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Disappearing Education Jobs; Is America's Prosperity in Jeopardy?

Aired April 21, 2012 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Education jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate. Are your kids and America's prosperity in jeopardy? Good morning I'm Christine Romans.

More than 100,000 education layoffs in each of the last two school years, this at the time when there's no reduction in the amount of students who desperately need good teachers to compete with the rest of the world. Our public school model is K-12. But I like to say it really should be "crawl through 12."

The earlier we invest in kids the more we save later. But shrinking budgets have slowed or even stopped public, pre-kindergarten programs in some states. As a result many 3 and 4 years olds aren't going to preschool and they should be.

Studies show a poor child who has not attended a quality preschool, enters kindergarten 18 months behind their peers. You can see that whether it's regarding math or general knowledge, children of the wealthiest families are at the top and those lines representing cognitive test scores trend down as you go down the economic ladder. What's worst?

Many never catch up. Research shows the more likely to need special education services and to dropout. The bottom line science tells us we have to invest in kids early, the math -- the local, state and federal level says cut, cut, cut.

Christopher Metzler is the Senior Associate Dean of Georgetown University School of continuing studies and a conservative commentator. Sam Chaltain is a former New York City school teacher and education activist. Welcome to both of you this morning.


ROMANS: Chris, let's start with politics. I mean how would Governor Romney improve education for those who can afford pre-school and private tutors so we could close this readiness gap between the wealthiest families and everyone else?

METZLER: Well, I -- I -- think that Governor Romney would do a couple of things. First and foremost I don't think that the issue really is how much money. I think the issue is -- is the money being used appropriately? We look at schools for example in Columbia County for now where you've got 250,000 text books that were published that can't now be used because there are not politically correct enough. And so I think what the Governor's gonna do is to look this whole idea. Let's keep in mind that federal government is not an uber state.

The federal government really should give this responsibility back to the state, shrink to Department of Education and have it focus on those things that are the most efficient. And unfortunately education is not a "sacred cow." And I think as we keep hearing cut, cut, cut, education is not a sacred cow and that's where we have to start.

ROMANS: And I think that's a good point and I want to be very clear that I don't use the word spend and invest interchangeably because they're not...

METZLER: Absolutely.

ROMANS: ... exactly the same word. And we know we're spending a lot in education but how are we making those investments and making show those investments payoff because...

METZLER: Exactly.

ROMANS: ... the early childhood education post portion of this is so critical. I mean if you invest the dollar, the right dollar early on, you are saving many, many more of those dollars later on.


ROMANS: You know, Sam, I know you disagree with Chris but President Obama has been in the office more than three years now. Where is the evidence that he is improving education in this country?

SAM CHALTAIN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL TEACHER AND EDUCATION ACTIVIST: I don't know that you can point to a ton of evidence that suggests that. And I think that part of it is because both parties fail to understand what's most essential in order to transfer in the state of teaching and learning from what it currently is, to what it opt to be in the future. And there's president for this and actually these budgetary debates are almost history repeating itself.

The last time we made a major investment in federal education was in 1950s and '60s. It's no coincidence that we became the international world leader in education sooner or after. And it may be hard to believe but in the mid-1970s the college-going rates of African- American, Hispanics, and white kids were equivalent.

Then we slashed funding in the '80s and now we find ourselves in a situation where, as Chris says, education is not a sacred cow even though I can't think of a single institution more vital to our short term and long term national security and economic and social prosperity.

ROMANS: I wonder if you agree that -- that this should be a state focus, more of a state focus endeavor and that the Department of Education could be smaller and more efficient?

CHALTAIN: I do think that what does federal government needs to get out of, is the compliance and control regulatory approach. One of the challenges that the United States is we act to all and try to strike this delicate balance between share and simple structures that we only empower people to do their best work and freedom for states to be innovative. So that's clearly an essential part of what we need to be doing.

