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The Gender Gap in the Race for Jobs; Investing In Our Schools; Striking a Chord With Education; How to Handle Horrible Bosses

Aired July 9, 2011 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST: First the he-cession, now the he- covery.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

Men may have been hit hardest by the recession, but they're making up ground in this recovery. We'll look at a new gender gap in the race for jobs.

Then, investing in schools in a new era of massive government cuts, sky-high college tuition, teacher cheating scandals, bigger class sizes, but we're still falling behind the rest of the world.

And, John Legend calls Education Reform the civil rights issue of our time. Why reform is needed right now.

Then, I love my boss. That's what they wrote for me to say. But if your boss is horrible, we tell you how to cope in the office.

But first, the great recession took 7.5 million jobs away. Seven out of 10 of those jobs were lost by men. But that's changing. According to Pew Research, as jobs are slowly coming back, men have been finding their way back into the workforce at a substantially higher rate than women since the recession ended.

I'm joined now by Jane Bryant Quinn. She's a personal finance writer and author of "Making the Most of Your Money NOW" and Rick Newman is the Chief Business Correspondent at "U.S. News and World Report."

Jane, let me talk to you first. Do you think this is a - a he- covery, a new kind of gender gap or this is just natural big budget cuts mean a lot of jobs held by women are being cut now?

JANE BRYANT QUINN, AUTHOR, "MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY NOW": I think probably the latter, and since men lost so many jobs in the recession, much worse than women, it's normal that they would bounce back first and earlier and the unemployment rate for women is still lower than the unemployment rate for men.

ROMANS: And that's a very good point.

QUINN: So I think this is - it's really unclear whether - what kind of a gender gap there is here. But the - certainly a lot of the jobs that are being lost are in traditional women's occupation, education, health, state and local government.

ROMANS: And let's look at some of those. Because, Rick, even the gender gap is more of a - a reflection of industries growing and shrinking but does it make an impression that the economy now favors men over women?

RICK NEWMAN, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Well, male dominated industries got hit first. That's manufacturing and construction and some other things like that, and we're sort of seeing a lag effect with industries where women are a higher percentage of the workforce now getting hit. Government and education in particular that's because the stimulus spending held up - held up education for a while and now we're seeing all these cuts in states and cities, which are really hammering education.


NEWMAN: So that's where a lot of job losses are happening now.

ROMANS: Jane, look at the construction, transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, those were the greatest job losses.

NEWMAN: Those are the male - male industries.

QUINN: The male - the male -


ROMANS: The male industries. Now, it is the women industries that are getting hit. But are we seeing a recovery necessarily in construction and manufacturing and those things or it's just not the bloodletting was before?

QUINN: Not the bloodletting. We're not seeing a huge recovery in construction, that's for sure, although manufacturing -


QUINN: -- is improving. But, you know, jobs everywhere, as you know, are really painfully slow.

I want to say one thing about that I found really interesting in this Pew Research Report on the women. The job losses, the unemployment were among a particular group of women - women of color, Black, Hispanic, Asian and foreign-born women. So if you look at the - what the job loss was for native born white women, it is not the same thing. So, I am - Pew said they really didn't know why all these things were happening, but I am very curious about that piece of the report.

ROMANS: Sure. As it raises - it raises the question about who is being left behind in any kind of recovery in general.

NEWMAN: Or what kind of choices people are making. I think one thing we don't know very much about yet is how families are reacting to all of this financial stress. I mean, we know everybody's been trying to get all the income they can, but, you know, obviously we saw women coming into the workforce in the '90s -


NEWMAN: -- and over the last decade and we don't know what kinds of decisions families are making now about who goes back to work, who doesn't. I mean, a lot of families have downsized or want -

QUINN: Right.

NEWMAN: -- to downsize, so they may be making the kind of decisions where they're saying, gosh, jobs are so hard to get, we're going to just downsize a little bit. Maybe we're going to get by with less income and just change our lifestyle. But we could see that kind of data coming out in a few years.

ROMANS: Some economists have been wondering if there are middle- class families with savings who've decided that one parent is going to stay home now rather than take a lesser-paying job than they would have had before the recession. Some people who might have left the workforce altogether, if there's another person in the workforce who is making money.

I mean, the bottom line, I think here is that is this going to be a slower job creation than we are used to? Is this the new normal?

QUINN: I would think certainly we're having slower job creation and that's because this is not just a recession.

ROMANS: Right.

