Toyota to build plant in Canada, workers in US illiterate

Ugg

macrumors 68000
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The factory will cost $800 million to build, with the federal and provincial governments kicking in $125 million of that to help cover research, training and infrastructure costs.

Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
The following map shows a pretty clear lack of education in the red states.
 

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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
EDIT: Weird...how did I end up with two posts? :(

Ontario does have an excellent automotive workforce. I wonder if this kind of issue is one of the unspoken reasons why Nissan's quality suffered so much when they first started investing heavily in plants in the US? Then again, Toyota and Honda have excellent quality in plants in the US....

But, the government of any state that lost out on this contract because their people are illiterate should spend a good two hours being ashamed of themselves and then a good two months coming up with a real plan to fix the problem.
 

Ugg

macrumors 68000
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An interesting anomaly with the map is North Dakota, the place of my birth. They have a good education system but the population is older than the average of other states and fewer children are being born there than the average of all other states. They also have the lowest highschool dropout rate.

Link
 

ham_man

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2005
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Yea, and 3 out of 4 of my grandparents never got past the 9th grade. They are all successful farmers (if that is possible). I don't know why liberals keep calling the red states stupid illiterate fools. Ain't like it is going to win any voters over...

Oh, and one more thing, is this the voting age population that voted in the 2004 election? Would really like to know...
 

Ugg

macrumors 68000
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Apr 7, 2003
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ham_man said:
Yea, and 3 out of 4 of my grandparents never got past the 9th grade. They are all successful farmers (if that is possible). I don't know why liberals keep calling the red states stupid illiterate fools. Ain't like it is going to win any voters over...

Oh, and one more thing, is this the voting age population that voted in the 2004 election? Would really like to know...
Your grandparents, like mine, were successful in part due to massive government farm subsidies. Business success and literacy don't necessarily go hand in hand but literacy is essential in a country like ours as ability to read in the age of the internet is essential. I don't know where you're from, but in ND and MT, reading for pleasure or for knowledge trails TV by a massive percentage. Perhaps it's because schools in many red states are less about education and more about propaganda.

The map came from
here , it's a GIS company but they don't show their sources. There are some other maps showing distribution of those with higher degrees, etc. and there's a direct correlation between most red states and lack of education of any kind.
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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And I've never understood why conservatives try to win liberal voters over with the 'elitist' or 'traitorous' comments. Ain't like it's gonna win any voters over. ;)
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
mactastic said:
And I've never understood why conservatives try to win liberal voters over with the 'elitist' or 'traitorous' comments. Ain't like it's gonna win any voters over. ;)
See, that's the key difference. Liberals want conservatives to see the light. Conservatives want liberals dead. :p :eek: :D
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
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Toyota is not alone when it comes to finding the skill level of American workers lacking. Bill Gates has been speaking out against the shoddiness of the education system for a while now too. Not only that, but Bill has been pushing for a relaxation of requirements to bring in more skilled technology workers.

I am not sure exactly what happened to the education system in this country, but on one hand you have the Democrats who feel the education system is woefully underfunded and on the other you have the conservatives who want privatized education.

Either way, the system is failing in a number of areas. The lack of attention paid to this trend seems criminal. I have some major objections to privatized education as it allows the curriculum to potentially fall into the hands of a corporate minority, which would no doubt shape what is taught to suit their own needs.

At the same time, people need to become more involved with what is happening to the public education system because it is in trouble and is producing unproductive graduates.

Toyota chose Canada in lieu of substantial financial inventive and chose a country that also has a public education system. So I don't think that it is the public education system that is to blame. Maybe the reasons behind why the public education system in this country is lacking need to be examined. In the long term, it is far more beneficial for the public to be able to have a say in what is taught, which would be a lot harder if you had to deal with a private entity that has cornered the market.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
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If Carter had only listened to Pat Schroeder (never thought I would be on her side on an issue, never say never.)
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THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

When the Department of Education (DoEd) was created in 1979, a Washington Post editorial stated, "The creation of this department is a response by both the President [Carter] and the Congress, to one specific organization, the National Education Association." Former Representative Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) warned, "No matter what anyone says, the Department of Education will not just write checks to local school boards. They will meddle in everything. I do not want that."

