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Where the Jobs Are; Race to the Bottom?; Rebooting STEM; Lying to Your Spouse About Money

Aired October 8, 2011 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST: One in four people cheat on their spouse financially. Are you one of them?

Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

Also ahead, we invest more than $90,000 per student between the ages of 6 and 15. That's a lot of money. Is it returning a quality education?

Plus, do high-achieving students suffer when schools divert resources to struggling students?

But first, make your education count, and get the job you want. Two- thirds of employers are concerned over the education and skills gap in the U.S. This is according to

Employers say the most significant skills gaps are in engineering and information technology. So how do you prepare for some of the fastest- growing middle class jobs out there?

Joanie Ruge is the senior vice president and chief employment analysts at Randstad, one of the world's largest employment operations in the world and Ellen Gordon Reeves is author of "Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?"

We'll get to that great title book in a moment, but Joanie, where are the jobs available? I know the statistics. There are 3 million open jobs in America. Where are they, health care?

JOANIE RUGE, CHIEF EMPLOYMENT ANALYST, RANDSTAD: Everybody is looking, right? They want to know where the jobs are at. There are a lot of sectors that are hiring. Health care is a very hot sector, engineering, information technology, accounting and finance. There are lots of job opportunities in this sector, but, of course, you need the education.

ROMANS: Right.

RUGE: And the credentials to get those jobs.

ROMANS: Look at these, clinical research associate. I mean, $65,000 to $80,000 as a salary range. You need a bachelor's degree. What's a quality associate?

RUGE: Yes, so a quality associate is really kind of a hot job right now. You see it a lot in health care, in pharmaceuticals. Really looking for people that can keep up with the compliance and really look into checking up the manufacturers of the drug companies are sticking with the clinical research. So there's a high demand in this area and it's a growing field.

ROMANS: Ellen, we know the unemployment rate for someone with a bachelor's degree is 4.6 percent. That's a lot different than the 9.1 percent you hear every time there's a jobs report. But just having the education is not the whole picture. You have to be able to seal the deal, don't you?

ELLEN GORDON REEVES, AUTHOR, "CAN I WEAR MY NOSE RING TO THE INTERVIEW?": Absolutely, but also, forget the numbers when you're job hunting. All you need is one job, the right job for you. And you have to prove to the employer that you have got the skills and you bring something extra to the table.

Foreign languages, knowledge of the competitor, you've done your homework and informational interviewing. So that you go in there, tailoring everything to show your value proposition and what you bring that other people don't bring.

ROMANS: One person, one job, a job market of one and you are the one candidate. That's a really good point, because I hear a lot of these job fairs, I've been sending out 50 resumes a day, applying online everywhere. You say you're wasting your time.

REEVES: Absolutely because you've got to stop looking for a job and start looking for a person. People hire people and so you've really got to convince them and know enough to show them. Again, you want to do the job.

You've got the confidence. You're going to radiate the confidence and the competence, because that's what employers are looking for. And it's so easy to feel vulnerable, not valuable, when you're in this job-hunting position.

ROMANS: You told me a line one time that I put in my book that I quote all of the time, which is the most important name on your cover letter is not yours, it's the name of the person you have in common with the hiring manager. And that is so true. You've got to be able to network here, too.

REEVES: That's it.

ROMANS: Let me ask you a little about what companies are looking for then. If you're polishing up this picture, you've got the degree. You're able to translate skills into these growing areas. How do you present that? What do companies want to see?

RUGE: Yes, you know, I think to Ellen's point, too, it is really presenting yourself in a very good light. And what companies do want to see today, not only that they have a great candidate with great skills. They really want to see someone too that is positive. That comes into the interview, has a great attitude --

ROMANS: The first line is not "I've been looking for a job for six months."

RUGE: Exactly and I think that what we see from our clients at Randstad when they're looking for different candidates, they are looking for people that are really going to make a difference within their organization.

They want someone that's going to bring a positive attitude to work. And unfortunately, there are some people that are negative, you know, they have been kind of beat up in this job market. Maybe they've been let go, they're still kind of down in the dumps.

And so, know, companies want to see that someone is coming in and that they are kind of bright-eyed and positive and they're going to make a contribution at their company.

ROMANS: Make sure that the gap is filled on that resume, something Ellen talks about a lot. But fill that gap on the resume with something. Don't show a six or eight-months nothing on that resume.

RUGE: Yes, so you have to be really honest on your resume. I think it's very important to lay that out. I mean, today with, you know, everything that's out there online, it's very easy for someone to see, you know, what someone has done from their resume and their background. So honesty is very important, but if there is a gap on the resume, show what you've done in that area. What have you done?

REEVES: Make something --

ROMANS: Exactly.

RUGE: Organizations --

ROMANS: Mind the gap.