But what I would like to see is that all governments do is just two things really well: Ensure equality of opportunity to learn because the reality is there are very serious economic differences across our states...

ROMANS: Uh-hmm.

CHALTAIN: ... and invest deeply on a one resource that everyone will agree is the most essential for the long term vitality of public education and that's the quality of our teacher.

ROMANS: Thanks, gentlemen.

METZLER: Take care.

ROMANS: Coming up next is the time to tune out the politicians when it comes to a woman's role in the economy. Our next guest tells us why women will rock this recovery; and why do some mothers going back to work this doesn't pay. We meet one woman who's struggling between wanting to work and (inaudible) tells you.



ROMANS: Hundreds of thousands of women are dropping out of the workforce. For some it's a choice to raise children. But increasingly it's because they can't afford to work.

The cost of two children in childcare now exceeds the median annual rent in every state. That's the statistic according to Child Care Aware of America. Add in higher gas prices, student loan payments, stagnant earnings and you can see the world to Jennifer Nevadomski's eyes.

Life is the ultimate balancing act for this mother of four, playtime, laundry, homework, cooking. Jennifer Nevadomski is a former full-time social worker turned stay-at-home mom. The reason, money.


ROMANS: Four years ago Nevadomski and her husband crunched the numbers, top of the list daycare for three kids. Thirty-thousand dollars a year, for full-time job only paid 45,000 so she quit.

NEVADOMSKI: For me to use up three-quarters of my salary on daycare and commuting and lunches and all of that didn't really make much sense.

ROMANS: There's also the matter of her $1100 a month student loan payment, deferred now that she's home with her children. With her husband's salary of $70,000 a year and money she earns from private counseling and blogging, they get by; cutting back on clothes, toys, or even food.

NEVADOMSKI: We try to not buy as many snacks as I would ordinarily. The healthy snacks even are outrageously priced so it's all gonna be budgeted.

ROMANS: Forget about savings for college. The family budget and nerves are strained.

NEVADOMSKI: Every day you worry about the future and how much longer could we keep this up.

ROMANS: For now, Nevadomski is enjoying watching her children grow up but she misses her social work career.

NEVADOMSKI: You get fulfillment as a mom. It's the best job in the whole wide world. When your kids say "I love you" or "thank you, mom" or -- but there comes a different fulfillment when you're recognized for something amongst peers and other adults.

You know it's to be able to contribute to society to help other people is important.

ROMANS: The numbers show women are dropping out of the workforce and (droves). The government says 177,000 women left in March either to layoffs, dismissals, or voluntary exits. And it's the lowest participation rate of women in the workforce since 1993.

And then there's this counter narrative though that women are rocking the economic recovery. By the year 2030 a majority of working women will out-earn their husband. If current trends continue and women have a lower unemployment rate then, 8.1 percent compared to 8.3 percent for men and 8.2 percent overall.

Rick Newman is the chief business correspondent for US News and World Report and Nell Merlino is the Founder and President of Count Me In for Women Economic Independency, also known for her for something called "Take Our Daughters to Work Day," she's the founder of that. Nice to see both of you.


ROMANS: You wrote an article called you know rocking the recovery, women are rocking the recovery, what areas are they rocking?

NEWMAN: Well, there's no single narrative that describes the entire experience of women in this economy, a lot of things are going on. But we've heard about you know women having losing all these jobs under President Obama. That is technically true if you slice the data in such a way that Romney campaign did. But that really misrepresent with how things women in the workforce. They now account for the majority of bachelor's degrees and most advanced degrees.

ROMANS: Right.

NEWMAN: Those proportions are expected to go up in the future not down. We know that there's a pay debt between many women but that has been closing. And women are in the right field. They are in the fields that are most likely to grow in the future...

ROMANS: Health care?

NEWMAN: Health care in particular, other -- they are more represented in things like accounting and more professional fields. So overall that's a good story for women. That means pay will go up. Women are expected to become more of an economic power than they are now and control more spending positions.

