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« Today's AI in tomorrow's medicine | Main | Ruminations - 22oct12 »

20 October 2012


D. King

"We need to avoid lump thinking that only degreed people can do certain jobs. From a practical day in, day out point of view, the qualities that make us function well in our jobs are rarely related to the degree we have."

George Rebane

DKing 342pm - I'm not sharp enough to catch your point viz my post, please expand.

Russ Steele


In addition to Harvard edX, MIT, Berkeley and University of Texas are offering courses under the edX program. Here is a link to the the edX organizations webpage: I expect more will be joining the program to remain competitive.

There are 33 Universities offering free courses under the Coursera program. I am currently taking a course in Computer Data Analysis using R from John Hopkins University. More Courera details here:

Udacity is a free online University offering a broad range of courses, which now has 112,091 active students and instructors. More details here:

The Connections Academy is a full accredited free K-12 on line school. More details here:

And of course there is the Khan Academy. I recently introduced one of my 8th grade grandsons to Java Programing at the Khan Academy Computer Science. More details here:

One pundit has predicted that state legislatures will soon be attempting to regulate these free “disruptive technology” educational resources. The costly brick and mortar union controlled institutions will be unable to compete, and will be clamoring for some state regulatory control. We need to fight that option with great vigor if we are to educate the required work force. Many of the university level course offer monitored exams and completion certificates. As we discussed employers will be most interested in those completion certificates, as validation of an obtained skill level, moving the employee up the job productivity scale.

Most of these courses assume the student has broadband access, which is a challenge for those students wishing to improve their skills and live in rural communities with limited Internet access.

D. King

Maybe I got it wrong George.

I looked it up here, as well as the backround organizations and people.

"Earlier projects offering university level courses online, "Fathom" developed by Columbia University, failed in 2003 and AllLearn in 2006.[3] The AllLearn project was a consortium of Stanford, Yale and Oxford Universities. This was an ambitious online learning project which provided 110 high-quality enrichment courses from Oxford, Stanford, and Yale Universities for modest fees to over 10,000 participants from seventy countries.[8][9]"

George Rebane

DKing 544pm - your 342pm seemed to denigrate college degrees, but now you really have us confused. This time you're pointing out failures of previous online 'enrichment' courses delivered by universities for fees. Not sure what connection you are now drawing between those kind of fee-based avocational learning, and solid subject courses delivered today by the likes of the Khan Academy, edX, etc (see also Russ' 354pm).

The topic of this post is the relation of jobs in the workforce that correspond to available positions that require ever increasing skill levels to attain the required productivity that is made possible by advancing technology. There is no specified connection between any of these and college degrees. Indeed, the cited online learning systems do not provide degree track curricula, although that is a matter of policy from the recognizing institution. Hope this helps.

D. King

George Rebane | 20 October 2012 at 06:12 PM

"The topic of this post is the relation of jobs in the workforce that correspond to available positions that require ever increasing skill levels to attain the required productivity that is made possible by advancing technology. There is no specified connection between any of these and college degrees. Indeed, the cited online learning systems do not provide degree track curricula, although that is a matter of policy from the recognizing institution. Hope this helps."
It does help George, thanks.

I was thinking it was part of the H-1B scam.
"..."for modest fees to over 10,000 participants from seventy countries.[8][9]"

" not provide degree track curricula, although that is a matter of policy from the recognizing institution."


D. King

EdX To Offer Proctored Final Exam For One Course

"He added that proctored testing will make edX certificates much more valuable because he anticipates that employers and educational institution will be more comfortable with certificates received based on proctored testing results rather than a promise to adhere to an honor code."

Jesus Betterman

One part of the "workforce" that you never talk about: Entrepreneurs. Do you have a graph that shows how much more generous the businessman is becoming to his workers and society, now that his workers are getting more productive every year? Or are we sticking with the "I'll keep every penny I can get" model?


Mr. R.,, The folks down under have just done what our own AGW loons would more than love to do here. It appears that speaking ill of AGW will get you hauled in front of someone authority, and will be made to attend "retraining".

George Rebane

JesusB 433pm - Doug, the workforce I talk about is spread across a spectrum of skills that includes entrepreneurship. They are not excluded.

The more productive workers are indeed getting rewarded for their skills according to what the supply of such productive workers are in the labor market. That does not conflict with the the "I'll keep every penny I can get" model. That socialists don't understand this seminal attitude of how companies succeed in a competitive market gives rise to ALL the contention between the Right and the Left. No business can tolerate costs (such as labor) above market rates.