In 1993, best-selling author Martin Gross verified these predictions. Gross said the DoEd was "not a tragedy waiting to happen. It has already happened. Despite the fact that it will spend $37 billion this year, it has the honor of not educating one child." Standardized test scores provide evidence to support this claim. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and ACT Assessment scores are significantly lower today than they were 30 years ago – before the creation of DoEd. In addition, the average amount spent on each public school student has skyrocketed. In 1965, the average SAT score was 980 and slightly less than $3,000 was spent per student. More than 30 years later, the average SAT score is 910 and about $6,500 is spent per pupil.

DoEd's first budget was $14 billion and the department employed 450 people. By fiscal 2000, the budget had ballooned to more than $32 billion. The fiscal 2001 budget estimate is more than $43 billion, a 33 percent increase from the previous year. The department now employs more than 4,800 people, a 966 percent increase from 1979, yet DoEd spending for public schools accounts for less than 6 percent of total education spending. There are currently 780 education programs spread throughout 39 federal agencies, costing taxpayers $100 billion annually.

Despite the federal government's well-intentioned intervention, Americans are losing the education race. National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests show that average reading scores for high school students over 20 years have improved only one point, from 286 to 287 out of a possible 500. Writing scores during the same period, on the same scale, fell seven points from 290 to 283. On a standard percentile scale (where students answering 60 percent of the questions correctly receive passing grades) these reading and writing scores would receive failing grades. The scores have real-life consequences. Only 40 percent of American 12th graders are reading proficient. The other 60 percent of American students will find it difficult to hold jobs or attend college after graduation.

A recent study showed that although DoEd spent $15 billion in 1996 on elementary and secondary education, $3 billion went for purposes other than the needs of school districts. Various audits across the country have estimated that as little as 26 percent of DoEd funds are spent in the classroom. In a 1993 survey of small schools in Ohio, then-Governor George Voinovich (R) noted that as many as 170 federal reports totaling more than 700 pages must be filed by school officials each year. These reports comprise 55 percent of all school district paperwork. The Ohio survey illustrates the excessive spending for administrative activities required by DoEd.

Any education reform must shift control from Washington to the states and parents. Block grants, charter schools and vouchers are the most effective ways to accomplish such a shift.

Block grants, which have been introduced by members of both chambers of Congress, would send money back to the states with the guarantee that at least 95 percent of the money would reach the classroom. This method would surely improve education in states such as Nevada, where only 41 percent of education tax dollars actually make it to the students. Block grants would also guarantee that tailor-made solutions could be carried out by local education officials without Washington's over-regulating influence.

Charter schools also shift power into local hands. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are privately administered. Charter signatories vary – a group of parents or a private corporation could run the school. It is up to the signatory to design and administer the curriculum. A Hudson Institute study found that charter schools work well for students who have gotten off to a slow start. Of those charter school students for whom truancy and bad report cards were once the norm, nearly half are now receiving "excellent" or "above average" marks. Charter schools, while not completely free from the regulatory arm of the federal government, provide students and parents with more choices and better results.

Educational vouchers allow students the freedom to choose their own public, private or parochial school. In 1998, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a pilot voucher program that allowed disadvantaged youths to attend parochial schools. The ruling stated that when parents control public funds, the primary beneficiary is not the school, but the child. This ruling illustrates the importance of vouchers and allows some Wisconsin parents the right to choose what is best for their children. However, all news about vouchers is not good. Federal judges have struck down similar programs in Florida and Ohio showing, once again, that while many parents and taxpayers are trying to break free of the status quo, the regulatory establishment refuses to let them go.

A majority of parents support school choice. A 1999 Phi Delta Kappa study showed that 60 percent of public school parents support school choice. Sen. John Kerry (D–Mass.), a supporter of school choice, said, "Shame on us for not realizing that there are parents in this country who...support vouchers not because they are enamored with private schools but because they want a choice for their children. They want alternatives, and seeing none in our rigid system, they are willing and some, even desperate, to look elsewhere."

American children are caught in an educational system that perpetuates waste and fails to educate. Freedom from the monolithic bureaucracy of DoEd and returning choice to local communities will help the United States be more competitive in the education race. A 1998 report published by Harvard University shows that low-income recipients of New York School Choice scholarships scored higher on math and reading tests after just one year. This figure shines in comparison to the NAEP scores mentioned earlier, where it took students 20 years to improve their average reading scores by just one point. Even a child can see that choice equals results. Now it is time for the federal government to learn that lesson.