ROMANS: So good, we're going the right direction I know.

NELL MERLINO, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF COUNT ME IN FOR WOMEN ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCY, "TAKE OUR DAUGHTERS TO WORK DAY,": Right now women are going in the right direction. You know the average earnings for women still in this -- in 2012 is $36,000 a year so there's a real challenge to...

ROMANS: And that's why somebody is willing to dropping out...


ROMANS: ... because they look at chosen fields that are going to give them more flexibility, right? But with that flexibility, comes student loans and less large in for error when health care costs go up, rents go up the like.

MERLINO: I think child care continues to be a challenge for way to many women. We have an -- had a descent care of child for piece care legislations in 40 years. I think that's why we see so many of them starting their own businesses because there is the opportunity for that flexibility and depending on the kind of business they setup they can make a lot more money.

I think that's a big attraction to entrepreneurship for that reason and I think that's where you really gonna see this combination of women having higher education and then really being able to rock the economy in terms of growing their own business.

ROMANS: How many of those of your responses to something uhmm - that the COO of Facebook recently says Sheryl Sandberg talked about how woman is rocking the economy, rocking in recovery. She's got one of this kind of (discovered) job in corporate America. She's I think she's 43 years old.

She (inaudible) at -- she's made this kick of you know family and career. And she leaves work at 5:30 in the afternoon now but it's only recently began to talk about it and admit it listen:

SHERYL SANDBERG, COO OF FACEBOOK: I came earlier to make sure they found my e-mail at 5:30. Stay up later to make sure they found my e- mail's late. But I think now I'm much more confident and so I'm more confident in where I am and so I'm able to say "Hey, I am leaving work at 5:30."

ROMANS: Is she squinting a little bit?

MERLINO: You know, I'm very glad that she has the opportunity to do that. I think, we knew her on top of the company when you're your own boss so you're close to the boss so those are kinds of things you can negotiate. I think one of the things, I hope, Sheryl does is make that possible for every parents that work at Facebook that they all can leave at 5:30 if they want.

I think the challenge is often the opportunities and privileges that come with leadership stay with leaders.

NEWMAN: Instead of saying and having it survived, we can all look at women doing this. We should have men saying this too and they do. Men actually do leave at 5:30 to go to soccer games and things like that.

I don't think it's new, it's when they do that but maybe they should be.

ROMANS: All right thanks folks. It's very nice to see both of you right now. What is my view rocking the recovery but if you listen to the most prominent voice of the woman's rights movements that might not be something to celebrate just yet.

GLORIA STEINEM, IN HER OWN WORDS: susan B. Anthony, that our job is not to make young women grateful. It is to make them ungrateful so they keep going.

ROMANS: That's a clip from the HBO documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words. Gloria Steinem joins me next.



ROMANS: We wouldn't be talking about women in this economy growing their businesses. But we have gonna speak on leaders of the women's rights movement of the 1970s. And we can't talk about that movement without mentioning one iconic figure Gloria Steinem.

She's (lead a cause) as a journalist and author and activist and she joins me now. Welcome to the program, nice to meet you.

STEINEM: Nice to meet you, thank you.

ROMANS: Let's talk about politics because we're watching in this primary season as we're getting into way in the generalized (hand) this more for the women's vote. There was a day when the women's vote may be of a little of element. Suddenly everyone wants to be out there saying "I'm better for women and for the economy for women."

When you see this to be happening on the campaign show, what do you think?

STEINEM: Well, it's satisfying in the sense that now we know that gender gap is huge and important, that's crucial. But it's alarming it's because one of our two great political parties is anti- all of the rights that we have gained whether it's reproductive freedom as a fundamental right.

ROMANS: And you're saying the Republican party is anti-...

STEINEM: Actually, it's not Republicans who also don't agree with the party platform. It's the many -- in many cases former Democrats very extremist right wing folks who have taken over the Republican Party. So no more (Ric) Nixon got nominated, no more (Crunch) Goldwater who was pro-choice.