QUINN: This is the great recession. We had these immense budget problems, debt problems, family debt problems. We have banks that aren't lending -

ROMANS: And they're still there, those family debt problems are still there.

QUINN: All of those things are still there. Although I do - and I don't want any false optimism here, but you do remember, in the early 1990s, everyone was talking about the jobless recovery, which it was for two or three years.

ROMANS: Early 1990. Then what happened? Twenty-four million jobs created.

QUINN: And you know -

NEWMAN: I don't think you should count on that.

QUINN: But we have the same thing in the -

NEWMAN: We're not going to see a repeat of that.

QUINN: -- in the 2000-2001 recession a jobless recovery. So I do think that this is a different time because it was a - we had a financial collapse. It was much worse than it was before. NEWMAN: Those jobless recoveries, though, are getting deeper and longer.

QUINN: They are.

NEWMAN: That trend is becoming very clear. At the end of the day, I mean, there's really not much you can do about whether you're a man or woman. I think this comes down to skills and that is something people can do a lot about. If you're in a construction industry, for instance, you're just waiting for that job to come back -


NEWMAN: -- you've got the wrong strategy.

ROMANS: All right.

NEWMAN: Everybody in the workforce needs to be getting smarter and better.

ROMANS: All right. Jane and Rick, don't move. Stick around, because that two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner Nick Kristof will join the three of us next. Why he says education spending is the best use for tax dollars.


ROMANS: A tweet this week from "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof caught our attention that said, "Failing to invest in American schools is so short-sighted. I can't think of a better use of taxes than education." Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner Nick Kristof joins me now.

Well, here are the stats, Nick. Nice to see you this morning. Thanks for being here.


ROMANS: In the most recent International Student Assessment report by the OECD, this is the number everyone looks at comparing 15- year-olds in 70 countries the U.S. ranks 14th for reading skills, 17th for science, and below average 25th for mathematics.

Nick, but we spend twice as much per student today than we did in the '70s. What do we have to show for it?

KRISTOF: Well, not very much. And I think that right now we're facing a further crisis because there is a huge defunding going on all around the country because of the downturn. In my - my old high school in Yamhill, Oregon is just reeling. I just saw that Los Angeles has cut by 80 percent of the funding for summer school programs.

ROMANS: Right. KRISTOF: And I guess it - you know, it just strikes me that if you look at what determines a country's long-term greatness or long- term economic growth, then there are no silver bullets, no quick fixes, but maybe the closest thing there is is really investment in education. It's not just about money, as you said, it's about building a great system, but raising mass education of the population. And that is where we are striking out where we're being leapfrogged by Asian countries in particular and where I hear that, you know, right now, we're really losing a moment and that victims will not only be those individuals who weren't getting a great education, but will be the country itself.

ROMANS: Well, you look at the investment in education or the investment in a young person and how that can be such an economic driver longer term when that person is successful and contributing and starting ideas and, you know, adding to companies, yet you talk about the budget ax. I mean, you have reformers and you have conservatives who say, look, we are - we're not doing enough well with the tax money you're already taking out of our pocket.

KRISTOF: Yes. And I mean, I think that the critics have a point that just pouring more money into a broken system doesn't work. But I also think that starving a system more resources is - is going to guarantee that kind of broken system. We need - I think we do need school reform and we do need more accountability, but we also need more money going into the system.

And I don't think a lot of people would agree with me, but I think we also need better teachers and that means paying teachers more. I think there has to be some kind of increase in accountability but that also coupled with higher salaries to encourage, to attract the best people into the profession. Right now we're not getting that.

ROMANS: What about what part of the whole budget ax story - and I want to bring Jane Bryant Quinn and Rick Newman back into the conversation with you Nick, is that higher education is costing ever so much more. I mean, you look at how expensive it is to compete with the rest of the world and get your child educated at a university to make sure they have this, you know, the sound basis to get these jobs that are in demand, and - and, you know, it could bankrupt the middle class or especially a lower-middle class family.

Look at these average tuition costs for private, non-profit four- year. I mean, look at the - look at the skyrocketing, up almost 132 percent.

QUINN: Well, there's a couple of things. First, of course, you don't have to go to one of the most expensive four-year public institutions. Everybody kind of looks at what does the Ivy League cost and you say that's terrible, I can't possibly go there.

But as Nick just pointed out, we have a - we have a good community college system, although it's being eroded, too, I'm sorry to say, and there is the state universities, the majority of kids do go to the state universities. What I'm worried about is the loans, because if the cost goes up, more and more loans are being piled on to students. So I call it indention servitude, because kids don't understand that if they get into trouble, if they don't get big jobs, if they're unemployed, if they get sick, they cannot get rid of these loans.

