The “education crisis” myth

Ignore the media spin. Wages and working conditions — not skills — are the real reasons jobs get outsourced

“The fact is, while our cash-starved schools would obviously benefit from more resources, and while better schools clearly couldn’t hurt our society, there’s no empirical, data-based reason to believe that improving our schools would reverse the trend of America losing high-tech jobs to slave-labor nations like China. Without a change in tax and tariff-free trade policies that economically incentivize companies like Apple to keep moving production to cheap labor havens overseas, the only “education” that will bring those jobs back is the kind that indoctrinates high-tech American workers to compete with Chinese workers by accepting the horrific labor conditions those Chinese workers experience. Based on the New York Times’ own reporting on Apple, that means an education system in America that teaches our workers to simply accept being paid $17 a day, to work six days a week in 12-hour shifts and to live in crowded dormitories so that they can be stampeded into the factory at any hour of the day. It means, in short, an education system that tells Eric Saragoza to shut up and accept the employer’s draconian demands.

Not surprisingly, the curriculum for this new education system is already being championed by the very political and media realms that originally constructed the Great Education Myth. In Congress, a group of senators is proposing to eliminate overtime protections for vast swaths of the America’s high-tech workforce in the name of competing with China. In state legislatures, lawmakers are looking to weaken child labor statutes, also in the name of competition. And on the New York Times Op-Ed page, Thomas Friedman implies that Americans are lazy and declares that “average is over” and that “everyone needs to find their extra” — elite-speak for the notion that Americans, who already log some of the longest workdays in the world and who are already among the planet’s most productive laborers, must work even harder than they already do.”

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