By Walt Gardner
Evidence continues to mount that college is not for everyone, but the United States persists in the fiction that students are shortchanged without a four-year degree. The real losers in the final analysis are young people who are counseled to pursue a sheepskin when they have neither the interest nor ability.
The downside of this policy is seen nationwide. For example, in California the new requirements have led to an increase in the high school dropout rate, as students became discouraged trying to pass academic courses necessary for admission to the state university systems. Yet these results were altogether predictable. When students see little connection between their studies and their future plans, they either act out or drop out. In either case, they become costly unintended collateral damage.
The Alliance for Excellent Education makes this unequivocally clear. The by Browse to Save" name="_GPLITA_0"">secondary education system in this country produces 1.2 million dropouts annually. If the dropouts graduated, the economy would likely benefit from nearly $154.3 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes. The numbers, ranging from $147 million in Vermont to $20.7 billion in California, reflect salaries, entitlements and criminal justice spending.
The picture in college is not much brighter. Students there aren’t learning very much. In “Academically Adrift,” Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa tracked several thousand undergraduates in two dozen universities. They reported that 45 percent of students do not significantly improve their critical thinking and writing skills after two years. Even after four years, only 36 percent did so. Although more than half of the freshmen who took the test didn’t take it again as seniors, the findings are not surprising. Too many students have no business being in college in the first place because they lack the wherewithal.
I have been saying this for decades. Every society needs ditch diggers and other laborers. The left snubs their nose at everyone who doesn't go to some elitist college and does menial work. This is one of the problems with our schools. They force kids to remain in school who don't want to be there. Those kids need to be out digging ditches and delivering pizzas. After a decade of digging ditches they might then be ready for school and possibly college. They will then appreciate the college experience much more, and the job that comes afterward.
.This was evident in the 60's and 70's when the "flower generation" was going to college strictly to get out of the draft, (not that I blame them) but they had no interest in gaining a college level education. They graduated with 3.9 GPAs in liberal arts like basket weaving and psuedo sciences like psychology. After graduation they found no one wanted to hire experienced basket weavers so they came back to college and displaced engineers and biologists and english and math majors in seeking teaching credentials because they had 3.9 GPAs and entry into teaching college is determined mainly by GPAs earned in undergrad school. As a result we had a whole generation of teachers who knew basket weaving but no math etc, teaching math and english and biology and chemistry. They in turn "educated" a whole new generation of HS students who knew less of the sciences and scientific theory then the teachers (which was little enough). The end result is that we now have a 2nd generation of teachers in schools teaching that not only do not know the subject they are teaching but to make matters worse they do not understand that they do not know the subjects they are supposed to be teaching and try to bluff their way through to retirement. They are also gullible enough to accept crackpot theories of environmental sciences and repeat them to students.
This is all about the love of money! Money the Root of all evil! Get more in college means more owing to the government and if they do find a job it means more salary demanded and of course more tax money coming in.
Yet another reason for pushing everyone to attend college is that nearly every college student receives four years of socialist/anti-American indoctrination. My children, save one, made it through universities without becoming part of the communist Borg hive, and I can't tell you the number of friends who have lamented that they "lost" their children when the kids went off to college, coming home after but one semester and telling the parents that they [the parents] have been wrong all along with their discipline, religion, patriotism, and everything else.
Hillsdale College and a precious few others educate students without turning them into little commies, but the VAST majority of post-secondary institutions serve almost exclusively as "re-education" centers and provide very little useful education or training in how to think and solve problems.
It is all about attitude. People think they need a college degree or they will be looked down on. The truth is that a lot of "College grads' work in banks and as Wal-Mart supervisors, and get a lot less than what other "Non College" professions pay. Welders get very good pay as do plumbers, electricians, firemen, health care workers, etc. I started my career out as an Air Traffic Controller, and peers were amazed at how much money I made. Thuth is, people can make money withoutspending $100K to get a degree. Problem is that under Obama many jobs could be created in these fields, but this President is the worst in history for helping the economy. The Keystone Pipeline and the bridge and road project in Calif that went to China are examples of how this presidents politics destroy; not create jobs.
Higher education isn't for everyone. One need not spend 4 years in college to acquire knowledge, and just because someone earns a degree, that in and of itself, does not mean one is smarter than one who does not.
The "dummy down" method being used in today's public school system stifles curious minds and projects those who are void of curiosity.
