Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Apprenticeship programs help boys develop maturity and job skills

If you have boys, or if you know any, then this article in the left-leaning Atlantic is a must-read for you.

Excerpt:

Young men are more likely to drop out of high school and are less likely to aspire to college than their female peers. Young men who are poor, live in a city, and are black or Latino are at even higher risk of unemployment and unplanned teen fatherhood than their peers in other demographics. As men’s earnings have stagnated, marriage has declined. It’s a vicious cycle: Being unmarried weakens men’s commitment to the work force, but a stagnation in earnings is contributing to the decline in marriage.

Robert Lerman—an economist at American University and fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social policy research center in Washington, D.C.—has a solution. He believes bringing apprentice-based learning to America’s schools would both raise earnings and give young men the skills they need to be good husbands and fathers. Put boys in a real-world situation outside the classroom, with skilled adults as mentors, Lerman says, and students have a chance to engage in on-the-job training in a wide range of fields from baking to boat-building, farming to architecture, public health to civil engineering. This is learning in context and it’s what young men (and women) crave: It feels immediate and real. It is not isolated or abstract; it is refreshingly relevant, and it is taking place in real time, in real space, and among adults who take young people seriously. Youth apprenticeship has an immediacy that engages students who have trouble paying attention in class; instead, they are being given the time and the means to develop genuine mastery in a given field. At the very same time, they are cultivating skills—such as how to communicate effectively, problem-solve, work in teams, and maintain a positive attitude—that help them be reliable partners to their spouses and present, stable fathers to their children.

“If we teach everything entirely in a classroom context, we’re not going to be as effective—even when it comes to academics,” Lerman tells me. “The reality is that people learn best—whether it’s cognitive or technical skills or even how to get along with others—in context.”

Although skill-based training is in decline, the article convincingly show how boys learn better when their education includes real-world skills and real-world behaviors.

Here’s just one snippet:

Robert Halpern, a professor of education at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, whose research focuses on after-school programs for poor children and their families, argues that the best schooling for adolescent developmental needs goes beyond the classroom. During a 30-month investigation of one afterschool apprenticeship program, After School Matters in Chicago, Halpern found that participating youth, who attend the program a mere three afternoons a week for one school year, became more flexible thinkers and undertook tasks with more care. The youngsters learned to persevere and understand the value of working through problems. They became more self-responsible and more patient. Notably, their public behavior changed; they became “more mature, more appropriately assertive,” Halpern explains in his book The Means to Grow Up: Reinventing Apprenticeship as a Developmental Support in Adolescence. These are all skills that serve young people well when they enter the workforce, and when they start families of their own.

These apprenticeships, according to Halpern, gave youth “a sense of different ways of being an adult, what it means to be passionate about a discipline, and what it takes to become good at thinking.” Not only were students learning actively rather than passively for the first time in their lives, the experience enabled many of them to begin to overcome years of thinking of themselves as subpar learners. In so doing, their experiences opened up a future that would otherwise have remained closed, and influenced them at a critical time in their lives. These “very specific learning and work experiences leave a deep imprint on still malleable selves.”

You need to read the whole thing if this is relevant to you. It’s no use complaining about “man up” and other nonsense. The real causes of male decline are systemic. Find the policies that work and implement them. Throw out the failed ideology of feminism from the classroom and do what works for our young men.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

American job creators struggling to find qualified applicants for basic jobs

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

More than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing went unfilled in 2011 due to a skills shortage, according to a survey conducted by the consultancy Deloitte.

The problem seems soluble: Equip workers with the skills they need to match them with employers who are hiring. That explains the emphasis that policy makers of both parties place on science, technology, engineering and math degrees—it is such a mantra that they’re known by shorthand as STEM degrees.

American manufacturing has become more advanced, we’re told, and requires computer aptitude, intricate problem solving, and greater dexterity with complex tasks. Surely if Americans were getting STEM education, they would have the skills they need to get jobs in our modern, high-tech economy.

But considerable evidence suggests that many employers would be happy just to find job applicants who have the sort of “soft” skills that used to be almost taken for granted. In the Manpower Group’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey, nearly 20% of employers cited a lack of soft skills as a key reason they couldn’t hire needed employees. “Interpersonal skills and enthusiasm/motivation” were among the most commonly identified soft skills that employers found lacking.

