not a great way to get what you d like doneThis would be one hell of an argument if the pet peeves portions had been cut out by a decent editor More and schools are heading back to traditional methods of post secondary choices Our schools should support trade schools to enhance our labor workforce Some ids are not meant to be a college bound studentbut trade school or armed services are a better choice A typical American school day finds 6 million high school qasas-ul-quran kids struggling with algebra All too many students are expected to fail Why are we subjecting ourids to this Our students are led through a one size fits all program when in reality an 8th grade math education suffices most fields after high school According to Hacker 1 in 4 of the nations high school freshmen fail to finish high school citing algebra as the culpritHacker New York Times 2012 Lots of people agree that the United States educational system is broken what the problem is and how to fix it remains disputed These authors try to make the case that the way forward is an increased focus on vocational education apprenticeships technical training rather than the to their minds misguided mantra of college for all When college is just a pointless debt trap for unprepared students and it does not provide skills that employers need why fixate on itThe conclusion may be viable but this book is a superficial take on the topic It strings together anecdote after anecdote of students who love their vocational training and are super successful at it bemoaning that the United States funds these approaches so poorly and ties them up in red tape college preparation reuirements and low social standing There s a nagging sensation throughout that they re not showing what s behind the curtain as they present it everyone in skills based training is motivated excited about learning multiple students explicitly call out trigonometry of all things as delightfully useful and clearly on track to earn a livable wage They occasionally present statistics about how 90% or so people from a particular vocational school are being successful but we never hear further about the ones who fail out and it seems particularly notable that so many people aren t succeeding when some of these schools are space constrained to only admit small percentages of their applicants The authors seem to think the solution is to throw money at the system until it works even though that s basically what happened with the academiccollege track the authors think is overrated It s also strange how disconnected the individual students and schools they discuss are from the big state level policies they celebrate Wisconsin apparently has a fabulous program that does things right than most other states do but the authors still talk about people from New York Another main strand in the book is to argue against fears that tracking students onto a college based or vocational path is racially discriminatory and represents giving up on the poor and disadvantaged The authors are deeply concerned with being accused by left wingers of doing this and spend a lot of time insisting rather defensively given that their case seems pretty reasonable that being tracked into a successful second class system would mark an improvement over the current failing college prepa. From Katherine Newman award winning author of No Shame in My Game and sociologist Hella Winston a sharp and irrefutable call to reenergize this nation's long neglected system of vocational trainingAfter decades of off shoring and downsizing that have left blue collar workers obsolete and stranded the United States is now on the verge of an industrial renaissance But we don't have a skilled enough labor pool to fill the positions that will be created which are in many cases technically demanding and reuire specialized skills

Katherine S. Newman Æ 4 Summary

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S There are also many other inds of middle skill jobs in America but companies have trouble finding workers with the necessary skills to perform these jobsMany people associate CTE training as inferior to academic studies and so those who could benefit greatly from the training are not encouraged to do so This book provides many examples of how CTE training can be superior to a college track academic programThere are lots of comparisons in the book between CTE training in America and Germany The book advocates for of a German style approach but the authors realize that there would be many barriers to that implementation Even so the book highlights ways the American CTE system could be greatly improved America needs to increase and systemize vocational training say authors Katherine S Newman and Hella Winston They address a general adult audience but this book would appeal to mostly to people involved in the triangle of players the authors speak of government officials over education industry leaders including unions and educators in high school and college vocationaltechnical schools and community college and perhaps parentsAs a homeschooling parent of a high schooler would rather attend a trade school than a four year college I perked up my ears to catch the title of this book while listening to Michael Medved interview one of the authors on his radio show Then I ordered the bookThe education system of the United States with its focus on college for all is harmful for several reasons states Reskilling America Learning to Labor in the Twenty First Century First many manufacturing jobs that left the US a few decades ago are returning and industry can t find enough ualified employees to fill positions Next many students primarily from the lower working class families or those who prefer working with their hands instead of academic work need another option other than a four year degree or a McDonald job Moreover if America is going to be competitive in the global market it needs to change its negative attitude toward middle wage blue collar workThe authors are enad by the German education system in which students are tracked for vocational or college work The vocational track gives the students much training time in a factory and allows them to receive school credit for that work than in the US system The authors agree that due to cultural differences the US cannot fully adopt the German system but call for a modified nationally standardized system for apprenticeships in the US asking primarily the federal government to foot the bill like it is done in GermanyI disagree with that last belief The US once was the industrial leader in the world by the power of the private sector Therefore apprenticeships should be left to the private sector Overall the book is easy to read and provides a different viewpoint on educating our young people However it did bother me that all their examples of programs in the US were in the East South and Midwest No mention of programs in the West where I live Further I wish they had included information on how an individual can be involved in making concrete changes in one s own communityFor years I ve been concerned that most appliance repairmen are old Who will fix my dishwasher 20 years from now Too many young people are in college who don t belong there and end up dropping out and wasting time and money By growing the trade schools many will benefit across the nation. Where youth unemployment is a mere 7% they call for a radical reevaluation of the idea of vocational training long discredited as an instrument of tracking The United States can prepare a new high performance labor force if we revamp our school system to value industry apprenticeship and rigorous technical education By doing so we will not only be able to meet the growing demand for skilled employees in dozens of sectors where employers decry the absence of well trained workers we will make the American Dream accessible to