ROMANS: You can't wipe it out of bankruptcy in many cases.

QUINN: You can't wipe it out in bankruptcy. If you're a parent who co-signed a loan you can't wipe it out in bankruptcy. You are going to be paying that forever. And they come after you. There's 25 percent fees on it. Kids are getting buried without realizing what they are getting into. There should be an ability to get out of a student loan in bankruptcy if you need to.

By the way, these are private student loans. The banks do it as well. It's the bank student loans who also can't get out. But I think it's a disgrace.

ROMANS: I'd like to see - I would like to see that bubble. For too many years, you know, people could raid their home equity to pay for their education and that bubble in tuition, I mean, it's something we've got to address.

And now, when we talk about - I want to talk about, you know, the Department of Education, Rick, has a website, where they're publishing for the first time the nation's most expensive colleges and the least expensive colleges. I mean, there's no margin for error. I say this a hundred times, you can't switch majors four times anymore especially if you're paying this kind of - this kind of money to go to college.

NEWMAN: You have to sort of get it right the first time, don't you?

ROMANS: Unfortunately. It's not fair. I mean, you want - you want kids to be able to be matched with their skills and figure out what, you know, this is the rest of their life we're talking about.

NEWMAN: Yes. The Education Department has done families a favor by - by putting that information about the cost of different colleges in one place. And I hope that this is a step toward people starting to think about education the way they think about all these other goods in the marketplace. I mean, we don't just sit captive and say we'll take whatever price you - you charge us for most other things. So I think we people need to start thinking about thinking this way about education, which is find the best value.

ROMANS: Right.

NEWMAN: And there's another assumption we need to question as well, which is this whole idea that any amount of debt is OK as long as you're spending that money on education. I mean, you have to think about smart debt I think and say do I really want to rack up $100,000 to go to a private school? I mean, what's the - you know, what's the value of that.


NEWMAN: Is it really that much more valuable than what I might get at an affordable school or even as a community college. And we have a lot of resources available and I think people are not - have not really been thinking about tapping all those resources. We sort of feel a little bit captive to the system. We don't have to be that captive.

ROMANS: $100,000 of debt is not even an option unfortunately for - for many, many, many families and many students.

Last question to Nick Kristof, back on the budget idea. States are making massive education cuts in terms of teacher jobs. I mean, some of these teachers are going to be losing their jobs, couldn't afford to spend - send their kids to college. California, 36,000 jobs are likely to be cut. Illinois, New York, Michigan, Alabama, I mean, you cross the country, teachers are losing their jobs.

We just reported that women have lost more jobs during the so- called recovery because they have been more likely to be where some of these budget cuts they're making. This is only going to continue, isn't it? I mean, there's a new era of fiscal discipline in Washington.

KRISTOF: It sort of breaks my heart, because, you know, I do a lot of reporting about international poverty and there's huge differences between poverty in, say, Africa or Asia and poverty in America. But the one commonalty is that the best escalator out of poverty and most effective anti-poverty program is not some kind of redistribution, but whether you're talking about Tanzania or Alabama it is education. That's the best escalator out.

And when we undermine those kinds of programs, especially the - those that reach disadvantaged communities, then we're breaking that escalator and we're in effect sentencing another generation to be left behind and it, you know, we're investing in education in Afghanistan because we see that is a way to build long-term success for Afghanistan. We need to have the same commitment right here at home.

ROMANS: All right. Nick Kristof from "New York Times," thank you so much. Real pleasure to have you on the program. Come back again soon. Jane Bryant Quinn, always nice to see you, too, and Rick Newman from "U.S. News and World Report." Have a nice weekend.

John Legend, what he calls the civil rights issue of our time, his passion for music matched only by his passion for education reform. John Legend joins me next.


ROMANS: That was musician John Legend performing at our 2010 CNN HEROES: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE program.

John Legend calls education the civil rights issue of our time. Education Reform a major focus for the Grammy-award winning artist. Here with us now to talk about education and his new efforts to combat childhood obesity is none other than John Legend. Welcome to the program.

JOHN LEGEND, GRAMMY-AWARD WINNING ARTIST: Thank you for having me. It's great to be here.

ROMANS: So great to see you.

Look, you know, we've long said on this program that the great equalizer on this country is supposed to be a public school education -


ROMANS: -- or a quality education so many kids are not getting. One-point two million kids dropped out. I mean, every 26 or 27 seconds a kid is a dropout. Where do we begin?