You know it has become very extreme especially on the issues of women and that's alarming to me because if people got mad at one party they unthinkingly vote for the other. So I'm hoping real Republicans will take their party back.

ROMANS: So you believe that there has been this war on women with the Republican Party?

STEINEM: Yes, absolutely.

ROMANS: You believe on that?

STEINEM: No, I mean there was a brilliant book written called the "Republican War on Women" in the '70s. I mean because ever since the right wing took over they started taking over the party and this has been a problem. We can't afford to have one of our two parties so far off into the extreme right.

ROMANS: Are you satisfied with what the other party has been doing? I mean you were a supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2008 and you are a supporter of this President and do you think he has done enough?

STEINEM: Well, you know nobody has done enough but I think -- but I think that it is a part of his consciousness, I think, he has a good heart and a good mind. But the problem is that if one party is extreme and drags the other one along with it.

ROMANS: Something is interesting coming out of this recession is that the hierarchy developing within women. On one hand you have women, a majority of women, will out-earn their husbands by 2030, right? So that's the one narrative.

The other narrative is hundreds of thousands of women are dropping out the word "worth," because they can't afford to do everything -- gas, rent, student loans, their own student loans and also pay for child care. So there's this interesting hierarchy developing within women right now... STEINEM: But there's got a hierarchy within women. It happens that we are in the only advanced democracy in the world without a national system of child care without the national system really of health care yet without family-friendly work policy so the parents, both parents men and women of the young children can have children and also be on the workforce. I mean I think it's dangerous to say it's a hierarchy among women because that seems to say women are not opposed to each other.

ROMANS: Right.

STEINEM: We live in a country that behaves as if people don't have children's look. If we could have equal pay in this country, the poverty rate would be cut in half. There would be $200 billion more circulating in the economy. I mean...

ROMANS: I don't -- we have equal pay. I mean within -- as long as I live (inaudible) and if you can be someone else...

STEINEM: In (seven) years we've moved (14 cents). You know the reason we don't have...

ROMANS: Don't spend it all at one point ladies.

STEINEM:... it's because of large corporations are using women as a chief labor force.

ROMANS: They think women don't negotiate for themselves the way man do?

STEINEM: Yes, well that's true too. I mean we have to look into ourselves and see you know that we -- because we've been trained to be feminine are not as demanding or is up for conflict or whatever and then are not as (concern). You know we all have to humanize ourselves.

But the structure itself is devoted to using women as a chief labor force. And if you look at equity not just income, it gets much worse, much worse. I mean there is much more of a division but the idea - then on parents too.

ROMAN: Right.

STEINEM: And then also deserves family-friendly work policies.

ROMANS: What responsibility do you think that generation next women have in particular right now? Because they are hitting the sweet side of you know being the most productive at home and be most productive at work, right now but they're 35 to 45 years old and they're hitting this drive. And I'm gonna speak for myself this age some of them are pretty tight.

You know having it all is tiring. What role do generation of next women right now have to take the ball forward?

STEINEM: Mad. ROMANS: Get mad.

STEINEM: Get mad and say wait a minute how come we don't have you know like we're behind Canada, we're behind every European country. You know we're doing something socially useful when we have children. So we need...

ROMANS: There's more work to be done at that time?

STEINEM: No, what we need...

ROMANS: to be satisfied...

STEINEM: Don't be -- no we need to look at policy and stop turning inward and saying it's my fault how or why I can't do this and why is it right and make some reasonable policies that exist in every other modern democracy.

ROMANS: Gloria Steinem, thank you. Nice to meet you.

STEINEM: Nice to meet you thank you.

ROMANS: What's the better investment one share a battle the hottest stock out there or spreading your $600 over different stocks? We're gonna tell you the answer next here on "Your Bottom Line."



ROMANS: People are making money with money, are you? Is it time to buy seller hold stock? Should you be investing right now?

