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Honest and Explicit Employment Ad

The most important thing in getting and keeping an entry-level unskilled job is to show up every day. I know too many people who can’t even do that much. For a skilled position like a mechanic, you have to have a little more. This employer is pretty specific about what it will take to be hired. That last requirement is a real doozy. -via Bad Newspaper

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College is not supposed to be a place to shove immature adults to keep them out of the way until they may or may not mature. Especially since we seem to be producing tons of college students like the ones in the article, who don't actually ever mature, or if they do, it's not till after 30 or so.

A better education system should have a better chance of producing adults that are actually ready for the job market. Also, the 15 yo's that get college degrees today are doing just fine. They start companies that hire the 18 yo's (and many others). Also, remember that years ago, people started working when they were 8-12 yo, whether it was on the farm or any other physical trade skill. That segues into the first solution for jobs overall: More job creation. Taking people out of the job market when we already have a ridiculous amount of unemployed is the worst thing we could do.

Chiefly, we need to remember that the money for welfare/unemployment/etc. comes from people who are working and pay taxes. This means more private industry jobs. Government jobs are a net loss, as they are still getting paid from the pool of money collected through taxation. When too few people are producing taxable income outside of the government and too many are taking from that pool of resources, a country goes bankrupt. We've been heading down that road for about as long as I can remember (I’m 34 now), and I'd rather not see us go any faster that way. Greece is a prime example of what happens if too many people are taking and not enough are producing. Taking more people out of the job market , or growing the number/paycheck size of government jobs, is the fastest way to make sure we head the same was as Greece.

So, the first solution is to encourage more private business and startup companies to get going. There are too many roadblocks right now, and too much that make keeping business local more costly than outsourcing to other countries. I don't know the regulations well enough to speak on that in specifics. I imagine one major aspect of it would involve passing laws that encourage businesses to hire locally rather than punishing them for doing so, which results in them outsourcing to other countries to stay competitive. And we had better not try to solve the problem by punishing them for outsourcing, or we’re going to see entire companies pick up and leave, and the jobs they currently provide will be lost to us as well.

Encouraging new business creation, job creation, and less outsourcing is the more immediate (<10 year) solution. Faster than the massive education system overhaul as well, which would only really show itself to be effective after an entire generation of students goes through it from start to finish. The next two suggestions are similarly long-term (10+ year minimum) solutions.

The second solution would probably produce another 2 page paper on its own in order to explain it without getting my head chopped off. Even this small summary is likely to be misinterpreted simply due to the subject matter's controversial nature. Population control, or the very unpopular word "eugenics", is necessary for the future, especially since we are on the verge of figuring out how to undo/reverse aging. Until we can start colonizing other planets, this is the only one we have, and we need to make the most of it. Part of that is slowing population growth. The important points I want to make on this subject are that population control can be done without: A) killing anyone outright, and B) forcing anyone to become infertile without their consent. Nazi Germany's method was the wrong way to do eugenics, as was (is?) Communist China's method. Unfortunately, the word has become anathema due to the horrible ways it was (is?) performed by those countries.

The last thing I can think to bring up is about utilizing the space we have on this planet more efficiently. Currently we seem to like to spread along the surface like a puddle. We should be constructing vertically a lot more, both up and down. For instance, we have the capability now to create artificial light that will trigger photosynthesis in plants as well as the sun, and for a lot of plants, ways to grow them without need for soil. Why have I yet to hear of someone making a 200 story building (100 up/100 down) that produces farm to market items as efficiently as any farmland? This farm-tower would be one way to produce quite a large number of jobs maintaining those systems, managing the crops, logistics of moving the crops around, etc. Essentially all the jobs you would find on a farm combined with building management and product distribution. The government wouldn’t keep running it long-term, of course, but once it’s proven viable they can sell to a private investor who can grow the idea beyond the initial tower and produce more taxable jobs.

That is one idea that I think will lead to our future, and a much more productive use of tax funds than adding more people to welfare/unemployment/etc.. It could be done in the middle of a big city, and save on trucking delivery costs immensely, and save fuel use/help the environment. This is the kind of thing that a government that claims to want to “save the environment” should be doing, not talking about things like Carbon Credits, which would only serve to increase the costs of energy overall. That kind of solution is as bad as the worst versions of eugenics: it punishes the poorest people the worst while the rich are unaffected. It’s not surprising that we hear ideas like this chiefly come from people who are wealthy.
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Wow. Assuming this plan would work, what are we going to do with all these 15-year-old college graduates? Having lived with quite a few teenagers, I can vouch that they aren't ready to move away from home so young, no matter how well educated. And we don't have jobs for the 18-year-olds we have now. And having a kid who's finished school but has no job yet is a real pain.

