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The Disconnect Between the “College Push” and Projected Louisiana Career Reality

November 22, 2013

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.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has identified 233 occupations expected to be in demand in 2016.  The comprehensive Excel spreadsheet is here:  Copy of 20062016Occ_DemandListState.

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:

Retail Salespersons
Waiters and Waitresses
Registered Nurses
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 Engineers
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
Opticians, Dispensing
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
Chemical Engineers
Architectural and Civil Drafters
Civil Engineering Technicians
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Mental Health Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Special Education Teachers, Middle School
Floral Designers
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers
Public Relations Specialists
Psychiatric Technicians
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
Parts Salespersons

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:


Retail salesperson.


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?

  1. EllenLubic permalink usual we are on the same wavelength. I am posting as comment I wrote yesterday as a brief essay. Ellen Lubic

    Obama : With Banksters/Common Core/Race to the Top/College for All, and other fantasy legislation vs. Reality and Vocational Ed

    We, the People, wanted to believe in the Patrician and dulcet tones of Barak Obama who promised us Hope and Change, starting in 2004 with his now famous political speech that put him on the world stage. We educators scraped by in order to give him our hard earned donations, and we worked assiduously for his election. We kept our credit cards propped up next to our computer keyboard so we could instantly give him the cash he wooed from us with his progressive messages.

    It was on day one, after he was elected in 2008 to be our President, that we had our comeuppance.

    Lo and behold, the first photograph of him with his new Cabinet and his closest advisors showed Larry Summers and Robert Rubin as his wing men. These two who colluded with Bill Clinton and Phil Gramm to deregulate the banking system by killing off Glass Steagal, and imposing on us Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act as the overall economic law of the land, combining investment and commercial banks (and supporting ‘casino gambling’ of derivatives, credit default swaps, and collateral debt obligations). This made Rubin legit, since he had already done this combine and formed Citicorp. And then, as a result of this legislation, the world tumbled into recession and near depression as the unregulated banksters stole from us all.

    What a shock! What an eyeopener!

    From there it has been a roller coaster of corporatist decisions and decision makers. From Rahm Emanuel (who has embedded in Chicago 50 charter schools and closed 52 public schools) to Immelt from GE, Geithner from the Fed, Fuhrman, Orzsag, and others, to his ever present Education Tsar and basketball wannabe, Arne Duncan. It is Obama/Duncan who now present America’s educators and students with the most challenging and potentially dangerous conundrum, that of a paradigm shift, overturning our public school system.

    Not only did Obama not fix No Child Left Behind, he made this law far more onerous with his imposed Race to the Top, promising that every child in the Nation must be prepared for a college education in order to enter the global job market. The double whammy then hit us with the mandated curriculum of the Common Core to be imposed on every state, and Federal funding of schools only to made to the districts that succumb to this undemocratic mandate to use untested materials designed by, and promoted by free market purveyors rather than trained educators. The corporate designer of CC, David Coleman, is now working on revising the SAT tests to reflect only knowlege he wants taught through CC.

    Where is there any freedom left for true educators to teach creatively and not be bound by this oligarchic coup to create worker ‘widgets’ of American students?

    In Los Angeles, LAUSD is now embroiled in the scandalous repercussions of the Deasy iPad fiasco to be used for study and testing of CC. Other states may end up in similar trouble if they float bonds to buy overpriced iPads of little to no long term value, and, which many feel were ‘sweetheart deals’.

    Now teachers and administrators and parents nationwide are seeing the fantasy of these Alice in Corporate Wonderland, for profit, decisions made by a President who posed as a man of the people, but who gathers to him the hedge fund managers and Wall Street masters who seek to make vast profits by privatizing the American universal public education system. The universal free education offered by our public schools is the system of free education promised and implemented by Thomas Jefferson which has given the world a vast number of Nobel Prize Winners, and professional people, from Richard Feynmann to Toni Morrison, who continue to improve society.

    It is now fast becoming a thing of the past with the current corporate fad for embedding charter schools, most raking in huge profits, in what was our public school system. The CEOs of these charters are paid whatever their self appointed Boards choose for their often ‘untrained’ leadership. Another conundrum presents the ugly truth, that these charter schools have the freedom and ability to pick and choose the top public school students, and leave the ELL and Special Ed children marooned on a sinking raft of under funded of particularly inner city schools. Of course, all this is paid for by the taxpayers who have NO voice in this Ponzi scheme as their pockets are being picked by Broad, Murdoch, Waltons, and others of the billionaire ‘Rheeformers’.

    What real educators know is that not every student wants, or is suited, to go to college.

    Many would prosper with a Vocational Education. Our Community Colleges are the place for this job producing education and a great amount of government funding should be going to this level of education that promotes real ability to earn a living. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, nurses, medical techs, police and firepersons, and other skilled workers are needed by all of us, every day, in our local communities. These are jobs that often pay more than higher ed-trained teachers, and even university techies, and they cannot be shipped overseas. These are the workers in our neighborhoods who make up what used to be the middle class. Now that manufacturing in America is a minimal factor, finding real work, real jobs, in our home towns is the key to waking up our failed economy.