REEVES: Mind the gap, yes. Take a course. You were studying for the course. You're always in the game. You're always perfecting your skills.

RUGE: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Do you think that people also have higher expectations? They have expectations from 2005 when they're looking for a job. They need to maybe think about being what's called a perma-lancer. And I know companies are taking on people on a contract basis. Do you need to take a little bit of a pay cut so you can just get in the door?

REEVES: Get your foot in the door any way you can, any kind of freelancing, anything to get experience. And once do you that, even if it's part time or if it's temp work, only temp in an industry you're interested in.

So that you develop a network of contacts, you have clients, you're inside the company and the industry that you want to be in. And then make sure, though, that you're not signing any contracts, even as a freelancer, that will impede your ability to get a -- I'm sorry, a full-time job. ROMANS: Joanie and Ellen, thank you so much. Have a great weekend, ladies.

All right $92,000 can buy you a lot of things. Why a quality education might not be one of them, next.


ROMANS: An American public school education is supposed to be the great equalizer, where anyone, regardless of background, can get a quality education. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, these programs aimed to help students succeed in all subjects.

Diane Ravitch says they are a failure. She is an education historian and the author of the book "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education."

Diane worked in the Department of Education under the first President Bush, was an early supporter of No Child Left Behind and Diane today, you're against it. Why?

DIANE RAVITCH, EDUCATION HISTORIAN: It failed. We've had 10 years of No Child Left Behind and it's hard to discern any progress. We've had constant testing of kids, we have charter schools. Milwaukee has had vouchers for 21 years. No one can claim success for any of these programs and yet now we're going to do more and more testing.

ROMANS: Race to the Top. That's -- this administration is pushing Race to the Top.

RAVITCH: Well, "Race to the Top" is actually just a rebranding of "No Child Left Behind." It's more testing and now the testing is going to focus not just on the students, but on grading teachers based on their student test scores.

This is totally wrong. There's a huge body of research that says that students are responsible for their scores. To test kids. They're not measures of teacher teachers' quality. So we'll be firing a lot of teachers.

We'll be closing a lot of schools and education will not be better, because education is not a race. Education is not about finding winners and losers. It's really about getting every child the opportunity to succeed.

ROMANS: But how are we supposed to know how well we're doing? I mean, how are we supposed to know how well teachers are doing and how well students are doing if we can't somehow qualify it?

RAVITCH: We have gone overboard with the quantification. Right now, there is a confusion between accountability and what instruction. I mean, the most important thing that happens in school is instruction.

Yet we are diverting more and more resources into testing and accountability. I just returned from Finland and in Finland, they never give a standardized test, ever, until the very last year of school and that's about applying to college.

But in the grades from the first year of school until the last year of school, there is no standardized test because the teachers are highly professional. They make up the test, and they know exactly how their kids are doing. And they make sure that they get the help they need.

ROMANS: It's very different in Finland, too. And I want to get your -- sort of your thoughts on what we can learn from Finland. Because Finland, you know, does very, very well on these -- these international rankings of science and reading and math.

And you point out that one out of 10 applicants for the teaching profession in Finland is actually accepted. It is a very competitive process to become a teacher there.

RAVITCH: Right. The Finnish government, this is not historic, but the Finnish government, they -- it hasn't always been this way. They started their reforms about 30 years ago, and they decided to focus on helping and improving and supporting and getting the best teachers.

Now, we're going about this process by saying, let's find teachers and fire them. Well, Finland didn't do that. Instead, they raised the entry level for getting into teaching. They made it very difficult to become a teacher.

And they now have 10, sometimes more than 10 applicants for every place. So they get the very best students and teachers are highly respected. They're treated as professionals.

And I've seen many teachers in America, by the way, teaching in very poor schools who are just as good as the Finnish teachers and yet teachers here are so disrespected.

ROMANS: You know, there are those reformers and some parents who would say the reason why there is that image problem for some is that bad teachers can't get run out of the system here. That the union protects bad teachers and so the competition to get in is because it's not the elite profession that it could and should be.

RAVITCH: Well, the only part of that that's correct is that the standards for entry are very, very low in this country. People are going into alternate routes and have very little teacher preparation or in the case, for example, of teach for America, they get only five weeks of training. In Finland, you cannot become a teacher --

ROMANS: Do they make more in Finland?

RAVITCH: Not in comparison to other salaries in the country. They're not paid wildly more. They don't have merit pay. They're paid more to do more, which is what teachers should be paid. In this country, 50 percent of the people who start teaching are gone within five years.

So it's not that we are not getting rid of teachers. We're bringing them in and throwing them out, bringing them in, throwing them out. Anyone who is hired who is a bad teacher should be removed. Anyone who is a bad teacher should have an opportunity to improve and then be told get out of the profession.

It's not that the unions are protecting them. It's that way in a right to work state and it's that way across the board, which is we don't have some vast army of people out there standing in line trying to be teachers, waiting for somebody to get out of wait.

