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'While Lockheed CEO Augustine touts the need for more STEM graduates and STEM teachers for public schools, Lockheed is laying off thousands of engineers!...' Research studies show there is no STEM shortage...'STEM shortage' another example of Rahm's use of junk science

This afternoon, September 12, 2013, at two o'clock, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be at Michelle Clark High School on Chicago's West Side to prattle on, again, about how Chicago is expanding STEM ("Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math") in the face of that national "STEM shortage" the ruling class likes to talk about. For a guy who has snubbed the annual Chicago Public Schools Science Fair since he returned to town three years ago, Rahm sure likes to (a) talk about STEM and (b) pretend to promote it in the face of (c) a "shortage" that isn't.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is relentless in his propaganda work on behalf of anti-union public schools. Above, a recent photo distributed by Chicago's "Mayor's Press Office" shows Rahm and 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale cutting the ribbon for the opening of a new non-union Walmart store on Chicago's South Side.Since Jerry Bracey first published -- in Phi Delta Kappan (before it went into the arms of the Broad Foundation) and Substance -- that the "STEM Shortage", there is really no STEM shortage in the USA. What the American ruling class wants to do is create a surplus of science and engineering people so that they can drive down the pay of those people in the USA. As Diane Ravitch updates (below), the "STEM shortage" never was. But facts -- whether about Longer School days or charter schools that have the "secret sauce" or STEM -- have never bothered the guy who majored in thespianism in college and then got a multi-million dollar gig as a "relationship banker" from his buddies during a couple of years he left public service.

Anyway, below is that latest from Diane Ravitch's blog.

We hear repeatedly about the shortage of qualified engineers and the need for more science, technology, and mathematics majors. I am all for that. I would also like to see more majors in the arts, philosophy, history, government, literature, and world languages. This reader--who signs as

"Democracy"--offers thoughts about "the STEM crisis"--and examines the role of Lockheed Martin's Norman Augustine, who has been outspoken on this and other educational subjects. (See his defense of standardized testing here.). And more on "the STEM crisis" here.

But Augustine and the president of Cornell wrote an article stressing the importance of the humanities and foreign languages here, while making a case for the Common Core. All seem to be about jobs and national competitiveness, the aims of the day. . "Democracy" writes: It seems that former Lockeed CEO Norm Augustine was invited to tour Charlottesville-area public schools, where he touted his brand of corporate "reform" and lauded schools for their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) focus, which goes under the rubric of "21st-century education."

As CEO at Martin Marietta, Augustine brokered the merger of that company with Lockheed to produce Lockheed Martin and got taxpayers to subsidize nearly a billion dollars of the merger cost, including tens of millions in bonuses for executives (Augustine netted over $8 million). And then the merged company laid off thousands of workers. The promised efficiencies and cost savings to the government (and taxpayers) have yet to materialize. Lockheed Martin is is now the largest of the big defense contractors, yet its government contracts are hardly limited to weapons systems. While Lockheed has broadened its services, it is dependent on the government and the taxpayers for its profits. It's also #1 on the " 'contractor misconduct' database" which tracks contract abuse and misconduct.

Meanwhile, while Norm Augustine touts the need for more STEM graduates (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and STEM teachers for public schools, Lockheed is laying off thousands of

engineers. Research studies show there is no STEM shortage, but Augustine says (absurdly) that it’s critical to American economic “competitiveness.” A 2004 RAND study “found no consistent and convincing evidence that the federal government faces current or impending shortages of STEM workers...there is little evidence of such shortages in the past decade or on the horizon.”

The RAND study concluded “if the number of STEM positions or their attractiveness is not also increasing” –– and both are not –– then “measures to increase the number of STEM workers may create surpluses, manifested in unemployment and underemployment.” A 2007 study by Lowell and Salzman found no STEM shortage (see: http://www.urban.org/publications/411562.html ). Indeed, Lowell and Salzman found that “the supply of S&E-qualified graduates is large and ranks among the best internationally. Further, the number of undergraduates completing S&E studies has grown, and the number of S&E graduates remains high by historical standards.”

The “education system produces qualified graduates far in excess of demand.” Lowell and Salzman concluded that “purported labor market shortages for scientists and engineers are anecdotal and also not supported by the available evidence...The assumption that difficulties in hiring is just due to supply can have counterproductive consequences: an increase in supply that leads to high unemployment, lowered wages, and decline in working conditions will have the long-term effect of weakening future supply.” Lowell and Salzman noted that “available evidence indicates an ample supply of students whose preparation and performance has been increasing over the past decades.”



Comments:

November 4, 2013 at 5:55 PM

By: Kathy Barker

STEM content and defense departments

There is so much more to science than the science dictated by weapons makers. The defense contractors are all on the reform wagon, and are looking to groom a particular kind of young scientist. Get military and defense contractors out of science.

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