But what we need to focus on here is how workforce skills are matched to the needs of the job market in an economy. The private (wealth creating) industry cannot synthesize jobs on the basis of some fuzzy feel-good social justice emotions. Only the government can do that, and in the process does untold damage to the gainful employers and their gainfully employed.


Speaking of "keeping every dime I can get" attitude. Ha "someone got his contractor's lic. yet? Or is that still for "the other guy to do"?

Russ Steele


Entrepreneurship is Capitalism in its finest form and our school are run by progressives who are teaching socialism. The hierarchy system in schools reflects the structure of the labour market, with the head teacher as the managing director, pupils fall lower down in the hierarchy. Education provides knowledge of how to interact in the workplace and gives direct preparation for entry into the labour market. It does not teach entrepreneurship, in fact is discourages entrepreneurism, by enforcing conformity in the class room. Entrepreneurs are the outliers in the system and George certainly promotes the formation of business across the board. Move the rock and come out into the sunshine.


Let me know when any of the top tier institutions offering those online classes grant credit to their own students who take them.

D. King

Gregory | 21 October 2012 at 10:05 PM
Yeah Greg, I guess they had to go to proctored testing
because their selectees were, for some reason, not up to snuff! :)

Jesus Betterman

Unlike BARF Construction (click on sample song at this site ), I do not take on jobs that exceed $500, except as a photographer. See

Jesus Betterman

Capthchas are a pain in the butt and an insult to the visually and hearing handicapped. DKing, "or maybe they were snuffing and snorting coke while a hired hand diddled with mouse and screen?


Remember when our Sup of Schools opined that we would have no teachers due to baby-boomer retirements. The solution was a rubber stamp credential program drastically increasing the supply of teachers in Nev Co.... now we have declining enrollment (decreased demand). Ugh.

Agreed. And less central planning from gov. "The nation must have policies in place to attract investment and promote the growth of all sizes of businesses. "

George Rebane

What I'm still waiting for from RR's astute readership is any discovery of a politician recognizing the nature of the structural unemployment problem herein described (let alone serious solutions for 'putting America back to work').

Jesus Betterman

Maybe if the businesses that need the better educated workforce were to colectively set up funds that would reward excellence in achievement all the way down to grade school, they would find more students motivated to study harder and get ahead, from an early age. Note I did not say tax the rich and pay the teachers. I said pay the students who achieve, however they figure out to do it. Also note I did not say have the government do this, I said have the corporations do it. Wassa matter? Too much greed and "let George do it," in the room? Maybe you've had a taste of it trying to get folks to kick in for your local science and math initiative programs? Corps can be real good with the "yesem'" words and rotten about delivering the cash to make it all come about. BTW, remember Zimmerman? I too anxiously await Part Two of God's Plan: .


500 bucks you say? ( Keach) That 500 isn't just what you put in your pocket.
" total COST of the job". That means transport,( too and from) fuel, materials, labor,taxes, permits, ETC. So just which school of LIB economics did you graduate from? " Operate at a loss, but make it up in volume." For everyone else, that 500 bucks would be eaten up just getting to the job, let alone moving one cubic yard of material.
On top of that, your NOT CARB Compliant. Not bonded and insured. ( home owners doesn't cut it.) You have used the "self insured" excuse before. Union Pacific is "self insured". You that big and financially well off? I don't think so.
Like I said before. rules and regs somehow never apply to you. They are for the suckers that actually have to live by them.

I guess you forget just which state you live in. ( other than the state of denial)


"Remember when our Sup of Schools opined that we would have no teachers due to baby-boomer retirements. The solution was a rubber stamp credential program drastically increasing the supply of teachers in Nev Co.... now we have declining enrollment (decreased demand). Ugh."

That was more about McAteer seeing an opportunity to expand his own office by partnering with his favorite diploma mill, National University.

Besides, credential programs are just rubber stamps. They don't actually provide subject matter instruction on any topic taught in K-12 and are more about politically correct methods of teaching than anything else.

Jesus Betterman

Walt, my baby Kubota is carb compliant, engine is too small. I don't do jobs that I can't drive on the tractor, with turnoffs every 1/4 mile to stay legal and a following car, so with a very limit range of operations, and typical jobs being cleaning out a block culvert, and very few of them in the first place, I do the work to keep the tractor in spare parts, so I can use it here. 2,500 hours on it, 2500 to toast time. I also do lots of other things, that are car drivable, and under $100 each. I am supplementing my retirement, not depending on it for supporting a family full time. Your sense of scale is warped by your own needs. Most of my jobs come through Facebook now, so I am often dealing with friends, or friends of friends.

Jesus Betterman

Greg of course is a world renown expert on teacher credentialing programs, having never even been accepted for, or attempted one.


