UPDATE I: US Engineering & Egalitarian Education

Barack Obama,Bush,Business,Education,Europe,Feminism,Human Accomplishment,Israel,Labor,Technology


I heard it said that in the US there are two types of engineers: overworked or unemployed. A tough economy would indeed force increases in productivity: fewer and fewer workers are doing more and more of work. But there’s something else at play. It comports with what Eric Spiegel, chief executive in the US for Siemens, has exposed:

There’s a mismatch between the jobs that are available, at least in our portfolio, and the people that we see out there,” Mr Spiegel told the Financial Times. “There is a shortage (of workers with the right skills.)” … a recent survey from Manpower, the employment agency, found that 52 percent of leading US companies reported difficulties in recruiting essential staff, up from 14 percent in 2010.

German education is known for its rigor and high standards. But more importantly: The Germans run the same sort of schools I attended growing up in Israel, where, because no pedagogue believes all kids are created equal, students are streamed into different tracks.


… German secondary education includes five types of school. The Gymnasium is designed to prepare pupils for university education and finishes with the final examination Abitur, after grade 12 or 13. The Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediate pupils and finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife, after grade 10; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education and finishes with the final examination Hauptschulabschluss, after grade 9 or 10 and the Realschulabschluss after grade 10. There are two types of grade 10: one is the higher level called type 10b and the lower level is called type 10a; only the higher level type 10b can lead to the Realschule and this finishes with the final examination Mittlere Reife after grade 10b. This new path of achieving the Realschulabschluss at a vocationally-oriented secondary school was changed by the statutory school regulations in 1981 – with a one-year qualifying period. During the one-year qualifying period of the change to the new regulations, pupils could continue with class 10 to fulfil the statutory period of education. After 1982, the new path was compulsory, as explained above. Other than this, there is the Gesamtschule, which combines the approaches. There are also Förderschulen/Sonderschulen. One in 21 pupils attends a Förderschule.[2][3] Nevertheless the Förderschulen/Sonderschulen can also lead, in special circumstances, to a Hauptschulabschluss of both type 10a or type 10b, the latter of which is the Realschulabschluss. German children only attend school in the morning. There is no provision for serving lunch. There is a lot more homework, heavy emphasis on the “three R’s” and very few extracurricular activities.

The secondary school I attended (I grew up in Israel) provided a vocational track, just like German schools do, where kids with no academic aptitude acquired useful skills and graduated with a diploma in woodwork, welding, sewing, etc. The academically inclined were also streamed into grades in accordance with aptitude. You could take math, for example, on different levels of difficulty. We had a special math genius class of 5 kids with super high IQs. Nobody pretended everyone was equal. Kids were kept busy with the kind of work that was best suited to their abilities, not egos.

On the other hand, “evidence of how stupid American students (and teachers) are has been slowly amassing. The creeping cretinism is confirmed by reports like “A Nation at Risk.” Especially indicative are the below-international-average scores of 17-year-olds. One out of four children is dropping out and not graduating. High schools have been so dumbed down that even average students sit bone idle. Fully 50 percent of students with IQs that border on mental retardation manage to pass. Unlike our European counterparts, American universities, colleges and even corporations spend a fortune on teaching students elementary things they should have learned in high school. College professors attest to a decline in the quality of students entering colleges.” (“THE WORM IN THE APPLE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION”)

In the US of Obama’s “Yes We Can” and Bush’s “No Child Left Behind,” all kids are treated as equally able. If a subject appeals to a certain cohort—or selects for smarts—why then, we cancel it; make it fun by sucking out the hard work required to master it; make it girl/minority/Deep-Space-alien friendly. New Math replaces eternal math; social studies does away with history, etc.

Look, libertarians, yes, public schools and unions are a big part of the problem. As important, however, is the country’s progressive pedagogic philosophy, which dominates in private schools as well.

We’ve ditched canon and core curriculum. We’re replaced reason with sentimentality and attitude. We’ve manned our schools with females to the exclusion of strong male role models. I would not wish to be the parent of a young, hyper-active boy drawn to the hard sciences, in schools full of females, bent on promoting every mythical, politically correct orthodoxy that pervades the Zeitgeist.

What Herr Spiegel has observed is the end result of decades of these low or no standards.

UPDATE I (June 21): Abelard Lindsey: My sources confirm your point about HR. But you’re wrong about the MBA managers. They are no better: these are technically clueless individuals, hot-housed in America’s pinko business schools, who have no place screening for technical and temperamental competence. However, America’s most famed corporations have screening processes that go on for days and have a candidate interview in front of many higher-ups. One particularly brilliant friend, a genius who works for Apple, was regaled for days with the intellectual equivalent of a special ops training unit. He loved every minute of it. (I would have crumbled.)

Alas, the largest and richest corporation work a lot like government, the connections between private property and profits having been long since loosened. These giants consist of many fiefdoms, layered with deadwood, and governed often by nepotistic hiring practices. It takes massive failures, as Microsoft’s Kin project surely was, to instigate some corrections (but seldom any firings).