As the American economy is now, we need to take more people OUT of the job market. One way we do this is by sending them to school for extra years, at great personal expense. I would vouch for earlier retirement, too. The problem is supporting unneeded workers financially.
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Well, since it’s one of the Neatorama staff, and the author of the article, who asked…

We already have three-tiered system. We call it "AP" or "Advanced Placement" classes, normal classes, and “Special Needs” classes. In many schools, the AP courses grant college credit, which means a proficient AP student enters college as a Sophomore or Junior, getting their degree 1-2 years earlier. Exceptional students (about 1%) can already get their degree at 18 or younger in the current system.

An overhauled system would allow the majority of normal students to get their degree by 18.

Here are the basics of the overhaul as I see it:

First, the school day is too short and homework helps almost no one. The school day should be about two hours longer, which should to allow most parents to drop off and pick up their own children before and after normal work hours. That helps several things: parents get more time with their kids, they can be more assured of their kids’ security before and after school, and schools spend less on buses, that would only be necessary for those that aren't walking AND don't have parents that drive. Extending the day by just two hours effectively gives us another 2.2 school days per week, when compared to today. This doesn’t actually save any time after the suggestion from the next paragraph, but it means that students can actually be children (i.e. play instead of work) once they finish the school day, which is a plus.

As for homework, the majority of it only helps the slightly above average students. These are the ones that are bright enough to understand the teacher’s teaching without any need of further help, and are benefited by some extra practice to help them remember things. The top tier of students already learned the stuff in the class and have no need of the homework, so it’s just an annoyance they will likely avoid (exception being the ones that are obsessed with getting A’s). The lower tier of students, at least half if not more, need the teacher to explain things more effectively and answer questions that they will have when trying to do the homework. So, the top tier students should be in a different class altogether (AP), and the lower tier students should be doing that same work in the classroom where the teacher is available to answer questions. Thanks to the previous point of longer school days, the classes can be extended to allow for this time.

The homework that doesn’t fit this category is usually big research projects. As it happens, these can usually be done at the school library. So the class would move to the library and do the research and work on the project there during class time. This would have several benefits: the teacher is on hand to help if needed, and group projects don’t need to figure out their own time and travel arrangements to get together.

This should also help the STEM courses, especially sciences, since this means more time doing physical experiments that get students really interested in these studies, rather than being forced to spend nearly 100% of class time in lecture, which tends to bore/scare many away.

Now that we’ve improved how the actual school day functions such that students will actually be getting a proper education when they’re in school, let’s tackle the yearly schedule, or vacation time + review time. Currently many schools have about 2.5-3 months off for summer vacation, another two weeks for winter vacation, another week for spring, and another 3-5 weeks of various national and state holidays. Summer vacation is a double-punch: Not only is it eating up valuable school time, but the long break allows students to forget much of what they learned, and the first quarter of the following school year is lost to review time instead of further progress. All told, students are only actually progressing in their studies about six months, or 26 weeks, of the year.

Instead, let’s make it so that there is a two week vacation time at the end of every three month period, and no more than 15 individual holiday days off in any given year. That’s eight weeks, or two months, off for the two week vacations, and another three weeks of individual holidays, meaning the students will only be missing 11 weeks out of the 52 week year, for a total of 41 weeks of school. Compare that to the 26 weeks we currently have.

Let’s see if I can do my math correctly on this:

The current system uses about 26 weeks per year for about 16 years (1st through 12th + 4 yr degree), which comes to 416 school weeks total. College weeks/years are a bit odd, but I feel this estimate is sufficient.

Add 15 weeks per year, and the 416 weeks can be done in about 10.1 years. That means getting a degree at about age 18.

And that’s for the normal kids, which I feel safe in assuming would be the majority. The AP kids would be able to do it in two thirds that time or less, most of whom could graduate at 15 or so.

