Sissy Nation




MAY 10, 2012
A “Generation of Sissies”

-by John Mariotti, CONTRIBUTOR
My Other Website

The “elephant in the room”— one big question in the minds of so many Americans is—“Why has the middle class in America lost so much ground, and when will it recover to earn better wages (and close the gap between the top earners and the middle class)?” The answers are brutally simple: ”Because America’s middle class became non-competitive globally,” and, “Not until American middle class workers—and the kind of work they do—become globally competitive again” There are two huge problems facing the America in the future: one is demographic, the other is cultural.

1) “Baby Boomers” are retiring from the work force at the rate of 10,000 per day, and will do so for 17 years. Most of them don’t have enough pension or 401(k) assets to support retirement for their life expectancy (15-20 years). Too few employers will hire these older folks, with their potential problems of age—reduced stamina and more health-related problems (and higher health care costs).

2) In recent decades, American parents have raised a “Generation of Sissies”—of spoiled, lazy, pampered and over-rated youth—who are highly educated, but in things that the world doesn’t value very much (and thus won’t pay for). The top 25% may be as good, as bright, as motivated as ever, and will likely be as successful as ever. The vast majority of this generation consists of formally educated, but spoiled, soft post-adolescents, who will struggle to be self-sustaining as adults. Because of this, they will not be able to support the massive wave of retired “Boomers,” who will be going broke in their later years. In eras past, the elderly were supported by the coming younger generation(s). Those days are gone.

Members of this “Generation of Sissies” have been the victims of being coddled, babied, pampered, misled, misguided, and under-educated so badly that their “take care of me” upbringing cannot be sustained as they move into adulthood. The parents, who did this, also share in the responsibility for the failure of America’s educational system.

I won’t lay all the “blame” for these failures on American youth—although they have been willing accomplices. Parents and educators failed to prepare them for adult life in the cold harsh world, and where they must compete for gainful employment. Then the youth chose easy and fun majors in college; not the ones in that are in demand by employers. Thus they can’t find jobs, or certainly not good paying jobs.

For too long, American parents have also abdicated the responsibilities for educating and raising their children to a cadre of teachers and educational institutions ill suited for the task at hand. Parents used to prepare children to take care of themselves—sort of an apprenticeship in becoming an adult. Along the way, they used to teach them, and demand of them, that they learn critical personal skills, and useful, responsible habits—like earning your own way in life. Not any more.

Now, because of globalization the jobs have gone to wherever qualified workers will do them for the least pay. American workers have fallen behind global competitors. Thus, the American middle class, now and for the foreseeable future, will have to “play catch up” —learning new skills and how to apply them—and then employers will have to regain the work that provides the jobs. Otherwise, the middle class will continue to languish with subpar wages—at least until it becomes competitive again, if that ever happens. The only part of the middle class with growth prospects are employees of new, small businesses that grow–when they are not stifled by an oppressive government regulations.

Worse yet, is the untimeliness of this “Generation of Sissies,” who think that there are no winners or losers. They learned this because everyone got rewarded just for participating. Trophies no longer represented hard work and winning to them. Success meant just being involved and “showing up”—and sometimes, not even that. News flash for Americans of this Generation of Sissies: In the cold, harsh world of 21st century global business there ARE winners and losers—and YOU are losing!

The “Generation of Sissies was victimized by too-busy parents, who abdicated their responsibilities, and tried to pass them off onto schools and teachers. The teachers were not prepared to handle these new responsibilities. Add to this the expectations that have been created: “free meals” (government funded, means “free”) that go far beyond the old school lunches; “free transportation” (or being driven to school); “free extracurricular activities,” and much more. And for this, all they had to do was“show up.” Even grades are no longer a dose of reality. Kinder words replace letter grades, to soften the truth of impending mediocrity.

Schools now teach “softer studies” (some of which used to be taught at home by parents) make up over 1/3 of total credits: “21st century life,” or “career-technical education, or “health, safety, & physical education,” or “visual & performing arts,” and “language arts literacy.” Many students can’t write a grammatically correct sentence, and some don’t even see the point in learning to write (cursive) at all. They use Text-messages and Tweets. Signatures are nearly obsolete.

Schools still require a modicum of Math and Science, but not enough to meet todays employment demands. In many cases, one 3-credit course (out of 110 credits) is offered on financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial topics. Teachers are not held to the highest standards either, since doing so would require compensating the best ones more, and removing the worst ones—and teachers’ unions (and tenure) simply won’t allow that. Today’s youth learn that being late, or absent isn’t so bad, because there is always an “excuse.” But when they get in the world of work, employers expect employees to show up, on time, every day, and actually work all day.