8 thoughts on “UPDATE I: US Engineering & Egalitarian Education

  1. Myron Pauli

    My father attended Gymansium in Vienna with an attractive brunette who became a famous inventor:


    as well as an actress. In fact, one of the ideas I am trying to get funded involves some of her techniques.

    But my father was appalled how moronic MY education was back in the 1960’s which appears to be a “Golden Age” compared to the dreadful state of politically correct garbage of today. You are, as usual, spot on as is Patrick Buchanan in a similar essay:


    I’m shocked by the schlocky condition of American “education” with PC jive, feminization, drugging of students, make-work homework drudgery, incoherent curricula, lack of critical thinking, etc. I think anyone with a sharp brain should be completing this K-12 bilge by age 14 and be done with it but most parents think that smart kids should stay in school just to “socialize”. Rosalyn Yalow, for example, finished up COLLEGE at age 19:


    and didn’t hang out to be cool or socialize – that’s American “education” these days. We import scientists/engineers like we import oil – America being good these days only for printing money and bombing Moslems (to no particular end in either case!).

  2. Dennis

    In the 1950s I attended a Catholic Parochial Grade School. We knew by 3rd Grade who the Smarties were and the Nuns told those who were Goofballs that they were just that unless they changed. High School was a private, all boys Catholic one and we were tracked. The priests/brothers/lay teachers were not shy about expelling trouble-makers nor about recognizing the high achievers. (BTW, I paid for 1/2 of the tuition and parents the other 1/2…so did a lot of my friends.) Today, everyone’s kids are “HONOR STUDENTS”. LOGIC DEFIES THAT STATEMENT. Detroit and Chicago used Social Promotions, i.e. all pass with the group, for 17 or 18 years. The U.S graduates approx 75K engineers/yr while China graduates approx 350K engineers/yr. NOTE: Go to any university’s graduation ceremony and see what percentage are actually U.S. born/raised vs visiting students.

    Yes, self-esteem. without any measurable achievements, from childhood up to adulthood(?) is the newest national mythology. We will soon pay the price for that lie.

    If any readers are entrepreneurial, please start something or get involved. A friend in Detroit is working with kids and trying to get them interested in aero-mechanics at a local, 50 yr old +, school just for that skill-set. I am concerned that if we in the U.S. do not strive for excellence and achievement, well,where do we and our kids go from here?

  3. Robert Glisson

    A few years ago, I saw a television show where a guest was a returning American foreign student. Her comparison was that the students in, I think Scotland, were so serious about getting an education that they had absolutely no school spirit at all; where in America, school spirit is everything. Sort of off topic but applicable, I think. Recently a Republican stated that we needed to have a citizenship test for voters. Cries of ‘racism’ rang from the walls. I asked why, “Because Blacks can’t pass them” was the reply from my progressive tablemate. I had a Black friend where I worked, she told me her version of the Civil Rights Law; paraphrased. “We wanted equal schools, where our kids would be educated to the same level as the white kids,” Same standards, but better teachers and schools. “Instead we got Affirmative action and worst schools.” The answer to all of this seems to be, education= bad; cheer leading government policy= good.

  4. Abelard Lindsey

    The Problem that Eric Spiegel has noted is not solely due to our sorry education system. A lot of it is due to many corporation having the HR people do the screening and hiring of candidates, rather than the hiring managers themselves. This problem is not as bad as it was, say, 8 years ago. But it is still a problem.

    Nevertheless, Spiegel is correct that our schools have problems.

  5. CompassionateFascist

    “our schools have problems…”. !!!!!!! I frequently have Univ. of Calif, students in my cab. About 1 in 4 can complete a subject/predicate sentence in the English language. I can recall learning how to do this in the First Grade, via diagramming and phonics. Not any more. Now it’s “language immersion”…………..This Teachers Union-orchestrated dumb-down is, of course, purposeful: creating subjects, not citizens, forever dependent on goobermint and its debt-financed handouts. Ultimately: you want your cheese ration? Over there…thru the gate…in that FEMA camp.

  6. Dennis

    These Links are for those of you who are trying to find something to enable your kids to be able to read, write, and comprehend at a much higher level than that found in most public – government – schools.

    Please note: http://www.alphaphonics.com
    http://www.german-latin-english.com and also see: http://www.howtofactor.com

    I loved diagramming. It was challenging, fun, and gave immediate feedback similar to building something does. BTW…Search for the diagram of the 2nd Amendment and you will learn why all the counter-arguments are fallacious.

    ps: CF, I’ll bet you have never driven over a cliff because you had the smarts to NEVER accept GPS directions at face value. Am I correct?

  7. Paul

    There are plenty of intelligent engineers etc. that are very qualified. They just happen to be white guys young and old. The bad school statistics are skewed by including minorities which screws everything up.

    Industry merely wants to hire cheaper young people and throw them on the scrap heap when they’re 35.

    For solid information on the computer industry and its disgraceful and unethical practices; see Prof. Norm Matloff U. of Calif. at Davis – he’ll set you straight.

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