The Education Disconnect of Quantity v Quality
Arne Duncan To Report College Completion Rates Rise By Half A Percentage Point At this rate, President Obama’s goal of 60% college completion rate by 2020 will be met in 2060, forty years from now. Forty years too late to meet the current and immediate need for a skilled workforce. This is quantity trumping quality which is the wrong direction to take the country and is contrary to the direction of the Department of Labor.
STEM, standing for Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, is the quality that needs to be emphasized. This is the quality that will restore the manufacturing skilled workforce that is needed to sustain the middle class. Emphasizing any college graduation is a common & chronic error that starts with high school guidance counselor and extends through to the Secretary of Education and to the next final level. Educational success cannot be measured by simple college completion. The college degree has to be relevant.
A Manufacturing Summit was convened at this National SHRM Convention. The theme was the need for a skilled manufacturing workforce, and the immediate 1 – 2 million skilled workers.
SHRM’s press release Wanted: Skilled Workers for Manufacturers speaks to the need for,
workers in high-skilled technical positions (91 percent), scientists (89 percent), engineers (87 percent), managers and executives (83 percent), and skilled tradespeople (79 percent).
So the real answer for America is not quantity, but a focus on quality as defined by a skilled and qualified workforce. It is time for the Department of Education to either step up or permanently step aside.