Then parents pay a fortune (instead of putting it away for retirement) for college because it used to be a sure path to a decent job (Now students graduate deeply in debt—over $1 Trillion and rising). A degree in the arts or humanities may have once been the ticket to a job, but it’s not any more! The youth of today and the adults of tomorrow simply have not been educated in the reality, the necessary skills and the knowledge they need to be competitive and self-sufficient. Many do not have a clear understanding of how much hard work and commitment they must invest to ensure their own future.

Too many people feel sorry for these “underachievers,” even though part of the failure is their own fault. The “Occupy movement” is filled with members of this “Generation of Sissies.” They expect someone to “take care of them” and give them what they cannot or are unprepared to earn for themselves. Who has what that they want? The very people who worked hard to get a good education, studied, learned, applied themselves and learned to compete.
There will be negative comments about my title: “Generation of Sissies”—as being demeaning. These comments will come mostly from the very same segment of society that helped create these problems—and still condones them. To them I say, “Prove me wrong.” Right now, the results confirm what I have written. Until America puts the onus for education back onto the people where it belongs—first on youth and their parents, and next on quality schools and good teachers—the American middle class is doomed to remain stuck where it is. Any other outcome is a delusion.

Can these problems be fixed? Yes, but it took an entire generation or more to create them, so the fix will be slow and painful–as it is proving to be right now. There is an even larger question. It is not, ” WILL AMERICA COMPETE in the global economy of the 21st century? It is, “DO AMERICANS HAVE THE WILL TO COMPETE? Will Americans take the necessary actions to make themselves and future generations competitive. We can only hope that the answer to this question is YES!

Study finds for-profit degree no better than a community college certificate

The findings reinforce advice that spending more at a for-profit school doesn’t pay off

-by Truman Lewis

You read it everywhere: advice to prospective college students that they look first to public community colleges rather than for-profit schools, which can be five times as expensive.

Now a study by researchers at the University of Missouri finds that hiring managers show no preference for hiring people with for-profit college credentials compared to those holding comparable credentials from public community colleges.

“Tuition at for-profit colleges can be as much as five times higher than at two-year community colleges,” said lead researcher Cory Koedel. “When people are weighing their higher-education options, tuition cost and the ability to gain employment after school should be considered heavily. This study shows that no significant difference exists with respect to generating employer interest between individuals with community college and for-profit degrees. For many people, community college may be the better option financially.”

Random résumés
For their study, Koedel, Rajeev Darolia, an assistant professor in the MU Truman School of Public Affairs, and their co-authors, randomly generated thousands of résumés that included either a for-profit college credential, a two-year community college credential, or only a high school diploma. The researchers then sent the résumés to a number of job openings for open positions in fields including sales, customer service, information technology, medical assistance and office, and administrative assistance. T

They found that hiring managers called back to inquire about fake candidates at the same rate, regardless of whether the candidates held community college or for-profit credentials.

“It is clear that employers are not placing any kind of higher value on for-profit credentials relative to community college credentials,” Koedel said. “While for-profit colleges may be a good solution for some people, they are expensive, and our study indicates that there are other, more cost-effective education options that are perceived similarly by employers.”

This study was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

2X the number of computer science teachers in Wisconsin

-by Ogeche Emechebe

“Computer science isn’t typically a required course in high school, but according to one Wisconsin professor, it’s one that’s necessary.

Dennis Brylow, associate professor of math, statistics and computer science at Marquette University, is working to double the amount of high schools that offer computer science courses in Wisconsin.

In 2013, Marquette University received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to promote computer science courses in Wisconsin high schools. The 3-year grant is intended to boost the number of computer science teachers in the state. Currently, less than 7 percent of Wisconsin high schools offer computer science courses.

“We came up with a three-pronged plan to try to increase the number of teachers and to permanently fix the pipeline that provides new teachers,” Brylow said. “We applied to the National Science Foundation and it took about three years of getting the proposal accepted, but it’s brought a million dollars to Wisconsin to essentially double the amount of computer science teachers in the state.”

Several groups came together to apply for the grant, including the computer science faculty at Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s computer science department, the Wisconsin chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association and advisers from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The first part of the process is to get existing computer science teachers on board to teach an introductory course, calledExploring Computer Science. In summer 2014, professors from UCLA came to Milwaukee to teach the course to local teachers. Now that the teachers are trained, the goal is to have them train other teachers in the state to build a team of experts.

Exploring Computer Science, which also has an introductory course curriculum for students, has been implemented in 18 school districts across the state, including six public high schools in Milwaukee that have added computer science programs since the grant.

