More on Jobs + entrepreneurship

I wrote about jobs in the job creators post and my state of elem. econ post. Here’s what I’m continuing to think about;

 I think classroom jobs (community-builders?) done right (or better) could likely foster a sense of belonging, affiliation and purpose. A job could be a way for a student to have a concrete, clearly defined role within the classroom community and a way to feel a sense of accomplishment and civic responsibility.

Paid classroom jobs can backfire on you because payment actually sends the message that doing the task is optional because it’s premised on kid wanting to get paid and wanting what you’re selling.

Maybe a better way is to recognize and celebrate interdependence community accomplishments (how well have we done this week? Has our community climate improved? Who do you want to recognize this week?). Some of these roles might be a better way to cultivate students’ talents and send the message that ‘we count on you, we need you, you are indispensable–HhG-ehMm03DfRiDBTQ1GREDGq_ss

Something else I worry about is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is all the rage in both society and K-12 econ. Just as “job creator” rhetoric overtook employer, entrepreneur has overtaken employee. Now, it’s not cool to be an employee, you have to be an “independent contractor.” People are lured in by promises of freedom. They’re told they will work on their own terms. This is what I call predatory entrepreneurship.

In California Proposition 22 is on the ballot. This would exempt companies like Lyft and Uber from classifying drivers as employees. To be an employee means to have a binding relationship with an employer. An employer might be compelled to provide benefits and health insurance to its employees. Independent contractors have to work it out on their own. It means exposing workers to more precarity, more debt, more risk and less reward.

I am currently working on a paper that I hope will help teachers help kids evaluate this rhetoric. In addition to being consumers of goods and services, we are consumers of economic and political promises so that they are less likely to be taken in.

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