I am in the unique position of having spent much of my life in education, as a student through high school, college and law school; as a dropout after two years of a 4-year high school; as a career-field creator (the paralegal field and now the town attorney general); and as a proprietary school owner for 18 years, with full state and federal licensing and approvals for student loans. With all this experience I can tell you what's wrong with our educational system. It is the amount of regulation and licensing required for anyone to compete with the non-profit programs and courses offered by the universities and colleges throughout the United States. Colleges and universities are quite inefficient, and generally would not be able to compete and stay in business but for the state's protection by not allowing competing schools to open up, and by excessive, destructive regulation of the proprietary schools that somehow, stupidly, do get to open their doors. These proprietary schools are subject to so much wasteful, disruptive governmental oversight that the schools go out of business, leaving the colleges and universities free to sell their generally inferior educational product. We should look to India, which gave governmental financing to seven technical institutes, without any rules or regulations imposed by the government. These institutes, able to run without governmental rules or interference, became world-class schools for the teaching of programming, website design, website applications, and virtually everything else relating to computers, and their graduates are in great demand, whereas American graduates of computer training programs and courses are generally not as good. If education in the United States were made competitive, the country would have world-class educational institutions all over the place pouring out graduates able to compete with the graduates of the more productive colleges and universities of other countries. Our schools in America have got to be free to determine what's best, instead of government regulators who really have no idea what they're doing or the damage they're causing. I saw it happening during the 18 years I ran my proprietary school, and had to close the doors because of this excessive government regulation. The lack of a competitive education system benefits the professors of the colleges and universities because they are hired for life, when they get tenure, and it doesn't matter whether they are good as teachers or whether they are teaching the right subjects. To protect their tenure, it is deemed necessary to prevent competition from the more flexible proprietary schools, through excessive regulation designed to put them out of business. In this way, the student loan money, which they would otherwise get, will not go to the less efficient, more costly, colleges and universities, with students having to pay+ tuition and other costs that are far in excess of what they can repay out of earnings, creating generations of impoverished college graduates unable to obtain enough income from employment (at Wal-Mart or other employers) to pay back their student loans with interest, and thanks to the Bush Administration are no longer able to eliminate their student loans in bankruptcy. I have dealt at length with this problem in my book (2004, self published) entitled Self Employment - To Avoid the Evil Economic Trio of Outsourcing, Globalization and Declining Standard of Living. Website for Self Employment Book.
Before explaining the new curriculum which needs to be taught somewhere (and I'm now deciding that the curriculum should be taught in the final or 4th year of high school as an option instead of a college entrance curriculum), I want to show you how there is a huge, unsatisfied need for this new curriculum.
I have been a small business person my whole life, starting at age 9, when I had a newspaper route in North Platte, Nebraska. I didn't realize it at the time but I was the owner of a small business, myself, my bike, my paper route, my metal ring of cards indicating each of my approximately 100 customers for the daily newspaper I was distributing to homeowners along my paper route. If I didn't collect the weekly sum of $.15 (or whatever it was at the time), I lost money, because I had to pay the newspaper publisher for all of the copies they delivered to me.
Here is the present need for the nation's 30,000,000 "Small Business Entities", of which I am one. It is for the top person in the 1-person firm (or the top person in a 1-10 person firm) to spend less time on computer and internet-related technology and more time on the business or other activity in which the Small Business Entity is engaged, whether it be law, medicine, architecture, engineering, automobile repair, making loans, trading, selling auto parts, running a church or synagogue, or running a small government agency. The top person in each of these activities have this one thing in common: they are spending too much time trying to solve an ever-increasing number of technical problems and spending much less time doing the activities of their Small Business Entity. What they need is to find someone to do these 100+ technical things that need to be done, and prevent the self-employed person and other top persons in firms having 2-10 persons from conducting the entity's business (or non-profit or governmental or religious or professional) activities.
As a Small Business Entity person (attorney), I am willing to pay someone a percentage of what additional money I could earn if my time were not used up doing technical things I'm not trained to do, such as failed downloads when I try to purchase software online, streaming video, a password system for easier access to websites, routers, networks, backups, twitter, facebook, blogging (to develop new business, if you have nothing else to do), Skype, broadband alternatives if you lose broadband for some reason, video conferencing, email filters, calendars, credit card facilities, websites and website commerce, telephone upgrades, cell telephones, portable computers (netbooks, notebooks, Ibooks, etc.), and whatever else you can think which takes my time away from earning $300 per hour, the amount I now charge clients for my legal time. Some lawyers charge $1,000 per hour. In businesses where the top person does not charge by the hour there is a way of calculating a comparable hourly rate, which is to take the profitability of a one-person business and divide it by the number of hours devoted to the business each year, to arrive at an hourly rate - such as $200 or $350, for example.
I am willing to pay a person $100 per hour (or 1/3rd of my $300 hourly rate) for each hour per week that the person can save me in my technical time, so that if the high school graduate trained in 100+ different technical disciplines can save me 20 hours per week in technical time (for which I earn no money at all because I have nobody to charge for such time), I will be very pleased to pay that person $2,000 per week. If however, the person saves me only 5 hours per week, how much should I pay the person? The answer will surprise you. I will fire the person and look for someone else. I don't want 20 people each saving me one hour per week. I want one person to save me 20 or 30 hours per week, but I need a market of trained people so when one person doesn't work out I can go back into the market and find a replacement, immediately, and have that replacement start the next day. If a community gives this training to students in their last year of high school (and to adults in the community through corresponding evening and weekend classes), the town or village will create a market of trained persons to enable local Small Business Entities (such as lawyers, doctors, self employed persons, churches, small non-profit and small governmental agencies) to hire graduates and fire them if they don't work out, and hire a replacement. The most skilled graduates (whether they be 17-year old minority, gay, handicapped or elderly persons) will be able to get the job, especially when the market is new and developing. In later years for this new career field it will become more competitive, but at the outset even the below average graduates will be given a chance to show their stuff.
Part of the training program is to explain how the technical person can get help if he/she can't solve a problem. There are more skilled persons who can, and the training program should teach students how to find persons who can resolve these more difficult technical problems. For example, with a router installation problem, you may be able to get the vendor on the telephone and have them complete your installation. Another solution is to pay a fee for additional support. Students have to be taught what to do if they can't solve the problem. This way, the problem can be resolved without involvement of the top person in the business or organization, saving his/her time, which is what this is all about - saving time of the top person in the organization, so that he/she can use this time more profitably.
Here are some of the items which would be included in the resume of a graduate of the 1-year (4th year high school or adult education) program:
How can a prospective employer not be impressed with a resume including these points?
I believe that the above 4th-year high school reform (coupled with a corresponding adult education program) is the single most important improvement that a town can make having the greatest economic and long-term political impact for the community. The town will be able with this overall education to create prosperity for its residents and small businesses, and eliminate much of the effect of the monopolies and oligopolies and bought-off politicians that are stealing from the town's residents and small businesses in a variety of ways, and leaving the residents and small business impoverished, while ever-increasing the concentration of the economy. We can stop this at the town level, starting with this single education reform for the last year of high school.
This one reform - an education designed for growth of small business - is the way to effect needed change. Real estate values will increase. Unemployment and under-employment will substantially lessen, much higher hourly rates for employees will result, small business will have more political power; money will stay in the community rather than being sent to China; jobs will stay in the area and be created; persons throughout the world will start buying from the self-employed persons and small businesses in the town.
Carl E. Person, December 22, 2012