Skip to comments.Get Smart
Posted on 03/14/2019 9:07:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
Is this the great reckoning for higher education? Did it take Aunt Becky from Full House to finally wake a generation to the idea college especially expensive, elite colleges - are nothing more than the educational version of time shares in Cancun?
Years ago, I remember discussing college plans with my friends and parents. I was an aspiring radio personality. My focus in high school was exclusively media and performance. As I look back on that time, I remember EVERYONE telling me why I HAD to go to BIG COLLEGE X because EVERYONE knew thats where you HAD to go if you REALLY wanted to succeed in media.
What did I know? I was a dumb kid. I believed all that advice. The reality was my parents simply couldnt afford BIG COLLEGE X. They said I couldnt go. It wasnt possible. I was embarrassed and completely bummed out. How would I ever make anything of myself without a degree from BIG COLLEGE X?
By the way, I was lucky. At least I knew what I wanted to do. I had a focus of study and a direction in which I wanted to head. When I think about the millions of kids over the last thirty years or more whove been funneled into the BIG COLLEGE X system without a single objective or goal, only to assume huge debt in the process?
Its sinister. Its borderline criminal. It must stop.
Listen, I understand people feel warmly about their alma maters. As do I. I met my wife and some of my best friends in life there. I got amazing opportunities through my broadcasting/journalism department. At the time, it was a relatively unknown, small, Division II school that was entirely realistic in price and size for me.
Still, some twenty thousand dollars in debt followed me to my first job in radio. If you have a kid in college or college debt yourself, youre thinking, chump change, I know. Nevertheless, I made nineteen thousand dollars the first year out of school to begin servicing twenty thousand in debt.
The stories I hear today of that student-debt-to-first-income chasm are staggering. Youve heard them too. The social worker, or the journalist, or the forest ranger sometimes hundreds of thousands in debt to a university while earning barely enough to make their student loan payment.
How does it happen? Culturally, of course. You have to go to college has been a refrain since the Greatest Generation started having kids. But that familiar song sung to high school students ought to be evenly challenged in volume by someone who has to first explain whether it makes financial sense.
If kids want to be doctors, and lawyers, and such I get it. I still think the cost is debatable, but thats between you and your university. But for those Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs cowboys out there, theyre being lied to and we owe it to our culture and our nation to celebrate them and nurture them. Not feed them full of the same you have to go to college to amount to anything propaganda weve been pushing for generations.
A relative of mine heads a construction firm. Business is booming. They need skilled laborers for work on their projects. Theyll take high school graduates, pay to train them in a particular trade and put them to work. Salaries of sixty to seventy thousand dollars to start before theyre twenty years old!
The relative I mentioned also shared many high schools wont allow her in their doors to recruit because it interrupts the education factory flow. High schools get recognition based on the number of kids sent off to BIG COLLEGE X, not the number of kids sent to build our buildings or repair our cars or fix our homes.
I explained this phenomenon to my fourteen-year-old son a couple of years ago when calling on an electrician to install new porch lights on our home. The wait would be a couple of weeks because they were very backed up with work. The cost would be a few hundred dollars for what amounted to less than an hour of work.
Seeing the quick work completed as I handed the electrician his money, my son was dazzled. That was big money, fast! I explained to him all the many things his old man cant do himself and how few people can fix stuff anymore. We discussed supply and demand. We discussed the many fields that dynamic is playing out right now in areas like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, building trades, and so on.
While my soon-to-be high schooler is a good student, he doesnt particularly enjoy school. He once said, I cant imagine actually PAYING for another four years of this. Of course, most kids arent ecstatic about school. But the statement really stuck with me. If he felt like this four years from now, will I be shouting, TOO BAD! YOU HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE in response?
Some parents tell me its not a choice. College is a must. I know parents who just cant wait to send their kids to the school they loved so much. Even if it means staggering personal costs or debt to them and with literally no thought as to whether the kids themselves will be interested or ever earn enough to pay it back.
We learned this week even famous, well-heeled parents are willing to do extraordinary if need be criminal things to get their kid into the very best schools.
Huge debt. Even potential jail time. For a college? Meanwhile there are trades people getting ready to tow their boat to the lake this summer after an endless season of well paying work in demand.
Its pretty clear smart isnt always found in a framed degree on the wall.
liberal indoctrination centers is what I call ‘em.
Big College X must be either Syracuse or Boston University . . .
An important new course would be “Women’s Studies Majors and Their Barista Careers”
It doesnt appear that piece of paper is even worth that.
It's also a familiar song sung by employers in the corporate world.
"You have to have a degree to qualify." It usually doesn't matter what the degree is in, just the fact that you took the time, effort, and expense to make it through college demonstrates at least a degree of motivation to an employer who is sorting through 1,000 resumes for 1 job opening.
There are of course exceptions, but few will get hired into junior executive positions in major corporations without a sheepskin.
Lawyer, doctor, engineer, computer programmer, actuary, CPA, stockbroker - there are many professions where you simply have to go to college. If you want one of these jobs, you have no choice.
Bingo. You nailed it.
Employers are HUGELY responsible, as they’ve consumed the Kool-Aid and now regard a Bachelors Degree as the minimum price of entry.
They also hire slobbering morons and promote them to high-paying senior positions based on the fact that they hold a degree from some elite college. I have seen it happen too many times.
I have master’s in Electrical Engineering.
My undergrad years were spent like this: 2 hours traveling on the subway, classes, many hours studying-homework, 24 house a week unloading and loading trucks at a warehouse. At the end of the semester, after the last final, I went out with my friends and had a few drinks. The next day I was back on the loading dock.
