Save Our Schools! Rally – September 22, 2012
Veteran’s Park, Manchester New Hampshire
4 – 6pm
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The Corporate Education Reform Agenda
by Tom Crean for Socialist Alternative
It is becoming increasingly clear that the future for working class and poor youth in the United States is bleak. Three years into the most severe economic and social crisis of the capitalist system since the Great Depression, the unemployment rate for teenagers 16-19 years old is 26 percent. A recent study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies points out that the employment-population ratio-the ratio of the number of people employed to the total working-age population- which is a broader measure of labor market health than the unemployment rate, has fallen by about 20 percentage points over the past decade to 25.6 percent for teenagers. This is a record low in the post World War II period.
The picture is even worse when looking at the situation for poor black and Latino youth. The employment-population ratio for African Americans ages 16 to 19 was 14.4 percent in July. Since middle class youth will still go to college and one way or another find their way into jobs, albeit perhaps jobs that pay less than the ones they would have expected to get in the past, the picture is not as grim for them. But a whole generation of poor youth now essentially has no experience of paid employment. This is truly a lost generation.
Why begin a discussion of the state of education with unemployment statistics? This is the right place to start because most people would agree that a key aim of education should be to prepare young people for a better life than their parents had. The corporate elite that dominates our society also looks at education in relation to the future, but from the more narrow perspective of training the next generation of workers.
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