Ration system that most students are stuck with A coupl In this timely look at a very important topic Katherine Newman and Hella Winston challenge prevailing views about the form and value of vocational education in the United States Whereas vocational education has become the red headed stepchild of American education policy the authors argue that the mantra of college for all has failed to deliver real benefits to many students while facilitating a lack of workers for middle skill professions like Just read the NYT magazine devoted to the middle class and now read this The magazine was of an analysis of what s happened to the American middle class since the 50s and this book proposes an interesting solution The author does a good job making an easy insightful read about a necessary if not coming resurgence in vocational aka career and technical education CTE The authors arguments are1 It worked in the USA before Pre WWI to post WWI and had a nadir in the 80s but is due for a resurgence because2 American is better positioned now to retain and build middle skill jobs from welders to nurses to green engineers etc3 Germany provides a working model showcasing a partnership between educational institutions government and industry4 Such middle skill jobs are middle class guarantorsand5 The cost of necessary education as proven in NYC schools and elsewhere is a much smaller burden on the student and society proportional to the positive impactI received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads This is a Goodreads win review This book is about how the off shoring and downsizing has left our workers obsolete and that we are on the verge of an industrial renaissance However we do not have the workers that can do technically demanding jobs Even with a college degree poeple have a problem finding work We need to have vocational trianing to get people working There s a clear angle here but I appreciated the background history of vocational training in the US labor force and the anecdotes provide some hope for a world weary millennial who feels America s good days are behind herSome good policy recommendations along with a bit of good news domestic manufacturing is on the rise again everyone should pick up a trade to fall back on restore funding for vocational training programs especially through community colleges also many blue collar workers can be better off than college graduates given rising tuition and student loan burdens I listened to the audio book versionThis should be a must read for anyone looking to improve the employment opportunities for young people in America The whole college for all approach to education in America means many students who do not plan to attend college leave high school with no marketable skills and many college graduates find themselves underemployed with tons of debt not able to find jobs in their desired fieldsThis book advocates for investment in uality CTE Career Technical Education that can prepare students for the good paying skilled jobs needed today and in the future A highly skilled labor force is needed by high tech automated manufacturing facilities and others but these skills are not taught in high school or in most colleges Manufacturing is coming back to America at least in some places but these manufacturing jobs are different from the ones that were outsourced years ago These jobs reuire technical skills and the ability to do applied mathematic. Decades long series of idealistic educational policies with the expressed goal of getting every student to go to college has left a generation of potential workers out of the system Touted as a progressive egalitarian institution providing opportunity even to those with the greatest need the American secondary school system has in fact deepened existing ineualitiesWe can do better argue acclaimed sociologists Katherine Newman and Hella Winston Taking a page from the successful experience of countries like Germany and Austria.

Katherine Newman is Professor of Sociology and James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University Author of several books on middle class economic instability urban poverty and the sociology of ineuality she previously taught at the University of California Berkeley Columbia Harvard and Princeton