Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on Fake Schooling

This lovely Wisteria patch is blooming beautifully--right outside the WFIS radio studios in Fountain Inn--home of the Daisy Deadhead radio show. (Podcast is up!)

There was a bright pink Packard parked in a yard on East North Street for about three weeks or so... I kept meaning to park and take a photograph of it, but the neighborhood gave me pause. Not for nothing do Catholics call the area around Bob Jones University "Ulster"--and I try to whiz through Ulster fast enough that nobody can take a shot at me. Even though I really wanted a photo of the pink Packard (something I'd never seen before), I knew the only places to park would be (eeep) church parking lots. And they'd likely ticket me for trespassing, if their security cameras got a good look at my dreaded lefty bumper stickers. Ulster plays for keeps!

So, I am sorry to say, I did NOT get a photo of the fabled pink Packard. I wonder what the sale price was?

For more news of Ulster, check out the new blog "BJU News"--which actually gives us the real news, not the okeydoke offered up by local BJU-subsidiary, the Greenville News.

And speaking of the Greenville News, Sunday's piece on tech colleges offering job training was SHAMEFUL in its lack of reporting and total acceptance of the status quo. It was one long commercial for technical colleges, as their recent piece on BJU's spring opera season was one long commercial for Bob Jones University. Do they even understand the difference between reporting and press releases? Do they have any clue what real newspapers write about? Have they ever seen the New York Times, or even the Spartanburg Herald?

Sometimes the Greenville News reads like a series of gushing travel pamphlets, advertising the upstate.

Here is my correction to the comical piece titled Tech schools offer path to jobs, lure for industries:

Once upon a time, companies trained their own employees. Really! But as they grew bigger and bigger (read: greedier and greedier), they didn't like paying people to learn, and decided to cut out this (pricey) introductory first step. So, they successfully dumped this expensive first step onto the tech colleges.

Greenville Tech has a Michelin building, for instance, paid for by Michelin to train the Michelin employees. This way, the EMPLOYEE must pay for their own training! Is that capitalist ingenuity or what? The tech college makes a profit and Michelin has a continuous stream of already-trained, job-ready applicants. You can get hired right out of school, just like Goldman Sachs hires kids right out of Harvard.

Unlike those mad Harvard skillz, however, working-class skills do not always transfer to other jobs. Michelin and BMW manufacture things their way, using their own patented materials and procedures, and have their own corporate culture. Experience in these companies may or may not transfer to another job. But that is not the concern of the tech schools. They've made THEIR profit, after all.

So, you have a continuous stream of working class people who must be constantly trained and re-trained. This sets up a revolving door of tech college attendance, as workers must PAY to receive job-training that may not even get them hired, especially in today's economy. It's a pretty good racket, and the Greenville News obviously wants to do their part in keeping that revolving door moving, and keeping those profits rolling in.

But a RACKET it is, and wouldn't it be nice if someone came out and said so?

Sitting here sorting laundry and watching LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT reruns, I am inundated with TV ads for countless cheapy tech schools that offer various vague degrees in "management" and so on. They invariably feature an almost-middle-aged woman of color who looks triumphant and borderline-weepy as she graduates, all while talking about making life better for her children. They know exactly who is unemployed right now, and they have geared these endless commercials for THE TECH COLLEGE RACKET, specifically to them.

Yes, I know someone must draw the blood, style hair, take care of the very old people, change oil in vehicles, prepare restaurant menus and all of that... and they need to be trained to do those jobs. Thus, I suppose these commercials should not make me as angry as they do... but they do. I resent the naked emotional manipulation of desperate unemployed people; the idea being communicated that this economic situation we are all in right now, can be instantly fixed, just by paying a fee to a fly-by-night school nobody ever heard of. All we need is MORE TRAINING.

All we need to do, say the commercials, is STAND UP AND TAKE CONTROL of our lives, at long last. Right?


Until the next economic crisis, that is. Who, I always wonder, will these people from the fly-by-night colleges be managing with their spanking-new phantom management degrees?

Are there any employees left to manage?