LEGEND: Well, it begins, well, first of all, it starts at home, of course.

ROMANS: Right.

LEGEND: We as parents and as community members, we have to do a better job of nurturing our kids and preparing them for school. But realizing that a lot of kids grow up in challenging circumstances, a lot of kids don't have the resources at home. We know that great schools can make a huge difference in kids' lives.

And I work with some great schools, some of them here in New York.

ROMANS: Right.

LEGEND: Some of them around the country. And they're proving that working with the same kids that are challenged, the same kids that are failing in other schools, the same types of kids are coming to these schools and doing well. They have great teachers, great principals, a staff that's dedicated and committed to raising the expectations for these kids and - and really delivering great results for them. And they're doing it. And because that's happening, it makes me believe that we can do more of that around the country.

ROMANS: When you go and when you talk to these kids in classrooms, I mean, here in the Harlem Village Academy, here in New York, are the kids star struck or - I mean, you're putting so much time in the classroom, they know who you are.

LEGEND: Yes. Well, they've seen me quite a bit, so I spend quite a bit of time there. I visit quite often and I've been to a lot of their fundraising - fundraisers and events and things. So they've gotten used to me, but there's - they're still a little bit excited to see me.

ROMANS: Tell me about your Show Me campaign. LEGEND: Yes.

ROMANS: There are 14 million children living in poverty in the United States.


ROMANS: So you've got this issue where when the kid is walking in the front door, he or she may be hungry, he or she may be taught at that school, also fed at that school, and really faces an uphill battle, climbing out of poverty for the American dream.

LEGEND: Yes. And the Show Me campaign, our whole commitment is to find ways to solve the problem of poverty, and we focus particularly on education, because we believe education is such a great pathway out of poverty, and like you said, it's a great equalizer.

ROMANS: Right. It should be the great equalizer, if we can only deliver it with a quality education for everyone. Right.

LEGEND: Absolutely. And so that's why we focus on education reform so heavily, because we believe it's such an important tool to fighting poverty. And we work with schools that not only care about teacher equality, not only care about testing and all those things, but they care about the emotional well-being and the health of the kids as well.

We work with an organization called Turnaround that does great work at evaluating the whole lives of the kids, making sure there's counseling and therapy if they've been through trauma. Making sure their health is taken care of.

So the schools we work with are saying, we've got to do whatever it takes to make a difference in these kids' lives and make the education that they have transformative.

ROMANS: Right. And you're affiliated with a program, started by a mom who wanted quality things for kids to drink at school.


ROMANS: Tell me a little bit about that, the obesity problem at the schools and some of the new, innovative ways to fight it.

LEGEND: Well, it was interesting, because I was talking to one of the principals I work with and she was saying they were just opening a high school, and she was saying, it's amazing how kids really start to get obese when they become teenagers. And a lot of times our kids are just not doing the right thing when it comes to the kind of diet they have.

ROMANS: Right.

LEGEND: And, you know, I like to, in my business dealings, try to do well and do good at the same time. And I work with a company called HINT Water, which their slogan is, "Drink water, not sugar." And they have this really no-calorie, no artificial sweetener, no sugar and really tasty water that has a hint of fruit flavor, kind of an essence of fruit flavor and it's delicious and it's refreshing, and it's not loaded with sugar like most of the beverages that our kids consume. And so I was like, this is something I want to be a part of.

ROMANS: Right. More and more schools are getting rid of the chocolate milk or the strawberry milk -


ROMANS: -- and the flavored things and trying to - trying to realize that if they have the undivided attention of these kids for seven or eight hours a day -


ROMANS: -- they might as well feed them something that's pretty -

LEGEND: Absolutely. Why not?

ROMANS: -- decent. One last question about math. You like math growing up. You're a musician.

LEGEND: I love math.

ROMANS: Now, every kid is going to be able to be a musician. But should we be doing a better job of pushing kids into math and science?

LEGEND: It's funny how highly correlated math and music are. If you - a lot of studies have shown that a lot of kids that are good at math are often good at music as well. So I don't think it's actually a contradiction.

ROMANS: So math is cool. Math is cool.

LEGEND: Absolutely.

ROMANS: The message here is math is cool.

LEGEND: Absolutely. I've actually done some work with Samsung and we've been helping to bring technology into the schools as well, to encourage more kids who want to be involved in math and engineering and science.

ROMANS: All right. John Legend, really nice to see you again.

LEGEND: Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Thank you for coming on the program. Best of luck to you.

