The Benefits of a Lower Education

Quality Basic Skills.Spring 2020

Job candidates with considerable formal education who struggle when attempting to write an effective letter following a job interview.  Newly minted MBA’s who look puzzled when you refer to a specific historical event.

It’s a broad brush, for sure.  There are many people both young and older, who could be contenders on the television program, Jeopardy. Yet, I heard an alarming statistic recently stating only 16% of millennials for example, have a solid understanding of economics. I’m not prepared to proclaim that it is all their fault.  Many don’t learn enough about economics prior to college, and when they do arrive at “______” University, they can’t always be assured of just what economic “version” of reality they will be taught. But, that’s a subject for another day.

What I would like to address in this article is what a good high school education entailed at one time and where an increasing number of our graduates (sadly, much too high) are finding themselves, today.

Sure, today’s students have E-books, laptops and the internet. They communicate via I-Phones with each other as well as their teachers and parents. So, in this respect, today’s K-12 students are far-advanced, technologically from earlier generations. There was a time when it was a given that a person with a high school diploma had a reasonable command of the English language, read at their grade level, could write a decent, well researched report, had an understanding of history, (especially our own American history) civics, basic science and mathematics. They were armed with a solid, comprehensive education which prepared them to function responsibly and with reasonable capability in society. If they chose to apply to college, they didn’t enroll in classes just to take the ACT or SAT test, high school prepared them. Upon arrival at “Ivy Oaks” they didn’t need to take remedial courses to get them up to speed.  College was going to be their true higher education –with a focus on an academic specialty as well as serving as a finishing school…preparing them for a career and, well, life in general.

School, especially college often centers on “getting a good job” and that’s an important component. People need training in programming, engineering, accounting and so on – I get that. However, it is often at the expense (commencing in the first grade) of true proficiency in the basics.  It’s amazing (and cost effective) what a person can be trained to do if they have a solid foundation to build upon.

For hiring authorities in our (soon to be again) competitive employment market, seeking out those candidates with quality basic skills just might be a rewarding, cost effective and a long-range winning strategy for your company.

The on-target resume’ may be a “price of admission” …but as you proceed through your interview process, try digging deeper into the basics. If the candidate has both, you’ll be on to something big.

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