College and Career Ready or Not

How to talk to your little ones about art history

It is never too early to begin preparing your little ones for the jobs that will cease to exist in the future—even if you don’t actually have little ones. So imagine the frustration of successfully filling said little ones full of college and career readiness only to watch them choose the wrong choice: say art history, or poetry. Is there anything you can do to forestall this terrible fate? 

Chetty, chetty bang bang
Chances are, your career-ready kindergartner LUVS his or her teacher. [Brief pause while writer shakes her head slowly and dramatically for effect.] You see, it may be time for a tough little talk with your youngster in which you explain that a *nice* teacher and a *highly effective* teacher are not one and the same, no matter how sweet she was when you had that little problem at nap time. Using brightly colored blocks (or the virtual equivalent on your at-home Amplify tablet), quickly and carefully demonstrate the Chetty principle to your youngster. See the great stack of yellow blocks? Those are your future earnings under a *high value teacher.* And that small tower of blue blocks? That’s the actual apartment building where you’ll live in your higher *SES* neighborhood, also home to the very bank at which you’ll amass savings at a higher rate.

When I grow up
When EduShyster was herself a youngster, she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up: talk about herself in the third person work in an office. You see, my sister and I loved going to my father’s office in the Illinois State Capital Building, where we would play with the rotary phones, the Selectric typewriters and eat coffee creamer out of a Styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. Which got me to thinking: what if there was a way to marry the technologies of the past to the ambitious career goals of the future, all the while repeating the words *college,* *career* and *readiness* ad infinitum? Great news reader: it’s called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC and your lucky youngster could be parked in front of a computer, *piloting* the new test as soon as this spring. Remember how just the other day your youngster was telling you that when s/he grew up, s/he wanted to analyze passages out of context, then use dated drag-and-drop technology to answer questions about said passages? 

Major dilemma
And now for the best news yet, reader: you and your youngster have successfully navigated your collective way through the myriad pitfalls of early-career-readiness and the magic day has finally arrived: college! But don’t go retrofitting junior’s room into a state-of-the-art winebox storage facility just yet. There’s still the little matter of a major to be determined. Fortunately there is but one factor to be considered when making this important decision: how much money can the little bastard make? But what major can best deliver the most major cash? And is there anyone who can help us answer this all important question?

Thank you, billionaire-turned-college-counselor John Arnold for helping junior navigate this important life decision. Note: if junior is still tempted to limp into the future via liberal arts lane, Arnold is happy to share a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate the feebleness of junior’s future earnings. (See page 8).

Putting out the fires of failure
But what if, despite all of your best efforts—and John Arnold’s—junior eschews STEM and majors in literature, or art history, or worst of all, fine arts? Buck up reader: the future may not be as bleak as all that. Junior can always be a firefighter as demonstrated by this actual test-preparation question, brought to us courtesy of our friends at the Achievement Network, which is *strongly committed to helping all students graduate from high school college and career ready.*

Which quotation shows that people who work as firefighters have diverse backgrounds?

A. “Deborah Pritchett, who works at Station 333 in Lawrence Township, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, was a fine arts major at the Art Institute of Chicago.”

B. “The training firefighters receive helps keep them prepared for many different types of accidents and fires.”

C. “A quarter of a million professional firefighters protect lives and property in our country, according  to the National Association of Firefighters.”

D. “People are always glad to see firefighters and EMTs, although Pritchett says she just wishes she could meet the public under less stressful circumstances.”

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  1. PARENT ALERT… PARENT ALERT!!! If you value a college education for your offspring solely for the economic potential it could produce, you’re going to be ….SOL! The next generation will do and value whatever it wants, and you will be a “viewer” not an “actor” in this drama. No computer program is going to determine that; it’s NOT your life, it’s theirs. Love, nurture, read to them, encourage their natural talents; DON’T plan their occupation! John Arnold, do you admire Mitt Romney’s sons? Goodness, what’s happened to our VALUES?

  2. STEM is mostly the last line of the meritocracy crowd, a SOP to cover the off-shore, automated factory, pink work of the last three decades.
    It’s a SOP that has lost its duping power, now that white collar jobs are being off-shored. They are trying to automate white collar work, but they aren’t having much luck other than overworking fewer people.
    STEM was only as good as the supply of people entering it. If there was a restriction, though difficult work, it payed and had some stability. Now that the academic-industrial complex is one of the last sources of ‘economic’ activity, the number of degrees being issued, conjoined with ever increasing work visas, is starting to put these jobs into question.

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