All right. Do you like your boss? I mean, do you really like that person? The person who tells you what to do every day? Well, if you don't, you're not alone. How to cope with a nightmare boss - we don't (INAUDIBLE) here, but how to cope with nightmare bosses next.





SPACEY: It's 18-year-old scotch. If you want a promotion, you've got to earn it.


ROMANS: That was a clip from the new movie, "Horrible Bosses." Do you have a horrible boss? Some folks who do are ready to jump ship. This is according to a recent survey.

Nearly one in three or 32 percent of U.S. workers is seriously considering leaving their job right now, with 21 percent not looking to leave, but they are viewing their employer unfavorably.

So how do you cope if you've got a horrible boss? I posed that question to Rod Kurtz, the Executive Editor of AOL Small Business, and to Pete Dominick, host of Sirius XM's Stand UP.


PETE DOMINICK, HOST, SIRIUS XM'S STAND UP: The worst boss is the boss who growing up had no kind of power, had no kind of leadership, for guys - he was never even the captain for the kickball team in gym class.

ROD KURTZ, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, AOL SMALL BUSINESS: Who kept getting picked on in the - in the playground.

DOMINICK: Yes. The kid that got put in the locker and I was that kid and I put the kid in the locker. But I play both roles. But - and you get that job, you get that power, and then you tend to abuse it, you tend to over - you know, over boss, and take that, you know, that control and really, really manipulate with it.

ROMANS: Or sometimes bosses are bosses because they have results somehow in the company, you know, they get results -


ROMANS: -- but they're just bad people.

KURTZ: Well -

ROMANS: So as long as their numbers are good and they're coming in 15 percent below budget all the time on their expenses -


ROMANS: -- and delivering somewhere else, they just last forever.

KURTZ: Well, how many times have we heard the term failing up, especially among middle managers. They -

ROMANS: I thought that was like a management philosophy.

KURTZ: Yes. I mean, they put some good numbers on paper, often at their employees' expenses and they work their way up. I mean, I'm sure it's a favorite of yours, the movie "Office Space."

ROMANS: I love it.

KURTZ: I mean, cult classic. This new movie looks great, too. The reason these movies gives a -

ROMANS: It resonates.

KURTZ: It resonates with all of us.


KURTZ: We've all been there.

ROMANS: All right. We asked a few folks on the street, Pete, about their experience. Let's listen to what they said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My boss actually made me scrub the toilet in the women's bathroom, which I found completely demeaning. Terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a bad boss, because every Monday night, I had to represent her in small claims court. She never paid her bills and she sent me every Monday night.


ROMANS: All right. Pete, you've had a few jobs in your time. What was your worst experience?

DOMINICK: First of all, I -

ROMANS: And by the way, did you finish the women's bathroom?

DOMINICK: I have scrubbed both. I've done women's bathrooms.

KURTZ: It's not here in CNN.

DOMINICK: As long as you don't have to scrub the men's bathroom.

ROMANS: I want to see your toothbrush when you're done.

DOMINICK: I've done that. I've done that. We don't have enough time to talk about my miserable work experiences. I've been a stand- up comedian. I've worked fast food, I've done it all. I think that my great gratification was - was the practical joke behind the boss' joke to get back at him. He never knew it was me. He still doesn't know it was me. Maybe he does.

KURTZ: And now he does. Now he does.

DOMINICK: I'll admit it now.

ROMANS: Rod, what's your advice to someone who's got a bad boss? Complain? If you go around them, you could get in trouble. I mean, what are you supposed to do?

KURTZ: Yes. I mean, I think this is a big problem for people. We're joking about it, but this is your life. I mean, you spend more time with your boss -

ROMANS: Especially if you don't think you're moving anywhere. I mean, you're stuck in this job.

KURTZ: And we're here on - yes. If you're stuck on this job, I would say, you know, vent a little bit, you know, to your friends, probably not your colleagues, you don't want rumors to go around. And, you know, you've got to really draw a line in the sand with yourself and say, I'm going to take some proactive measures, maybe make a list of thing that bother me and see how I can try to work around it.

ROMANS: All right. Pete Dominick and Rod Kurtz, thanks so much you guys.

KURTZ: Good to see you.


ROMANS: Aren't they fun?

All right. That's going to wrap things up for us this morning, but the conversation continues online. Send us an e-mail with your thoughts, even questions to You can find me on Facebook and Twitter @ChristineRomans.

Back now to "CNN SATURDAY" for the latest stories making news. Have a great weekend everyone.