Employers also mention a lack of elementary command of the English language. A survey in April of human-resources professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the AARP compared the skills gap between older workers who were nearing retirement and younger workers coming into the labor pool. More than half of the organizations surveyed reported that simple grammar and spelling were the top “basic” skills among older workers that are not readily present among younger workers.

The SHRM/AARP survey also found that “professionalism” or “work ethic” is the top “applied” skill that younger workers lack. This finding is bolstered by the Empire Manufacturing Survey for April, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It said that manufacturers were finding it harder to find punctual, reliable workers today than in 2007, “an interesting result given that New York State’s unemployment rate was more than 4 percentage points lower in early 2007 than in early 2012.”

Stuart Schneiderman blames the focus on equality and self-esteem over competition and achievement:

The American school system has failed America’s students. It has especially failed to teach the skills required to do the kinds of high tech jobs that are increasingly available.
American children are deficient in science, technology, engineering and math, in what are now known as the STEM subjects.
It should surprise no one. A pedagogical policy promoting self-esteem over achievement must diminish the best students in order to make the worst students feel good about themselves. The result: a large cohort of undereducated underachievers who are proud of their incompetence.
In STEM subjects there are right and wrong answers. When these subjects are taught correctly, you will find that some children are markedly better than others.
Children improve because they emulate their betters. They strive to get better because they want to be as good as someone else.
If the best students are rewarded other children will want to emulate them. If the best students are demeaned no one will want to emulate them.
If you refuse to call on them in class, if you refuse to hold them up as exemplary, if you turn math exercises into storytelling and feeling sharing you are going to drag everyone down.
If you say that no one is better than anyone else, you are saying that no child should strive for greater achievements.

Stuart didn’t say it, so I will. It’s important to be careful about handing your children off to any school, especially the feminized public school system. The public school system from administration to the classroom is not welcoming to values like competition and individual achievement – which are more often (but not exclusively) associated with men. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many men in public school classrooms. Public schools favor security and equality of outcomes. These goals are best achieved by growing government to minimize individual achievement and to maximize the “safety net”, so that individual striving doesn’t matter. Another goal of the public school system is to increase the amount of money they are paid. They want higher taxes and more government spending, so that they are paid more. Their job is not to get your children skills so they can be independent of government. They want more government. They want more security. They want less personal responsibility. They want less individual achievement.

I think that teachers should have to work in a field related to what they want to teach in for at least 5 years before being admitted to teacher’s college. That requirement alone would improve education drastically.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How can you convince a high school student to study something useful?

You can give them this book by Captain Capitalism.

Excerpt:

Graduation is coming up.  Lots of little kinder will be graduating and off to bigger and better things.  Matter of fact many of you probably have little kinder graduating or even nieces, nephews or neighborhood kids you’ve seen grow up over the years.  Regardless, the question is what do you get them for a graduation gift?  Very simple.  “Worthless.”

My regular readers already know what Worthless is about, but for those of you unfamiliar with the book it is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK high school and college-age kids can read.  It IS the perfect graduation gift and I do not say that out of hyperbole or salesmanship. I say it because I believe it’s true.  “Worthless” is the perfect graduation gift.

The reason why is very simple.  Millions of kids make a huge and life-destroying decision every year – they major in a worthless subject.  Take your emotions or feelings out of it.  In today’s economy, we really cannot afford the luxury of sparing their feelings and lying to them, saying,

“Hey kid, follow your heart and the money will follow.  You’re going to be a great French Art History major!”

as we nervously put on a fake smile hiding our concern.

The amount of money they (or you) are going to spend on tuition, not to mention the sheer volume of their youth they will spend pursuing a degree, can NOT be wasted simply because nobody had the courage to tell the kids the truth about economics and the realities of the labor market.

But you don’t have to.  The book will do it for it you.

“Worthless” explains first and foremost to the reader that the reason somebody got them this book is because that person really cares about them.  And while it may not be what they want to hear, they will end up appreciating it in the future.  “Worthless” also goes into detail and explains in clear, understandable language the economics behind the labor market, showing the reader how and why some degrees are worthwhile and others are literally worthless.

The book is $13 in paperback and only $5 on Kindle.  A miniscule fraction of the tuition and time costs of earning a four year degree.  Because of its potential to prevent kids from making a VERY costly mistake, the cheap price practically compels you to at least consider it.

So do a graduate you care about a huge favor.  Buy them “Worthless” for a graduation gift.  And if you’re so kind, do me a favor and simply spread the word by sending people this post.

