Alchemical Thoughts

Signs that the economy is bad: Education Edition

Posted on: May 21, 2010

Welcome to another edition in our semi-regular (read when I feel like it and have time) series Signs that the economy is bad. Since Blogger for some reason is refusing to publish the post (as in some technical glitch b.s.), we have moved our feature this week here to Alchemical Thoughts (I will put this link over there since deity knows what the fuck is the problem with Blogger. It published my other post just fine. Who knows?) Anyhow, this week we have a couple of education related items. So, without out further ado, see the stories below:

  • Even those wanting to teach are having a hard time finding a job. Teaching was often the fallback job; if you could not get a job doing what you really wanted to do, you could always go teach was the saying. It's something I personally resent because teaching is not just something you pick up. I know; I was a public school teacher, and I actually got a degree to prove it. No cheap and quickie certification program for me. However, the conventional wisdom was that teaching in schools, as opposed to teaching college, was recession-proof. Things are so bad now that schools are cutting jobs left and right, thanks to funding cuts (at a time when we should be investing in education, but that is another story). Thus, it seems there is no teacher shortage, and this in a profession that has a very high turnover rate. "Teacher drop out rate: After 3 years, 1/3 of new teachers leave the field; after 5 years, almost half of those new teachers have left" (source. This is just one example. The issue of teacher attrition in the first years of teaching is pretty well known).
  • Part of the reason schools have a hard time getting funding is the issue of using property taxes to fund them. For one, the tax is dependent on property values, which have taken major hits in this economy. Two, a lot of people do whine and complain about paying those taxes under the "I don't have kids, so why should I pay for someone else's kid" attitude. I will tell you why you should pay? Besides education being an investment in our futures, maybe it will keep little Johnny next door from becoming a career criminal and breaking into your house to feed his drug habit. So schools and communities have to find creative ways to supplement their funding. In Long Island, NY, strippers are actually rallying for a pole tax. You heard that right. These ladies are asking to be taxed so they can help fund their schools. How many people out there do you actually hear saying, "hey, I am willing to be taxed just a bit more so we can get a service that benefits us all?" Let me know when the crickets stop chirping. And if I was in Long Island, I'd consider dropping by.
  • Employees are being asked to return money, a decade or so after the fact. This has to qualify as a low someplace. Read the details of what seems a clerical error, but is more like the county in question made the choice to "roll with the error," and are now having regrets. This is kind of cold to be honest, but hey, at least they give you options on how to pay it back.
  • And you know things have to be bad when career placement agencies suggest to females that they should look for work in adult entertainment. The job centers in Great Britain in this story even provided job ads for at least one site. I have nothing personally against adult entertainment, but somehow advertising in a government run job agency does not seem right. Just has enough desperation feel to qualify as a sign that the economy is bad.

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