    The phony for profit colleges who promote these kinds of jobs and milk the taxpayers, but economically rape their students, should not be allowed to proliferate, but rather, government funding should be amassed and directed to valid Community Colleges to train real students for real jobs in our diminshed economy.

    These for-profit pseudo-colleges make money either way by making loans to students which grow exponentially, and with the edicts of a purchased Congress, and the Bush delusion of tort reform and credit card debt, can probably never be paid off, so that students with good intentions are leveled by eternal debt to the banksters and investment profiteers. It is mainly our Community College system that should fill the role of Vocational Education.

    The sham education edicts of our government, and the multitude of investment vultures who defraud students with false promises of lifetime employment, have led us to fast becoming a Banana Republic!

  2. Mercedes:
    Oregon’s Governor Kitzhabe, along with Oregon business leaders friends and their acolytes have determined that the state needed a “ 40/40/20” educational attainment goal. Oregon’s. They pushed this goal through the legislature in 2011:
    • 40 percent of adults will have a bachelor’s degree or higher
    • 40 percent of adults will have an associate degree or post-secondary credential
    • 20 percent of adults will have a high school diploma or equivalent

    The goal is constantly referenced by out-of-touch “reformers” as the secret to a “future vibrant economy” for Oregon. All accountability for accomplishing it is placed on state’s public education systems. Yet, those who are responsible for implementing that system were not consulted as this 40/40/20 goal took shape. The 40/40/20 goal is a figment of the addled corporate reformers’ imagination.

    Yet, here are the realities about projected future Oregon jobs from the state Employment Department and the US Bureau of Labor statistics

    By 2020, available job openings will be:
    • Jobs requiring Bachelors Degree or higher=19%
    • Jobs requiring and Associate or Certificate=12%
    • Jobs requiring high school or equivalent =69%

    Why aren’t our “business leaders” in Oregon asking about the impacts of preparing 80% of our workforce for only 30% of the projected available jobs requiring post-secondary education credentialing ? What will be the human impacts?
    •specifically, the impacts on Oregon’s stagnant job wage picture that has changed little over the past decade.
    •specifically, the impacts of the 19.8% unemployment rate of young people below age 25, (and their underemployment rate of 34.1%)
    •specifically, the impacts of Oregon’s decade long disinvestment in pubic higher education that heaped a huge increasing burden of tuition paid by Oregon’s young people and their family and the reality that Oregon higher education graduates’ debt in 2011 was nearly 30% more than in 2007?

    It is clear that this is a transparent attempt by corporate “reformers” to once again attempt to set up our schools for failure so they continue to enjoy the lowest business taxes in the nation. Oh, they the goal will also let them enjoy highly underpaid, college debt-burdened, and ultimately disaffected workers.

    It would be interesting to hear from other states. Are you experiencing this same type of corporate push that ignores all reality?

    Tom Olson
    Co-founder, Oregon Save Our Schools

  3. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    Although the CCSS are supposed to be aligned with college and career expectations, there is no recognition that criteria for entry into post-secondary programs differ according to the career one may pursue (e.g., plumbing, pre-med, music, or architecture). Similarly, criteria for entry into post-secondary studies differ for highly selective universities, community colleges, trade schools, and on–the-job training.
    The emphasis on career readiness also ignores the fact that a typical U.S. worker has had 11 jobs before the age of 44. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011). Occupational outlook handbook: 2010-2011. Retrieved from
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010). Economic news release, September 22, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2010 from
    It is absurd for today’s Kindergarten students to be judged as ready for “college and career” (or not) in a timeframe that extends forward 13 years. Not even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics looks at labor markets beyond ten years and it revises projections annually.
    Achieve’s “research” on careers consisted of interviews with individuals in 23 occupational roles in five states ( a convenience sample) with no other criterion than the interviewees held “well-paying” jobs (above income needed for a family of four) and the jobs afforded some paths to advancement ( implicit definition of a career). The interviews were conducted before the economy tanked.

  4. Your research is far and above any that the ‘educational committee’ has done.

    This points out my theory…CCSS is NOT about Education…it is about Control!
    After Common Core is fully embedded into our educational culture, without a chance for us to change, or to PREVENT change, the Socialists and Educrats in Washington D.C. will morph it into what THEY think our Children SHOULD learn…Socialism. Communism.

    If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Disconnect Between the “College Push” and Projected Louisiana Career Reality | The Education Report - your source for education news, updated all day
  2. What if Common Core Had Followed the Democratic Process? | ΕΝΙΑΙΟ ΜΕΤΩΠΟ ΠΑΙΔΕΙΑΣ

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