Masters was paid for and required by my employer, done after work and on weekends.
College wasn’t fun or entertaining for me nor any of my friends. It was a means to an end. I was not alone.
When did things change?
When you got an electric or mechanical engineering, computer science, finance or life science degree, yes college was worth it and might still be today at the insane prices.
When you get a degree that ends in “Studies’ or underwater sports mgt is a total waste of time and money. Colleges are frauds to offer these BS degrees.
I have a law degree and I am a reasonably-successful practicing lawyer. I only very recently paid off my law school student loan debt. That debt started around $150k and climbed to over $200k through recapitalized interest due to deferrals until I was able to finally start paying it down. Until I cut several checks totaling in the six figures over the last year, my student loan payments eclipsed my mortgage payments. Plus my wife is also a lawyer who also had six figures in student loan debt (that she paid off before I did).
Those seven years of post-secondary education and mountains for debt ultimately paid off for me. I like my work and I make good money doing it. But I have a client who is the same age as me and who dropped out of college after a year to go work in the mortgage business. He learned the mortgage and real estate business through on-the-job experience. He is applying his now ~20 years of experience in the real estate market making a fortune flipping houses and in other real estate investments.
So yes, the best advice you could give any kid is that they should only go to college if they have a good reason. Or, the related advice I give college students and recent grads who are considering law school: Don’t go for the money. If you are smart enough to make money as a lawyer, you are smart enough to make at least as much money doing something else.
Don’t go to college just to go to college. There was a time when colleges provided a solid “liberal education” (in the traditional, Roman sense of the term), the intellectual foundation to be a leading citizen, but those days are long gone. Now, college must be viewed as purely a financial investment, and it is dubious one at best.
The “Highly Educated” class literally exists only because of the SKILLED HANDS of the TRADESMEN of this world. The lights we see by, the auto brakes that stop us on time, the jet engine that takes us from here to there, the electric gred and/or generators that keep the hospital electronics running are what keeps us alive and in one piece.
Without the greasy hand of the elevator maintainence guy, there wouldn’t be a building over FOUR stories is the country.
When a customer, a single hour ago, walked into my shop to have his watch repaired after driving SIXTY miles, I know something really screwed up. This posting really hits the target.
A college degree is just an expensive IQ test since employers are prohibited from using IQ tests.
“Employers are HUGELY responsible...”
Employers are only responsible as the victims of court decisions and legislation that took away their ability to use qualification tests to rank applicants as to their native and job-specific knowledge. Then along came affirmative action to eliminate such testing because of “bias” and the employers were left with such third-party qualifications as college degrees as the separation factor. Never mind the applicant with the skills and experience needed for the job, here’s this favored minority with a sheepskin who must be better qualified because of the degree. And that’s how you get the slobbering morons...trust me, I’m in education and can point you to multiple examples.
If it’s an IQ test it’s a failed one.
Its simple. If employers did not hire the guy from Yale over the guy from The Ohio State University, then nobody would bother with the expense and bother of Yale. And that is doubly true of Bucknell or Johns Hopkins or any other east coast private school that people pay over a quarter million dollars to have their children go to.
The price is even a give away. The price is just for rich parents. Kids themselves or lower middle class parents pay less. Which shows its got a Tiffany’s appeal. “Look what I can afford.” Or more correctly, “look what my parents could afford.”
The reality is that going to a school for a day should be all thats needed. Its not the education that separates you with a Yale degree. Its the admissions process. Your high school transcripts and ACT score shows you are a hard working very intelligent person. Your going to be successful regardless of Yale. See Gates or Jobs who left after Freshman year. Your not taught anything that Google can’t teach you when you are ready to learn it. And of course there is all the unlearning you have to do when you get a job. About the only thing you do learn in these colleges is how bad you feel after 12 drinks. Hardly worth the tuition cost.
True, but a lot of that stuff was invented and designed by highly educated engineers based on principles developed by highly educated scientists. The rest were developed by self-educated engineers and scientists (like Thomas Edison with the lightbulb and Michael Faraday with the principals behind the generator), but I wouldn’t call them tradesmen.
We need both, which is why the decay of our universities is a real problem.
My favorite example is a business contact of mine whose wife was a nurse in a New Jersey hospital.
The hospital management with great fanfare one day announced that they had just brought Doctor “X” on staff, and HE WENT TO HAAA-VAAAHHHD! The people running this hospital were literally having multiple orgasms over the fact that they had managed to hire a doctor who went to HAAA-VAAHHD.
After working with him for a few weeks this guy’s wife began to come home every night with horror stories. “OMG, this guy is a flaming idiot. He is gonna KILL somebody! Every nurse and intern on the floor is constantly running around trying to fix his mistakes.”
But hospital management rejected that on delivery. Because, after all, he went to HAAA-VAAHHD.
Our son is finishing up his senior year of high school (homeschool) and his last year in the electrician program at the local community college (PSEO). All we had to pay for were the tools he needed for the program. At 18 years old he can begin his career as an electrician completely debt free. His best friend did the same thing but in the auto body program. Both graduate this spring with no debt. Both are musicians and can support themselves well while pursuing their passion/hobby.
Our oldest didnt want to do PSEO, in part due to his career choice (law enforcement) and also because high school athletics were important to him. He has a good job and is able to pay his tuition each semester at the same community college.
I maxed out on student loans and it was a painful life lesson. My kids may not have always listened to us, but they did pay attention to the problems debt brings.
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