Finally, we get to the tier system. Separating students into AP, normal, and Special Needs, as is done today, is only one important divide. The other is learning style. Some students need more hands on, personal help from a teacher, while others can sit and absorb mass amounts of teaching almost passively. This means that instead of the one-size-fits-all system we have currently where the former is usually put in near-permanent detention hall for being too rowdy and the latter do perfectly fine when not distracted by the former, we would have a system that accommodates both.

On the one hand there would be smaller classes for the ones that need more attention, no more than 10 students per class (definitely not the 30+ we get now). These could range anywhere from “special needs” students to hyperactive AP students. Each group would have their own curriculum that supports their needs properly. On the other hand, the majority of students that don’t need personal attention can be placed in massive lecture halls, where thousands of students can be taught using the current methods that already fit their learning style.

This means five separate types of classrooms: Personal Attention AP, Personal Attention Normal, Personal Attention Special Needs, Lecture Hall AP, and Lecture Hall Normal. Compare this to what we have now: AP, Normal, and Personal Attention Special Needs. By adding the Lecture Hall groups, we need fewer teachers for the majority of students, freeing up more teachers for a larger variety of Personal Attention style classrooms, which we sorely need. Even the brightest students can find themselves bereft of motivation in the 30+ classrooms of today if they’re not the Lecture Hall type.

Yes, this would mean some interesting juggling to get all of these students into the appropriate classrooms. Fortunately, there are a large number of suburbs in the US that already have multiple schools for each grade level in close proximity to one another, so transport wouldn’t be too inconvenient. The main issue is the lack of lecture halls, as most schools are built to accommodate these ridiculous 30+ student classrooms and have just one theatre that might seat a couple thousand at most. That means only about two lecture halls per suburb. I surmise that about 14 per suburb would be necessary for this new system, 7-8 years of normal and 6-7 years of AP. The current school buildings could be used for all the Personal Attention classes that would be created, it would just be a lot of wasted space with 5-10 students per classroom built for 30+.

With the right education of the teachers the sorting can probably begin as early as First and Second grade, but would really be an ongoing question where the teachers and parents are always watching the students for signs that they do not fit in their current environment, and identifying which of the other environments would suit them better. The idea here is that it should not really be a classist separation at all. It should be “What style of education would most benefit this particular child?” Any parent of multiple children understands that even in a small family, the teaching/parenting style can be wildly different for each child, yet we don’t see this customized parenting as “classist”. As an example, Billy might get more personal attention than Sally because he needs it and Sally doesn’t, not because he’s the favorite (i.e. higher class tier). The same attitude should be used when deciding where to place the student in the education system, and the tiers used in the overhauled system are actually identical to the ones used in the current system. Accommodation for personal attention needs is the only new concept.

As for resources, the overhauled system would be nearly the same overall cost as the current system. Teachers would need to be paid more, since they’d be working longer hours and 15 extra weeks compared to the current system, so they’d definitely deserve it. If the resources for that should come from somewhere, we should start with the over-paid and over-staffed school administration. Most of the school districts that cost exorbitant amounts are also the ones that have the poorest education results, due in part to over-paying administrators and under-paying teachers. The reduction in the number of buses will also help. After that, if more funds are needed, the county/state legislature is making too much money as it is as well. Of course, we never hear the legislature (either side of the aisle) say “we’ll reduce our paychecks to improve the school system”, but let someone try to balance out the overspending in the budget and it’s “the children will suffer!!”
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A degree at 18 would be doable with a very efficient system, but only for above-average students. Our public school system has to accommodate the half that are below average, too, and educate them as best we can. A layered system for those with different abilities would complicate things (both geographically and financially), and would be way too classist -who gets to decide what path a child should take, and at what age? Do we extend more resources for bored children at the top who could accomplish so much more, or those at the bottom, who need the most help? Or do we just dial back resources (money per child) from all schools (which is what's been happening)?
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They went through too many years of school training them that they did not need to show up every day to pass (pretty much from 7th till college graduation, so around 10 years), so it's really no surprise that they continue to do the same thing when they get a job.

I could go on for another 3-5 paragraphs at least on what I think our school system should be like instead of the ridiculous amount of wasted time we have now, but that seems awfully off topic for this article. Suffice it to say that with a complete overhaul of the system, we could be graduating with 4 year degrees at 18 easily.
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