In case you missed it, 2012 has been a very good year. The S&P 500 is at more than 10 percent. Apple is a big part of that rise of the big conversation amongst people in the stock market today.

Can stock keep moving up and if so what should you buy? Let's ask our resident stock market guru Matt McCall. He is the President of Penn Financial Group so the quote/unquote Smart Money and couple of Head Spun managers told me, you know (If there's) a big rise and they would want to be buying stocks here right now, but if you wait this you're uncomfortable to get in the stock market, you will wait forever.

MATT MCCALL, PRESIDENT OF PENN FINANCIAL GROUP: Then I guess you would call me dumb money. (Inaudible) put money stock market only fullback.

ROMANS: We would not call you (inaudible) or -- we wouldn't have you here but do you think that gets me buy stocks there?

MCCALL: I really do. You have to think and sit back and ask yourself, you want to be in the stock market, when I ask that question. I don't mean to say tomorrow or next week.

You can think for the long-term. Do you want to invest in the stock market for your future? If your answer is yes, you want to be in stock now.

You look at valuation. Valuation rate right now, the S&P 500 Review at stock market is still extremely attracted. The rate that we've doubled (from the road) going back to 2008, we could have a 5- to 10 percent fullback.

But if again you're investing for a long-term, you want to start putting money in the market if you're not in now; if you are in hold, steady.

ROMANS: So it's not -- the stock market goes down in the near term, you're saying that's good for you. That means if you're just getting in, you're getting lower prices with the goal, of course, is to buy low and sell high.

MCCALL: Yes, I mean if you're basically you're investor is looking long term you want to buy on its fullback...

ROMANS: My crystal ball never quite manage overtime in market perfectly. You like some sector, you like technology, energy, consumer staples?

MCCALL: I discovered a little bit of everything. I like energy as I believe oil is continuing to move higher. I think the problem is going (high runs) and continue that's gonna keep oil high and the energy stock should do well.

Technology (add) value is very low right now but that's kinda really good 2012. Apple has been a good mover with that of NASDAQ. And the consumer staple (kinda meet along) on the other end of spectrum.

So it's gonna be everything that we need from Procter & Gamble, some of the other products that we're gonna buy regardless of how good the economy is doing.

ROMANS: You like Apple here? I mean (inaudible) tax refund I think it's $2800 almost, right? So say you got some play money, there's no such thing, but you know what I mean?


ROMANS: Do you buy $600 of Apple or you spread it out over a lot of different stocks?

MCCALL: It's a tough, tough question. I own Apple for my clients. I love Apple here. I think $1000 stock in two years now...

ROMANS: Really?

MCCALL: Another 67 percent you've got...

ROMANS: And then they gonna pay you back a little money now and they give a dividend (inaudible)

MCCALL: Exactly -- I love the stock, I really do. I think it's how to fight that but it's how to tell the individual investor out there to put all your money in one stock. If you put in a hundred, 600 Apple, yes then spread the rest they get a little bit diversified.

ROMANS: And that brings me asset allocation an aggressive investor, this is what it looks like an aggressive investor, she has 10 percent enough, (16 combined) 10 percent cash almost the rest in stock. The moderate investor is he starts to have a little less stock and then we have conservative investor which is basically what I am overtime.

MCCALL: That really depends who you are, how old you are, what your risk level is. And even if you're in your 20s and 30s that you can handle the data that involved to the market. You probably have to look it moderately.

You should be aggressive so you uprise a little bit moderate, conservative just takes a sleep at night.

ROMANS: Matt McCall, nice to see you. Have a nice weekend. All right people with money or making money (know you've earned.)

Everything we've heard today reinforces American device -- a house and a good school that would cost $200,000 more; science tells you need a quality education for your children but the mass tells us we can't afford it. Where does this all lead families? Tell us what you think find us on Facebook and Twitter @cnnbottomline and @christineromans. Back now to CNN Saturday for the latest headlines. Have a great weekend.