Thursday, May 29, 2008

Immigration--competing for jobs in South Africa

"We come fully skilled," he said. "We are good carpenters. We are good bricklayers. It's different than South Africans because South Africans need practice first."

A lesson for Americans, too. It's tempting to blame immigration and outsourcing for job loss, but it's also a fallacy. Given that the children in U.S. schools will be competing against 7 billion others, how do we ensure that as many of them as possible will be competitive? I have friends who disagree, but I think the chief goal of public education should be education and not socialization. If that means expelling an undisciplined 10% of the students so teachers can maintain discipline, and firing 10% of the teachers who don't perform... it will result in a lot of angst, but I don't think the other 90% will get a quality education if you don't do it and in the long run that's going to hurt them a lot more than it hurts the 10% to miss out on an education they don't want. If we were an infinitely wealthy civilization we could afford to do otherwise (ship the trouble cases to private schools, give them private tutors, whatever) but our ethics are constrained by the resources we have available. Anyway, I pulled the numbers above out of a hat, but I think the dilemma is very real and relevant: how do we prepare our kids for their future? (And how do we prepare ourselves? Most of us will still be alive in 2040.)

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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