We have a problem just getting teachers and what we should be doing is cultivating the best and helping the weaker teachers get better.

ROMANS: Let me ask you about spending then. How we do that within the constraints of the money we have. When you look at where the U.S. does rank very highly, it's in spending. We spend more than $90,000 per student between the ages of 6 and 15, only Switzerland spends more.

But teachers that I've spoken to, when I ask them on the ground, how do you fix things, do you need more money? They say, well, yes and no. I mean, we've got twice as much money per student today than they did in the 1970s and it doesn't look like politically there's more money coming.

RAVITCH: Well, a lot of the money -- almost all of the new money has gone into special education. We spend more on special education, way more than we did 30 and 40 years ago. We have -- we have students with immense problems who require more money.

The money is not going into teachers' salaries, because the average teacher's salary in this country is around $45,000 to $50,000. In most communities, that's not considered high income. So the money is not getting the classroom.

We have -- seem to have unlimited amounts of money for assessment and accountability. This country is now spending billions on testing. So I think we need to look hard at where the money is going, but I'm going to argue that we're not spending enough.

ROMANS: You are.

RAVITCH: I don't think we spend enough. Because when I -- thinking of what I've seen in the Finnish classrooms, where everyone has the arts, everyone has the opportunity to be in music and in art. And the teachers are -- have the resources they need. And yet I hear from teachers all of the time they have to pay for the basic supplies out of their own pocket and they're not overpaid.

ROMANS: Can a public school system today create another Steve Jobs, for example, someone we'd lionized this week for what he accomplished. Are we able at $90,000 per student from the ages of 6 to 15, are we creating that?

RAVITCH: No, absolutely not. We are so focused on standardized multiple choice testing that if Steve Jobs were in a school today, he would be told to choose one out of four boxes and get the right answer.

Whereas a Steve Jobs would say, whoa, what's the right question? And he's not -- he would not be permitted to do that. He would be told, pick a box of four. And we have a system started under No Child Left Behind and reinforced powerfully by Arne Duncan's "Race to the Top" to make standardized testing the measurable of all things.

The measure of children, the measure of teachers, the measure of schools, close schools, fire teachers, fire principals, destroy public education, all around these four boxes. Steve Jobs will not emerge from this system.

ROMANS: A passionate position that you hold. And you are very -- stick to your guns on it, Diane Ravitch, education historian and author of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System." Thank you. Nice to meet you today.

RAVITCH: Thank you for inviting me.

ROMANS: All right, Thomas Edison might be a thing of the past when it comes to getting our kids excited about technology. We're going to explain, next.


ROMANS: All right. For most kids, doing their algebra and chemistry homework is like eating Brussels sprouts. But subjects in the science technology, engineering and math fields, they are what will nourish this generation.

So how do we as parents and teachers get kids excited about the STEM field at an early age? Mario Armstrong is a digital lifestyle expert and the founder of He joins us from Baltimore. Welcome to the program.


ROMANS: I'm great. You know, you're working with Toshiba's STEMpowerment Project, going around the country, talking to parents, teachers and students. What do you hearing from them about why kids just aren't interested in the geeky fields?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, you know, it comes down to a couple things. Number one, stereotypes need to be diminished. They need to be destroyed. A lot of kids at very early ages are getting stereotypes of what science and tech looks like and that's bad.

Number two, lack of relatability. Kids can't seem to relate to technology the way it's being delivered in most cases. So we need to do better ways of connecting it, which this tour does.

Connecting it to their passions, if you can identify a kid's passion and then you can show them how and where technology plays a role in that, you'll find more kids interested in science and tech.

ROMANS: I don't know why it should be so hard because when you think about it. When we were in grade school, Steve Jobs was just kind of barely becoming an icon. The Mac and then was very big or the Apple 2E, right?


ROMANS: But when you think about STEM, I mean, it's people who are changing the world. It's their iPad, it's video games, it's web applications.

ARMSTRONG: That's right.

ROMANS: Things these kids are wired to at birth. So how do we connect to that?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, this is why I say we should be using popular technology, just like Steve's example here. I mean, he is legendary. He revolutionized industries, changed the music business, and changed the cellular phone business.

This guy had vision, and he is a true innovator. And so we need -- you know, many people will get mad at me by saying, we don't need to focus on Thomas Edison. I'm sorry. We don't.

I don't know a kid yet that I've gone to in the past two years that says to me, Mario, I want to grow up and be Thomas Edison.

ROMANS: He's my childhood hero, but I was an old lady when I was 10, so don't take that to mean anything. But what about teachers who say we don't have the time or the money to have this technology in the classroom?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, so number one, role models are key. So -- but the time and the money is an issue. Time, I'm not buying. Teachers, I understand, strapped. They do more than they are asked to do. I love them. I grew up in a teacher's household so I get it.