The first step in making sure that our children receive an appropriate education is to ensure that the American people are properly educated about the status of today's education system and the harm being caused by the federal government's regulations and involvement.
Link
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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Let's see, Canada legalizes gay marriage, Toyota builds assembly plant in Canada.

So that means Toyota is a gay company. Right?
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
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LaLaLand, CA
People seem to be skipping over the other important part, Canada having government funded medical care. Both of my parents are teachers, and I can see first hand how bad our schools are getting. I just don't think vouchers are going to change that. How does that help the public schools by taking even more much needed money away to send them to schools like the one my Cousin's Daughter goes? It's a religious school, and her grades suddenly shot up. Not because she's doing so much better, but because, according to what we've seen of the curriculum, it's just that much easier. I would worry for her, as she is not being prepared much for the real world. But then, neither would she be at public school, because they seem to be focused too much on self-esteem. :rolleyes:

Both sides are wrong on these issues... what else is new.
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
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toronto
Xtremehkr said:
I am not sure exactly what happened to the education system in this country
i'm not sure anything "happened" to it, i think it's (d)evolved to something that reflects society. something that values conformity and might over intelligence.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
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Palookaville
If you want to know what's happened or is happening our educational system, look no further than Kansas, where the teaching of science is being outlawed. Have I overstated the case? I think not. The rest of the world laughs at us when we force religiously-inspired pseudoscience on our children. Now we are reaping the benefits of enforced ignorance.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
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"Ontario workers are well-trained." Yeah, GM and FoMoCo trained them. And we all know that organizations would never take a gratuitous shot at any aspect of the US, such as education or health care...

I note that the new Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas, will be coming on line soon. 1,500 local-hire jobs, per the San Antonio Express.

An article in Consumer Reports, back in the 1980s, commented that US-made Hondas had fewer dealer comebacks for warranty work than those made in Japan. I grant that Hondas in general were/are among the best in quality control and reliability, from my own repair work on them.

It's a matter of common knowlege throughout the world of indpendent garages that full-size American cars are less costly to maintain for the third and fourth owners than are the smaller foreign cars. Toyotas with the 22R motor are among the best of all foreign cars/trucks, for that po'-boy owner.

I come from a school-teacher family. My grandfather taught school from 1905 until 1955. At one time he was national secretary of the NEA. My grandmother for many years taught in elementary school; my mother taught Psychology at the University of Texas until her Fulbright days and then CIA work in the 1950s. I graduated from high school in 1951. After some years in the Army, I finished my 144 hours of engineering in 1962. My kid started elementary school in 1969 and graduated in 1981.

Comparing curricula over time, I've watched the ongoing decline in the quality of US education become even worse as the amount of federal involvement has grown. (Even in the late 1930s it was known there were problems in the way we administered the public schools.) Kinda hard to make me believe there is no causal relationship.

'Rat
 

mactastic

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Hmm... I've noticed a decline in quality of education as the buying power of a teachers salary has gone down. Kinda hard not to draw causal relationships there either.

Who'd wanna work for a Fortune 500 company that demanded it's employees become 'highly qualified' yet provided no incentives for advanced degrees? What if said corporation then implemented strict accountability measures and demanded extra-curricular hours for a tiny stipend. And further that they wanted you to provide anything you need beyond the desk and computer you sit at. All for no pay increase. How deep would the hiring pool be?
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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At least they didn't say that the Americans in those two states are usually too drunk to work in those factories.

And that every time they see a chunk of aluminum roll down the line they keep trying to pop the tab and drink the beer. :eek:

Alabama and rednecks, what they do for America...
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
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Gone but not forgotten.
Wasn't Toyota's first factory, for Camry, built near London, Kentucky? Isn't that in the heart of that very, very dark area on that map? :D

While I lived in Indiana and Ohio, people would make fun of Kentucky but I couldn't imagine that it would be so bad.

