Doug Rothwell, president and CEO Business Leaders for Michigan has our wallets in his crosshairs:
When it comes to a more educated populace, Rothwell is troubled by the state’s pattern of investing less in higher education, in addition to challenges in the Legislature to weaken Michigan’s Merit Curriculum graduation standards. Rothwell is especially worried about the push by some Republican lawmakers to take out the two-year foreign language requirement — which is recommended or mandatory for admission into nearly all of Michigan’s 15 public universities.
He also is a strong advocate for keeping the nationally-developed Common Core state standards in Michigan — something else some lawmakers are challenging.
On a positive note, Rothwell believes Snyder’s approach to giving students flexibility in how they take classes and finish high school is a good idea. “Give kids as many options as possible,” he says.
I’ve listen to Rothwell on local talk radio and the guy is myopic. According to Rothwell the solution to every ill in Michigan’s economy is tied back to the idea that Michigan taxpayers need to fork over more of our money to subsidise public Universities.
Sure, it sounds nice on the surface to say we we need more college graduates. But in reality, what our economy needs is more skilled tradesmen and not an army of bitter women’s studies majors. According to Joseph Welch, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. his company needs skilled tradesmen and not necessarily ”college graduates” to meet his companies needs:
[H]e is having an increasingly difficult time finding employees with the skills required to work at his company. He says there is much misconception of the trades, many of which are high-paying, highly-skilled jobs. Wearing a suit is not the only way to good career. Donning fire retardant clothes can work just as well, Welch says.
“Businesses in Michigan and the nation are very concerned,” says Welch, whose Novi-based business is the country’s largest independent electricity transmission company.
If Michigan politicians and the politically connected truly want to revamp our state’s education system and help the economy grow at the same time, our state needs to revisit the old fashioned apprenticeship programs of yesteryear. Rather than throw more money at bloated Universities, the state could fund industry run trade schools. This way Students can learn the practical ins and outs of skilled trade’s and industry develops workers they need.