Doug Almighty knows all that one needs to get into a credentialing program is the ability to write a check, a Bachelors degree in anything, and passing the CBEST, which assures the future teacher has at least an 8th grade academic achievement level. This, unfortunately, is hard for many college grads in Calfornia, thanks to the low standards of their teachers.


I doubt that the credentialing process was so rigorous when Doug Keachie 'earned' his...

Greg, what is your 3 point solution to the current education system (vouchers, tax breaks, focus on ROP, internet schooling, study abroad ??)?

Jesus Betterman

In my day it took a "B" or better average in the last two years of undergrad, to even be considered for graduate school. There was no CBEST, but I had to take that and CLAD later on to keep credential current. Now I'm going to an optional Child Abuse course, to refresh my knowledge of what to look for, and how to report it. Took an overall refresher course last spring. Stay thirsty, my friend...


Keach Almighty, a "credential" isn't graduate school and never was.

Three points? First might be to stop the automatic teacher pay raises based on additional courses taken, whether subject related or useless pedagogy (the usual Ed drivel). Do it the way private industry does it... help pay for classes you pass. If it improves you, you will be rewarded in the long run by not being fired and getting raises above what you would have gotten if you stayed home to watch TV.

Next, an honest attempt at determining which teachers do the worst jobs, remediating them and helping them out the door if they don't improve. "Value Added" is a technique that can tease out of multiple years of standardized test data which teachers are associated with excellence and which are associated with failure. The best should be rewarded with status and mentorships, the worst shouldn't last long.

Along with the above, getting rid of tenure in its current form. And get rid of pay scales that reward time in the district more than teaching ability.

Also, make for a more streamlined path to teaching similar to the Teach For America program. Get more students who managed to get into good colleges with high SATs. We have documentation that the lower the SAT, the higher the probability that they're teaching 10 years after getting a 4 year degree; that is wrong on so very many levels, and needs reversing.

Finally, two Principals: one for academics (think Headmaster), and a separate one for all the rules and regs. And the Headmaster is supreme.

Then school choice. Allocated money should follow the student. All of it.

Very little of the above is politically viable, especially in California.

Have you heard the Prop 30 ads funded by the retired teacher group? 'Teachers don't stop caring about education after retirement' is the message, and they forget to mention the proposition is mostly to backfill the unfunded teacher pension obligations. So if you think Keachie is entitled to all the pension he thinks he's owed, vote Yes.

Jesus Betterman

Since the then lower wages were justified by having the District pay in a matching amount to what I paid in, I am absolutely in a contract which says you paid less up front and so you make damn sure you can pay my retirement. What sort of thief are you trying to be, Greg?

It's not a matter of "entitlement," it's a matter of contract law and the red herring that somehow the taxpayers don't have to pay it, which is strictly a Tea Party wet dream. Try telling California bond holders that they are not "entitled" to their full financial returns, and see how far you get.If employers want something for nothing, they'll need to find less educated suckers to teach for them. Implementing your proposed plan would result in teachers having resumes at the ready at all times, and jumping ship midyear whenever a better deal came up, or when they get a crappy set of students from underpaid parents, and could see the handwriting on the wall.

You seem to forget that for continuity in the classroom, teaching is the only profession in which there is only really one month to start in, September. If you don't have a job by then, you will not see a full time normal paying job until the next September.

Of course if you'd like to have you kids taught by the teacher of the month, go for it. You have far worse teachers and a far more insecure school student body, getting far worse scores than it takes to remain a dominent force on the planet. What do we care, we can always hire talent from abroad, in your Laissez-faire world, right?

PS Entered SFSU as a graduate student in Anthropology, working towards an M.A., got credential as sideline for eventual PhD work, then life took a couple of unexpected turns.

George Rebane

My concern about teachers' and other govt employees' pension funding is that it be out in the open. What really happens along the way is that local politicians don't fund the amounts necessary for the contracted amounts and spend monies on other vote buying projects. That runs up unfunded liabilities that no one signed up for.

Taxpayers should know from the gitgo what is the total estimated cost for a hired teacher. And no local jurisdiction should be able to accumulate unfunded liabilities by ignoring required pension contributions. That is the same as printing money at the county level, which is not allowed under today's national monetary policy.

Bringing the immediate pain down to the contracting generation of taxpayers by leaving potholes unfilled, etc would be a wake-up call that solves a lot of problems about government, its size, services, and expenditures in one swell foop (and that's the only kind of foop we should undersign).

Billy T

Teaching has not changed much in the last 40-50 years, except corporal punishment disappeared and the world wide web arrived. Slept with a few of my teachers and never considered myself a victim. Ever. Difference between now and then is they come and arrest the young teacher with all her charms and call the young lad a victim. Nonsense. I received a well rounded education. These darn cell phone pics and You Tube has ruined a good thing for the young eager, able, and willing student in the hands of the skilled selfless mentor.