However, money, I get that, but time, you need to step the kids out of the classroom. And you need to push your schools and push the local community.

We don't see enough public/private partnerships where kids should be taking field trips to tech companies. Going to the zoo is cool, but going to a tech company is hotter.

ROMANS: You know, it's interesting. We spoke to Sal Kahn at the Kahn Academy last week. It's so inspiring on this stuff and he said it's a branding problem. It's not about learning how to speak the language anymore. It's how to speak code for the future.

ARMSTRONG: He's right.

ROMANS: Right? You say we need to ignite kids' passions in tech from, you know, from football to fashion, their STEM, right?

ARMSTRONG: That's right.

ROMANS: And sometimes kids need to understand that technology they have at home, they already understand it better than their parents do. So what's your advice to parents out there? ARMSTRONG: So really quickly, advice to parents is, do not be a dream- killer. You may have missed the tech curve and I get that, but it's your job to support your kid. Put them in programs like Explora Vision for a science awards or Intel Science competition or put them in robotics clubs, like First Robotics.

And then show them how popular technology, stuff like they use -- this is an Adidas tennis shoe, Christine. It's an intelligent shoe, though. Inside are sensors, a chip, a mother board. This is a computer in a shoe developed by Adidas engineers.

Get your kids thinking about engineering differently, people don't think, well, I could work for Adidas as an engineer. You know, when you talk about sound and music. Kids love these headphones. They see them everywhere. These (inaudible) headphones, but if you say to them, you know what?

What is sound engineering? Could you re-engineer those headphones? How would you design it? What would that mean? It opens a whole new discussion or lastly, if a kid is into fashion, don't talk to them about nanotechnology. They aren't going to hear you.

But if you say, look, there are smart shirts that are now computerized that have sensors in them that can read your pulse and give you other details about the wearer, that's nanotechnology inside of fashion. Now you have a student interested in Nano.

ROMANS: All right, I think we agree, Mario, that it's going to be STEM, STEM, STEM. What's going to drive jobs of the future? We have to do a better job of teaching it and parents need to encourage your schools, encourage your kids to embrace it. Mario Armstrong, thank you. Have a great weekend.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you. Dream, create, go!

ROMANS: I know. Don't be a dream killer mom and dad.

Twenty five percent of Americans cheat on their spouse financially. We look at why they're doing it and what will it do to relationships that's next.


ROMANS: One in four, that's how many couples would not tell their spouse of their financial difficulties. According to a new survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling that's cheating, right, financial cheating? So are money worries wearing on your relationship?

Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist who specializes in relationships. We know, Gail. Good morning.


ROMANS: We know that money tops the list of things that people argue about. It tops the list of stresses that can cause a divorce. What's the problem here? Why can't people get over these money problems? Why are they cheating on each other financially?

SALTZ: Because money represents power. It's more than just the dollars, it's who has control in the relationship. It's what it represents to the individuals, which usually comes from their family of origin how they've managed money and how they thought of it.

And then how they relate to each other as a couple. So it means much more than it appears to on the surface and that's why people do crazy things about money. Whether it's cheating and hiding things from each other, hiding debts that they have.

ROMANS: It's the craziest thing you've ever seen somebody do.

SALTZ: There really is hiding bankruptcy, hiding - tens of thousands of dollars of debts, hiding children that they're providing for. I mean, you know, really crazy thing. But the thing is that if people understood how irrational this is in the sense that ultimately it causes the downfall of the relationship, which by the way causes them much more financial stress. I mean, when you get a divorce you lose like 60 percent of your income?

ROMANS: How do you work on budgets? If one is a saver, one is a spender, how do you get over those?

SALTZ: Well, I would say what's really important is that you're having meetings, where you're sitting on and talking about what the budget will be. I recommend you don't do this in the bedroom -- or like being with each other and then they start to talk about this and then they are - then you got now the problem of money and sex.

So sit in your kitchen, have a cut out time. The kids aren't going to be with you and talk about the fact that you have to have a budget and what each of you foresees tomorrow, six months from now, any year from now and you both understand what's going on.

ROMANS: It has to be a running conversation too. I mean, I have found it has to be a running conversation because you only bring it up when something big happens like a credit bill. You're trying to refinance the house. It's very stressful.

SALTZ: It's so emotional then at that moment and --

ROMANS: It's very, very difficult.

SALTZ: But if you decide like if this happens, how would we handle it when it's not happening? Then you refer back to that and have a logical discussion.

ROMANS: Thank you very much. Nice to meet you.

SALTZ: My pleasure.

ROMANS: All right, that's going to wrap things up for us this morning.

This conversation continues online. Please find me on Facebook or Twitter. Our handle is cnnbottomline. You can also find me at christineromans.

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