Perhaps, rather than relocating factories, manufacturers should also provide local instructors to teach the three Rs.
 

roadapple

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2004
219
0
Here is a map of Canada's education levels. The shaded areas are the Proportion of high school graduates (age 25-29) in 1996:

Dark Orange - 75-84%
Orange - 65-74.9%
Light Orange - 55-64.9%

Maybe someone can find a better map, but here is this link

I have worked in the Toyota plant in Indiana, Nissan in Mississippi and Honda in Alabama, along with Honda and Big Two plants in the midwest. There is a significant difference in the skill level of low level employees from north to south. However there is also a significant payrate difference. Maybe Toyota is realizing that building outside of the rust belt has it's difficulties, but because of healthcare costs has found a solution outside the US in Canada.

Maybe lower Ontario should form the 51'st state, or Michigan's eastern peninsula?
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
bousozoku said:
Wasn't Toyota's first factory, for Camry, built near London, Kentucky? Isn't that in the heart of that very, very dark area on that map? :D

While I lived in Indiana and Ohio, people would make fun of Kentucky but I couldn't imagine that it would be so bad.
The jokes were always there, and it was true to a point outside the cities.

But a friend I had got a job at a technical trade school in Kentucky (or was it Indiana) bringing people up to speed on the skills necessary for a line job.

One of the lessons he taught was teaching people how to use a four function calculator. :(
 

Lyle

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2003
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Madison, Alabama
Desertrat said:
Comparing curricula over time, I've watched the ongoing decline in the quality of US education become even worse as the amount of federal involvement has grown... Kinda hard to make me believe there is no causal relationship.
mactastic said:
I've noticed a decline in quality of education as the buying power of a teachers salary has gone down. Kinda hard not to draw causal relationships there either.
I think you're both right to some degree, but I hear more from teachers about the former reason than the latter. In Alabama at least, there's a lot of emphasis on test scores, and teachers are pretty hamstrung with regards to teaching to the state-mandated curriculum. They don't have a lot of freedom to branch out and try new things. To be sure, there are teachers out there who use the excuse of low pay to justify not giving it their best in the classroom; but more often than not, it's good teachers whose efforts are frustrated by a lot of bureaucracy.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
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Y'know, trying to tie worker quality to voting patterns, or educational levels to voting patterns, and looking at entire states has gotta be somewhere down below "dumber'n dirt".

Generally, rural folks tend more toward being conservative than today's city people. "Tend". And, generally, rural folks don't--percentagewise--go off to college as much. The lack of the added education of college is no indicator of intelligence or common sense.

A few years back, I visited a medium-sized ranch north of Marfa, Texas. I regretted not having my camera so I could get a picture of a guy on horseback during roundup--logging ear-tag numbers into his laptop computer. Their whole herd of some 800 Herefords is data-entried as to age, sex, number of calves, ailments if any. It's all laid out on spreadsheets. You figure some $600 per calf, and it's not penny-ante.

Most grain and cotton farms of any size are operated by business software, with strict attention paid to controlling operating costs. The folks may go to some "cow college", but a multi-million dollar family operation isn't successfully run by dummies.

From what I read, there aren't many problems with Saturns. They're made in Tennessee, aren't they? Isn't Mercedes happy with their plant in Carolina? Or is that BMW? At the time the plants were built, articles were published with claims that the productivity was greater than in Germany.

School problems or no school problems, what I can't figure out is how kids AVOID learning certain things: The name of the country bordering the US on the south, for instance. Or, how to make change. Another is not knowing the name of the county one's home town is in, or the name of an adjacent county. How does somebody get to age 18-ish and NOT know that?

'Rat
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
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Yes but in a district where pay is higher you'll find principals picking from a hundred or more qualified teachers. In other districts you'll find them picking from a dozen mostly underqualified people.

Now I'm not going to argue that there aren't overwhleming problems with federal oversight of education (particularly when it comes to NCLB), but if you aren't starting with the best group of teachers possible, it's all downhill from there.

FWIW, I've never heard a teacher say they wern't giving their all in the classroom because of a lack of money. Lack of incentive to perform is the more likely culprit.

I'd also note that my wife, who just recieved a masters degree in English Literature, is teaching the reading improvement (for people who can't manage to grasp english) classes for a second year now because she proved herself to be good at it, while her school hires new teachers to teach the mainstream literature classes that you'd think you'd want your 'highly qualified teachers' to be teaching.