Wrong as usual Keach, EVERY tractor, and EVERY engine, gas or diesel, is under the CARB purview. Yes, right down to a lawn mower, and weed eater.
Yes, even your old wannabe tractor is no exception. here is no such thing as "too small". But as always, you feel your above everyone else and those laws don't apply to you. The day will come when "the man" catches up with you. Good luck talking your way out of that. Why don't you get legit? take the contractor's test. ( you say your smart enough) Play by the rules like the rest of the honest working people.


Sorry Keachie Almighty/JB, the politicians you elected and the pension administrators you hired (nice headquarters!) didn't actually shake enough cash into the system in order to fund the pensions that were "negotiated".

You might ask airline pilots whose pensions shrank drastically because their employer was facing threats to their very survival, how that contract works when the money flow stops.

Now, if Prop 30 would be honest and say, we need this money to pay pensions, and here's the plan on making this the absolute last time this surprise will occur, you might have something. But it's just more subterfuge. Sorry, no. This Proposition isn't to educate the kids in school now, and next year, this is backfilling bad economic decisionsfrom 20 years ago.

The state has been pushing bad news forward for decades, hoping that ever rising tax revenues, both income and property, will cover the ass of the next generation feeding at the trough in Sacramento. That merry-go-round has stopped.


George, my union secretary Grandfather was very proud of the Western Conference of Teamsters. When one of his union brothers retired, the money came out of the fund to buy an annuity from a AAA rated financial institution. The month they retired, their pension was fully funded. As opposed to the Central (think Chicago) and Eastern (think NY/New Jersey) conferences who managed their own funds, with the help of their buddies in organized crime.

CalPERS and CalSTRS strikes me as being more like the Central and Eastern Conferences.


Thanks Gregory.

George Rebane

per my 338pm - For the record, RR has a five year history of pointing out and covering the govt service union pension funding frauds that have been perpetrated through our lame-brained and corrupt politicians who are regularly rolled by the unions abetted by 'fund managers' CalPers and CalSTRS. Why no one is in jail is beyond me.


George, (9:27), no big deal. You just go to the taxpayers and demand they write a check.

Did you read Dan Walters today about municipal bankruptcies on the horizon?

"[T]he distress is not confined to cities, since dozens of school districts are already on state fiscal watch lists and one, Inglewood Unified, was just placed under direct state supervision as a condition of an emergency loan to stave off insolvency."

This is a good thing. Problems need to be recognized, management needs to be changed, contracts need to be set aside.

Jesus Betterman

Walt, why don't you have a chat with Pat Clower at Gold Country Kubota. I do not have to replace my engine, sorry to disappoint you.

Jesus Betterman

Greg, they're screwing the new hires to make sure our contracts stay made whole.

George Rebane

The line for small jurisdictions declaring Chapt 9 bankruptcy is getting longer. This is a recurring theme in these pages and needs to be revisited periodically (more frequently?), and tied in to other factors indicating that we are beyond the tipping point.

JesusB 1136am - who are the "they" who are "screwing new hires", and how?

Jesus Betterman

"This is a good thing. Problems need to be recognized, management needs to be changed, contracts need to be set aside."

And the top 3 (Three) percent of small businesses, in other words, those wherein the income is Greater Than ">" $250,000 need to be taxed as necessary to provide them with the workers they claim to need, but strictly from the band of citizens we already have in this country. If they wish to move themselves to another country, renouncing their citizenship as they leave, and taking some of their cash with them, fine! Good riddance to Bad Patriots!

BTW Walt, my farm and ranch owners insurance does indeed cover me while doing intermittent work at any nearby farm or ranch, I double checked. The only way we could get insurance when we bought was by joining the California Farm Bureau, too much acreage, too small a house.

Farmers helping nearby farmers and neighbors has been an American tradition from long before Harry Truman's dad died moving too big a rock on a county road building project. I guess that is something subdivision pad flatteners don't know about.

Jesus Betterman

If you would see how the Calstrs policies are screwing the new hires.

Jesus Betterman

if you would read the link...

George Rebane

JesusB 1049pm - CalSTRS is the leading California teachers' retirement pension fund manager. It does not make the cited policies, but only manages the fund according to prevailing laws. It reports to the jurisdictions the status of their accounts and outstanding obligations.

New hires are not forced to accept teaching positions in California, but do so freely knowing what their compensation package is from their employing jurisdiction and state laws. You may have a definition of "screwing" that is tinged with semantics drawn from collectivist notions of social justice.

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