It is a given that some students are very simply better than others and those inquisitive minds should not be held back because someone's feelings might be hurt. The entire educational system has moved away from the days of the "Little Red School House" and sadly I'm thoroughly convinced a better education was served in those days.
There are those who thirst for knowledge and those who don't. Why on earth should those who thirst be denied, and why do those who don't take up space in a classroom. Because society demands it? The most powerful thing a teacher can do is motivate and for some a bit more motivation is required. It is important for each individual to figure out what their strengths are and how to cultivate them. I believe some teachers do that, but they are in the minority.
My twin grandchildren, a boy and a girl, are 17 years old, and they attend private school. They are both extremely bright. The girl is driven to achieve the best possible grades and headed for the school of her choice upon graduation. The boy just doesn't apply himself and is most likely headed for a local secondary college even though he is every bit as bright as his sister and has been afforded the same opportunities. He's just not ready to accept them. I think 4 years in the military before college would serve him well.
Anyone remember the phrase "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief"? Diversity is what makes us work. We need all kinds pulling together for the common goal. Those in the Department of Education have been promoted to the level of their incompetency if they think otherwise. I'm beginning to think they're just in it for the money.
As institutions of higher learning , colleges and universities have rendered themselves USELESS in that they have become nothing more than radical indoctrination centers bent on turning the United States into a communist utopia that can only possibly exist in their wildest fantasies .
Well, let's see what is really needed. We need people who can repair, to the component level, today's crop of TV sets and computers.
We need people who can repair today's crop of cars the FIRST TIME, not the third or fourth.
We need people who can install and service air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, refrigerators, ranges, dish washers, water heaters, and the myriad of things to be found in today's home.
We need builders, carpenters, brick layers and painters.
We need people who can repair a roof. Successfully. Or install a new one, if needed. Successfuly.
And this only scratches the surface. None of the above items requires a 'degree', and a degree will not train the recipiant to DO the tasks outlined above.
What is really needed is re-instatement of the 'Trade School'. A place where these skills are taught, and may be practiced. Any special information is taught as needed. Special math, (uniquely used) included as the teaching continues. Aprenticeships give 'real world' practice in doing the jobs. This can be part of a High School Education. It used to be. The kids graduate High School fully equipped to earn a living, without the endless 'Student Loan' burden so many have. After they have been in the workforce for awhile, they MAY elect to go for a degree. Or not. It doesn't take a degree to install or repair a telephone system. To design one, maybe. Not to install it and make it work.
I think we could have a happier population if it wasn't paying off $100,000 in 'Student Loans' while they flipped 'burgers because they can't DO anything else. There aren't enough 'white collar' jobs to go around.
In High School it seemed I could not pass the basic courses very easily and when I tried to enter college I dropped after the first semester. I took a test at the Employment office and did well on logic test. I went to a computer trade school and stayed in computers for over 40 years. Those who do not get a college degree are not only manual labor, there are other trades out there. We've go to make our young folks proud to work in this country not put them down for not having a college degree. If it weren't for the manual labor and trades those "Elitist" who praise equality have to get the heads out and treat other jobs with as much integrity as they treat their own.
I agree Mickey, We have been bad mouthing the people that are just as important as any college graduate. We need all services even a taxi driver, garbage man, baker, candlestick maker. We can't live without them. God said all parts of the body are needed even a foot! Some of the college people I have rubbed shoulders with should have been garbage men.
I'm a Military type and had the pleasure of circling this globe many times over and will cherish the opportunity forever. (Until some bastards started to shoot at me !!!) I have always found that the people who were MOST LOYAL were those WITHOUT a High Education Level. Their word was their bond and an occassional taste of the grape to cement a deal was the way they did business. It was the Highly Educated Elitest bastards who would stick a knife in your back at the slightest opportunity, and lie, cheat and steal themselves into positions of POWER. It is little wonder why many of my brothers in arms, choose to find the solace of remote places after their military duties. Civilian life is just to too corrupt, dishonerable and dangerous for them to find a safe place to rest their heads. Being in the "Bush" with animals and aboriginals is safer and more palatable than trying to mix with "Civilized People". Washington DC is in itself is a monument to the so-called "Civilized People". And we see just what a mess that has turned out to be.
Kind of funny for when I got out of the 8th grade it was the same as high school today.. When you got out of high school back then it was the same as 4 years of college today.. I went to the school of hard knocks and a master of nothing but for years I made 80 to 100,000 a year as a independant saleman, today you cant even get a job unless you have a college degree and still cant hold it... because the schools did not give you the back bone to stand and do the jobs right.. today....