You do not want to have someone you love go off to college and study things that don’t lead to a job. You especially don’t want them to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans only to be unemployed after graduating.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

Unemployed college graduates resort to unpaid internships

From the liberal New York Times, a story about how Obama’s young supporters are being forced into unpaid labor because there are no jobs.

Excerpt:

Although many internships provide valuable experience, some unpaid interns complain that they do menial work and learn little, raising questions about whether these positions violate federal rules governing such programs.

Yet interns say they often have no good alternatives. As Friday’s jobs report showed, job growth is weak, and the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds was 13.2 percent in April.

The Labor Department says that if employers do not want to pay their interns, the internships must resemble vocational education, the interns must work under close supervision, their work cannot be used as a substitute for regular employees and their work cannot be of immediate benefit to the employer.

But in practice, there is little to stop employers from exploiting interns. The Labor Department rarely cracks down on offenders, saying that it has limited resources and that unpaid interns are loath to file complaints for fear of jeopardizing any future job search.

No one keeps statistics on the number of college graduates taking unpaid internships, but there is widespread agreement that the number has significantly increased, not least because the jobless rate for college graduates age 24 and under has risen to 9.4 percent, the highest level since the government began keeping records in 1985. (Employment experts estimate that undergraduates work in more than one million internships a year, with Intern Bridge, a research firm, finding almost half unpaid.)

“A few years ago you hardly heard about college graduates taking unpaid internships,” said Ross Eisenbrey, a vice president at the Economic Policy Institute who has done several studies on interns. “But now I’ve even heard of people taking unpaid internships after graduating from Ivy League schools.”

Youth unemployment in America is about 20% for teens and college graduates. It’s the capitalists who provide those jobs – the same capitalists who the young have been taught to hate. The same capitalists now shifting their capital abroad because of Obama’s anti-business taxes, regulations, inflation and cronyism – which the young support. It’s anti-business socialism that causes outsourcing – if you tax and regulate and insult businesses here, they just shift their production somewhere else.

Recall what happened in 2008:

Strong support from young and minority voters propelled Barack Obama on the road to the White House, exit polls showed Tuesday.

Voters in the 18 to 24 age group broke 68 percent for Obama to 30 percent for John McCain, according to the exit polling. Those in the 25 to 29 age bracket went 69 percent to 29 percent in Obama’s favor.

The only age group where McCain prevailed was 65 and over, and that by just a 10-percentage-point margin, 54 percent to 44 percent, the exit polls showed.

Since the election, Obama has been piling up 5 trillion of debt for these poor ignorant fools to pay off. They will be working until they are in their 90s to pay off the retirement benefits and health care of their parents, but when it’s their turn to get Social Security and Medicare, the money will have run out. That’s what Obama offers young people. And surprisingly, they take it. What else can they do? All they know about the world are the slogans that their secular leftist teachers have taught them in school. America is evil. Tax the rich. Stop global warming. Chastity and marriage are sexist. These teachers are the ones who are relying on their little slaves to make them rich – not the corporations. The slaves rally believe in slavery, and they want to be slaves. They want to save the planet by voting for bigger government benefits for their unionized teachers.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tripp and Tyler prove that they are world class apologists

I found this video showcasing their apologetics skills on Youtube.

The description says this: Tripp and Tyler prove to Ravi Zacharias that they are the true “leading apologists”.

What do you think? Are you convinced? Or do you still prefer William Lane Craig and Michael Licona?

What does apologetics really mean?

Come Reason explains:

1. The Meaning of Apologetics

Although “apologetics” may sound like Christians need to apologize for something, the meaning of the word is quite different. Apologetics comes from the Greek word “apologia” which means “to give a defense” and it implies a defense supported by specific reasons and thought. This is the same kind of defense a defense attorney might give on behalf of his client, using reasons and arguments to prove innocence.

The concept of apologetics isn’t unique to Christianity, either. In a more general sense, anytime a person is asked to defend a position or a belief in some system, he is asked for an apologetic. However, it seems the concept of rationally defending your convictions in today’s society isn’t valued as much as it had been previously. Professors may speak of someone’s apologetic, but the phrase has fallen out of use in the popular vernacular.

In the Bible, the most famous apologetics passage is 1 Peter 3:15 where the Apostle commands believers to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (apologia) to everyone that asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect.”

It doesn’t mean apologizing, although I once had a New Age co-worker who didn’t like me disproving moral relativism for her and she insisted that apologetics had something to do with apologizing.

Filed under: Humor, , , , ,

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