You Don't Know What You Don't Know
What Middle-Class Canadians Need To Know
(on matters financial, economic, geopolitical, and societal)
I believe that the education system is set up to provide a limited number of university graduates because 70% of the jobs in an economy do not need anything more than a good high school education.
The skills one needs to perform one of these jobs (the 70% not requiring a university education), are adequately, and quite easily, learned with maturity and experience.
The best way to fill this large number of needed jobs is to have people blame themselves for not having done better in school.
Consider what would happen if sufficient resources were directed to ensure that everyone had a realistic chance of graduating with a post-secondary education (of value). Seventy percent of the needed jobs in the economy would then be filled with disgruntled, "over-qualified/educated" individuals.
It is much more effective to have people blame themselves for not having worked harder in high school, and thankful for the low-paying job they have (a job which the economy needs someone to do).
As a society, we intentionally throw as many distractions as possible at kids to deter them, not only from earning a proper education, but also from developing the ability to think critically.
Most kids between the ages of 12 to 16 are not mature enough to do what is in their long-run best interest, so unless they have a strong support system at home, the number of kids needed to "effectively" fail is easily achieved.
In South Korea, 60% of high school kids go on to complete a university degree. Then there are not enough jobs for all these highly-educated individuals. China and India (and many other nations) have the same problem.
When educated people are "forced" to take jobs similar to those less educated, while they see a small number of peers, with the same level of education, get few higher-paying "good" jobs, the resentment that builds up can be very destructive for a society and result in severe social unrest. Especially if the reality is that only those with connections get the good jobs (which is highly likely to be the case).
This is why I believe we will never see significant improvements in the education outcomes for First Nations children. If this were to be achieved, parents across the country would demand similar improvements from the education system at large (we would then achieve education outcomes similar to those in South Korea).
Unfortunately, in managing a society, and an economy, that is not a strategically smart thing to do. So, even though much politically-correct lip-service will be expended to appease the public at large, no real change will result, and people will continue to "effectively" fail, and blame themselves for their lot in life. The system needs, and demands, this to be.
This has been our reality over the last 40 years (much longer for First Nations). My hope is that in an era of abundance, education (and society as a whole) will benefit incredibly.
The reality is, education does make us better people (especially the humanities). Why Liberal Arts Matter - Fareed Zakaria (click to open link to a great explanation)
"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all." - Abraham Lincoln
Fault Lines - Raghuram Rajan
Exorbitant Privilege - Barry Eichengreen
The Benefit and the Burden - Bruce Bartlett
Pax Americana - Ronald Steel
The End of the Free Market - Ian Bremmer
The Collapse of Globalism - John Raulston Saul
The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy - Richard Posner
The Price of Civilization - Jeffery Sachs
The Self-Made Myth - Brian Miller and Mike Lapham
Age of Turbulence - Alan Greenspan
Aftershock - Robert Reich
The Making of Global Capitalism - Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin
The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein
Hegemony or Survival - Noam Chomsky
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins
America's Secret War - George Friedman
False Profits - Dean Baker
The New Golden Age - Ravi Batra
Red Capitalism - Carl E. Walter and Fraser J.T. Howie
5 Public Philosophies of Walter Lippmann - Benjamin F. Wright (summarizes Lippmann's work - I agree more with Lippmann than with Wright's critique)
Civilization and its Discontents - Sigmund Freud
The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money - John Maynard Keynes
The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
Propaganda - Edward Bernays
Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl
Philosophy - The Complete Idiiot's Guide - Jay Stevenson