The Disconnect Between the “College Push” and Projected Louisiana Career Reality
John White insists that Louisiana needs “the higher academic expectations” that supposedly come with the untested Common Core State Standards (CCSS). He insists that CCSS will “prepare students for the rigor of education after high school” and cites the lametable statistic that “fewer that 30 percent of Louisianans have a two- or four-year degree.”
There is no evidence that CCSS will “prepare students for the rigor of education after high school,” but it sure does sound good. However, let’s set the issue of the unproven merits of CCSS aside for now.
How about that “fewer than 30 percent of Louisianans” with those associate and bachelors degrees?
Has White ever considered that “fewer than 30 percent” with those college degrees might be more than enough given projections regarding Louisiana’s future job market?
The Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) is also promoting the idea that CCSS will somehow translate into “success.” Like White, CABL just assumes that the “jobs of the future” that “require more” of students will indeed exist:
We believe all of our children should have educational opportunities that will prepare them for the careers or college options they choose. We also believe that in the second decade of the 21st century, our state needs a professional and highly-skilled workforce that is both nationally and globally competitive.
The jobs of today and those of the future will require ever increasing levels of knowledge, skill or training which means our students graduating from high school must be better prepared than they are today. They must know more and be able to do more if they are going to succeed. The Common Core standards will help them achieve that. [Emphasis added.]
So. By subjecting Louisiana students to CCSS, Louisiana’s economy will flourish– right, CABL?
Lets us now step into the reality that both White and CABL ignore.
Many of our most recent high school graduates, the Class of 2013, will graduate from four-year colleges in 2016. Thus, these job market projections are particularly relevant for them.
In the top 50, only four expected 2016 Louisiana occupations require a bachelors degree; only one requires an associates degree. Twenty-one require “short-term training and experience.” Seven require “moderate-term training and experience.” Six require “long-term training and experience.”
In the top 50, only one– “general and operations managers”– requires a bachelors “or higher.” Furthermore, the demand for these “general and operations managers” is ranked Number 9.
Here are the top 15 projected in-demand occupations in Louisiana in 2016, in order according to greatest demand:
|Waiters and Waitresses|
|Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand|
|Customer Service Representatives|
|Food Preparation Workers|
|Office Clerks, General|
|General and Operations Managers|
|Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks|
|Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses|
|Child Care Workers|
The top three in-demand occupations listed above (cashiers, retail salespersons, and waiters and waitresses) are the only occupations with a total annual demand above 2,000 jobs. Number 11 on the list, elementary school teachers, except special education, is the only top-15 occupation requiring a bachelors degree; its expected demand in 2016 is 1,090 jobs.
How amazingly ironic: The projected 2016 Louisiana highest-demand occupation requiring a bachelors degree is that of teacher.
Bet White and CABL didn’t see that one coming.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission also includes a list of 210 occupations determined to have low demand in 2016.
It is interesting that the break in the two listings (between high- and low-demand occupations) falls at education experience required. That is, at the bottom of the high demand are jobs necessitationg training and experience, and the “top” of the low demand are occupations requiring college education.
Here are the bottom 20 occupations for high demand, four of which require a bachelors degree and one, an associates degree:
|Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians|
|Surveying and Mapping Technicians|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health|
|Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education|
|Chefs and Head Cooks|
|Gaming Cage Workers|
|Couriers and Messengers|
|Agricultural Equipment Operators|
|Logging Equipment Operators|
|Insulation Workers, Mechanical|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment|
|Tire Repairers and Changers|
|Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers|
|Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders|
|Crane and Tower Operators|
|Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators|
Now, here are the top 20 occupations for low demand, twelve of which require a college education (six require a bachelors; four require a masters, and two, an asociates degree):
|Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products|
|Personal Financial Advisors|
|Architects, Except Landscape and Naval|
|Architectural and Civil Drafters|
|Civil Engineering Technicians|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors|
|Mental Health Counselors|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers|
|Special Education Teachers, Middle School|
|Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers|
|Public Relations Specialists|
|Physical Therapist Assistants|
|Physical Therapist Aides|
|First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers|
|First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers|
All of the low-demand occupations above are expected to produce only 50 Louisiana jobs per year.
I wonder: Are all of those “fewer than 30 percent” college graduates even gainfully employed in Lousiana?
How about the Louisiana college students who will graduate in 2016? Where will they work? Out of state?
With the above projections fresh on our minds, let us return to yesterday’s LDOE press release and its back-door justification for CCSS:
“Our economy has changed, and our jobs have changed. If we want Louisiana jobs to go to Louisiana graduates, we have to raise expectations for students,” said State Superintendent John White. “I have traveled the state seeking the input of educators and parents on how best to do this, and I believe that providing more time for educators, parents, and students to learn these new expectations is critical to achieving that objective.”
Fewer than 30 percent of Louisianans have a two- or four-year degree, while more jobs than ever before require education beyond high school. In order to prepare students for the rigor of education after high school, in 2010 Louisiana adopted the Common Core State Standards in reading, writing, and math.
The (by far) top three in-demand, Louisiana jobs projected for 2016:
No college necessary.
So let’s get this straight: Both White and CABL endorse CCSS because they are convinced CCSS will prepare Louisiana graduates for jobs that Louisiana will apparently be unable to offer them. Therefore, many future Louisiana college graduates will have to decide whether to remain in Louisiana and work in occupations that do not require their hard-earned degrees OR relocate and contribute to the economies of other states.
Is it possible for John White and CABL to be any more out of touch with reality?