The course was first introduced at public schools last year. Brylow said so far the feedback has been positive and has inspired some students to pursue computer science further.

The second piece of the plan consists of easing the process for computer science teachers to receive their license. Getting certified is difficult, according to Brylow. According to one report from the Computer Science Teachers Association, the process is described as “confused, disparate, and sometimes absurd.”

UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater are the only universities left in the state that offer programs to get certified, after many universities began dropping the program in the 1990s.

“Whitewater has graduated three computer science teachers in the past five years and La Crosse has graduated zero in the past five years,” Brylow said. “So we identified that one of the problems is nobody knows how to teach this one critical course called the Computer Science Teaching Methods course.

“So the second prong of the grant was designing a modern version of this course using all the latest research and running initial versions of it this summer and next, and building it in a way that will be easy to adopt at other universities,” he said.

Also helping raise the level of expertise in local classrooms is the fact that Wisconsin is one of only two states (Arizona is the other) requiring that a computer science teacher be licensed or certified in computer science to teach the course. They are also the only states that have specific regulations on what a computer science teacher should know.

Andrew Kuemmel, a computer science teacher at West High School, was on the leadership team of the National Science Foundation grant. Kuemmel, who teaches Computer Science Principles, is working on creating an Advanced Placement version of the class, which is expected to roll out in the 2016-17 school year. West High School currently has three computer science classes and has offered its classes for around 30 years now.

“My students learn about how search engines work, how we process big data, and what is the impact of computing in society,” Kuemmel said.

Kuemmel said there’s been an increase in students taking computer science courses, with enrollment in such classes at about 200. All grade levels are able to sign up for it. “

Report finds student loan defaults heaviest at non-selective schools


-by Mark Huffman

“Student loan debt is about $1.2 trillion and growing, with not everyone who took out students loans able to pay them back.

Student loan default rates doubled between 2000 and 2011, according to Brookings Institution researchers who analyzed U.S. Department of Education administrative data on federal student borrowing, linked to earnings records derived from tax records.

Their report traces most student loan defaults to students who attended for-profit colleges and, to a lesser extent, community colleges. A common thread, the researchers found, was non-traditional students – typically older than the average student – and those attending “non-selective” institutions – schools that accept anyone – were most likely to default.

Weak educational outcomes
“These non-traditional borrowers were drawn from lower income families, attended institutions with relatively weak educational outcomes, and experienced poor labor market outcomes after leaving school,” the authors write.

At the same time, the authors contend students attending traditional public or private non-profit colleges were much less likely to default and have done better in the job market after graduation.

The finding that a significant portion of student loan defaults occurs among students attending for-profit schools is not exactly a new charge. Federal data released last year showed nearly half of the 650,000 federal student loan defaults between 2011 and 2013 were by students at for-profit schools.

Taking issue
Still, some for-profit schools are finding flaws with the Brookings study’s conclusions. Mark Brenner, an Apollo Education Group executive, whose subsidiaries include University of Phoenix, told Marketwatch the Brookings study was based on “limited data.”

The Brookings study appears to suggest students who are not qualified to attend college – they choose schools that have no admission requirements – are the ones who take on too much debt and default. The authors say a relatively new development is community college students are defaulting on student loans. In the past, the report says, few of these students took out loans to pay for college.

Accounting for 70% of defaults
“By 2011 borrowers at for-profit and two-year institutions represented almost half of student-loan borrowers leaving school and starting to repay loans, and accounted for 70% of student loan defaults,” the authors write. “In 2000, only one of the top 25 schools whose students owed the most federal debt was a for-profit institution, whereas in 2014, 13 were.”

According to the report, the borrowers from those 13 schools owed about $109 billion—almost 10% of all federal student loans. And once out of school, they faced more difficult employment prospects.

For example, the researchers say the median borrower from a for-profit institution who left school in 2011 and found a job in 2013 earned about $20,900 a year. At the same time, 21% were unemployed.

By comparison, community college borrowers earned $23,900 and only 17% were unemployed.”

Will your college major land you a job after graduation?

-by Mark Huffman, 9/3/15,

“College freshmen, who are settling in on campus this week, probably arrived at school having already settled on a major. However, they might want to read this before finally making up their minds.

The workplace has its own needs and it turns out that colleges aren’t supplying as many graduates to fill those slots. In some cases, they might be providing too many in other less-in-demand fields.

Researchers at Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), working in association with employment site, looked at post-recession trends in education and compared them with trends in hiring.

Unique inflection point

“The market is at a unique inflection point, and we need to make sure that we’re educating workers to have 21st century skills for 21st century jobs,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.

