There's two important critical things educators don't know. One is the economics of the Knowledge Society.
An educator from Spokane, Washington, recently engaged me in a discussion of jobs and job training.
He cited the shortage of plumbers and welders in Spokane, saying that plumbers make more than he does.
This may be true. I don't question it.
But here's the deal:
1.The greatest shortage of skilled workers is for four year college graduates, as all unemployment figures by education level confirm.
2.Plumbers don't create jobs, knowledge workers do.
It is basic economics. A plumber gets paid by someone locally. She buys groceries, clothes and so on. But that does not grow the local economy. It passes the same dollars around to different people.
A knowledge worker gets paid, in part or in large part, by people from outside the local community, outside the state, sometimes even outside of the country. With 'new' money coming into the community, she creates 4 other local jobs.
My son is one such job creator. He sells synthesizer parts he creates (with his brain, and then his hands) all over the world. Some 60% of his clients are outside of the country. None are in his town of Manhattan, Kansas. Because all that income comes in from outside his community, he creates 4 other local jobs, whether he or the mayor knows it.
It's basic economics. It's the Knowledge Society. If higher education is going to prepare for people to be successful in the workforce, historically its primary role, educators have to understand the Knowledge Society. They don't. Society suffers.
Photo: NASA photo of some part of the earth.