“All you have to do, is close your eyes, click your heels together and say:  “there’s no place like home. there’s no place like home…”

Imagine Delaware, held at the Clayton Hall of  the University of Delaware, is sort of like that…  The panel featured 5 speakers:  

1) Mark Kleinschmidt,  NCCCCn (New Castle County Chamber of Commerce President)

2) Dr. Domenico Grasso, Provost of the University of Delaware (UD) 

3) Robert Schwartz, Pathways to Prosperity Network 

4) Robert Atkinson,  President,  Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

5) Governor Jack Markell,…

The theme was : career ready jobs through career ready education….   Tonight, the call was issued for a combined intensive effort from employers, educators, and government and nonprofit leaders to build pathways that link between work and learning and are aligned with labor market demand.

The argument was similar to that used by Common Core…  It goes like this.

The job market is global. America is behind.  We need more jobs.  There are jobs for very smart people that are empty.  We need to revamp our education so our not-so-smart people, can perform in those smart jobs.... That was essentially it, if you couldn’t go.

Just in case you are not familiar with the myths proven false with those looking at Common Core, here are the several myths from  above…

1)  The job market is global.  (The myth (or joke) is that no American Corporation pulled out of America and went to a third world country because of the quality of  their education…  We are not making IPods in China, Banaton’s bangles in Bangledesh,  Nike neckties in Nigeria, because of the high degree of mathematical skills their population’s possess…  No!  We shipped jobs over there because their employees would originally work for a bowl of rice……)

2) America is behind.  (The myth (or joke) is that America has the best education across all income levels.. Education is related to poverty;  if you take each income layer of America’s schools, and compare it to the comparable countries which are also in that same income level, which ever one you choose,…  the United States is on top of every single category….   Our +60% poverty schools educate better than other countries whose poverty average is +60% as well.  Likewise, our under 2% poverty schools, beat those of other nations with under 2% poverty…  At the  core of all the inappropriate misguided interpretations, is that our +60% poverty schools cannot do as well as  those under 2% poverty schools in other nations…. We have more poverty than most countries, and that is what lowers our entire national school average.)

3) We need to revamp our education:  (The myth (or joke) is that we revamp our education every 3 years.  Common Core is three years old now, and here we are, now getting this big push for vocational oriented education).   We did the DSAT, DCAS, SBAC’s all in quick succession.   We jumped from No Child Left Behind, to Race To The Top, to Common Core, and now… Imagine Delaware.  Education is the one facet of American life that goes through more changes than Chairman Mao…. 

4)  So not-so-smart people can do smart jobs…  (The myth (or joke) is that the number of smart-jobs is so small… Cited was the AIR study that pushed the parameters to state that in Delaware, there are 3 1/2 more high tech jobs than people who can fill them… Also stepping up to collaborate that was...Beracah Homes in Greenwood Delaware which was quoted as having hard times finding licensed electricians, plumbers, and other experienced tradesmen according to Jon Gallo, the company’s CFO.  Yet a quick check with IBEW off Basin Road, and Harry Gravell’s office in Elsmere, and Sam Latham, Delaware’s head of the AFL-CIO, … all consistently informed me that all their workforce is half idle…  There are electricians looking for work; there are plumbers looking for work.  there are skilled tradesmen looking for work…  The problem being quoted by Beracah Homes, is there are not enough NON-UNION certified electricians, not enough NON-UNION plumbers, not enough NON-UNION skilled tradesmen for Berach Homes to hire…  What they are looking to hire, is “cheap” skilled labor… 

The unsaid premise of tonight’s gathering, was that if you train your high schoolers in the trades, you can then do away with the trade unions… You can hire skilled labor on the cheap right out of high school for pennies on the dollar….. 

Furthermore you had two think tanks on the panel, one chamber of commerce head, one provost, and the governor… It is human nature. When any of us feel self-important we accent those threads of life which make us think we are self important…. 

Missing from the discussion, was any mention of poverty.  To be honest, it really didn’t fit in with the topic of conversation… just like a smelly elephant in the room doesn’t jive when one is discussing delicate desserts… so I can forgive it for being overlooked…  But if anyone is really serious, and would truly like to meet the aims these lofty over-$150,000-yearly-incomes espouse….  then we have to attack the poverty and start educating our children…  

We’ve got everything we need to get it done except leadership….