The study uncovered a positive development. After years of promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, colleges are turning out more students with STEM degrees.

But the survey also showed a slowdown in overall degree completions – especially those tied to developing strong communications and critical-thinking skills – and Ferguson says that’s concerning.

“Nearly half of employers say they currently have job vacancies but can’t find skilled candidates to fill them,” he said. “We need to do a better job informing students and workers about which fields are in-demand and growing, and provide them with access to affordable education and training, so the journey to a high-skill job is an achievable one regardless of their socioeconomic situation.”

Degrees in demand

So which degrees are most in demand? The study found more than half of the top 10 broad programs leading the U.S. in degree completion from 2010 through 2014 were in STEM fields. There was a 49% growth in demand for degrees in science technologies.

There was a 45% increase in demand for degrees in natural resources and conservation. Demand for graduates with a background in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness was up 44%, exceeding demand for experts in math and statistics, which rose just 35%.

There was also strong hiring demand for graduates with backgrounds in law enforcement and engineering.

The study found most of this growing demand occurred during the most recent year. If you happen to be majoring in one of these areas, you might have multiple job offers after graduation.

Degrees out of favor

If you are majoring in the humanities, job prospects might not be as bright. From 2010 to 2014, the study found only nine broad program categories experienced decline, nearly all of which were in humanities and social sciences.

Demand for applied science degrees were down 30%. There was a 17% drop in demand for library science degrees.

Of course, business needs often change and can do so relatively quickly. What’s hot today may not be in demand tomorrow. The study found that culinary services demand grew from 2010 to 2013, then declined after that. The same is true for law degrees.

And if students are not really suited to an in-demand field, entering it might not be such a good idea. As we reported in April, a study by RTI International found that while nearly a quarter of high performing students who began pursuing a bachelor’s degree between 2003 and 2009 declared a STEM major, nearly a third of these students had transferred out of STEM fields by spring 2009.”

Community colleges continue to shake up education

-by Mark Huffman, 8/31/15,

“While policymakers have wrung their hands over the increasing cost of a college education, and students and families have been buried deeper in student loan debt, community colleges have evolved into an efficient, practical, and affordable educational choice.

That’s the conclusion of a study of the nation’s community colleges by WalletHub, a personal finance website, which finds in some cases community colleges are outperforming four-year colleges and universities.

Community colleges have long been associated with students who couldn’t win acceptance to a traditional college or university, and with non-traditional students – those returning for their education while holding down a full-time job.

“Much of their ‘second-rate college’ stigma stems from three factors: price, demographics and graduation times,” the authors write. “Although their relatively cheaper tuition rates are a clear incentive, affordability also signals subpar educational quality to skeptics. And with an average student age of 28, the nontraditional profile of the typical community-college attendee perpetuates a misconception — one that assumes these students flunked out of high school and consequently failed admissions standards at ‘real’ universities.”

The study points out that a vast majority of non-traditional students are balancing their studies with jobs, family, or both — commitments that often limit their enrollment to one or two classes per semester and force them to delay graduation.

Drawing traditional students

But increasingly, as college tuition costs have skyrocketed, many traditional students have chosen to attend a community college for their first two years – at much less cost – then finish at a traditional four-year college, drastically reducing the cost of a bachelor’s degree.

The WalletHub study also notes that in 22 states, community colleges have expanded to include four-year bachelor’s degree programs in high-demand fields.

Besides their low cost, the study finds schedule flexibility, rigorous coursework, and smaller class sizes make community colleges appealing to a wider number of students. Of course, some of these institutions are better than others.


The WalletHub study compared 670 community colleges in the U.S. to find the best, relying on a total of 17 key metrics, ranging from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio.

Among the winners is Dine College of Arizona, which scored the lowest cost of in-state tuition and fees.

Guttman Community College in New York spends the most per student. It was also tops in Highest Level of Collaborative Learning and Highest Level of Student-Faculty Interaction.

Renton Technical College took top honors for the Highest Graduation Rate.

Six schools – West Georgia Technical College; Alabama Southern Community College; Dine College; Rich Mountain Community College in Arkansas; Columbia College and Porterville College, both in California, tied in the important category of Lowest Student Loan Default Rate.

Northern Oklahoma College was judged to have the Highest Return on Educational Investment.

According to the College Board, the average in-state tuition at a community college is $3347. That compares to $9,139 for in-state tuition at a public four-year university.”

What a profound honor, privilege, & grace in this life, to be entrusted, even momentarily, with the temporary care, safety, and education of other peoples' children. "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." -John Dewey, "Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought." -Napoleon Hill, "What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the [individual] who instructs the rising generation." -Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Divinatione