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January 29, 2008

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Brandon

I couldn't agree more with your sentiments on this issue.

I don't want to jump blindly over to the extreme opposite end of the spectrum and say that college is a complete waste of time, but you are absolutely correct in suggesting that in lieu of pursuing a liberal arts education or a highly specialized field (law, medicine, engineering, etc.), a college degree, as such, does not do the individual or the community at large a great service, especially when weighed against the ever increasing amounts of money (i.e., debt) required to attain the degree.

When WWII ended and so many returning soldiers went to college for free on the GI Bill, it created a need for a huge public university system. Once that system was entrenched, the only way it could be sustained was by the country at large accepting the idea that college is what every young person with an eye toward success and happiness MUST do.

There may have been a time when that was true, but it hasn't been for a long time, and it becomes less and less so with each passing year and each new generation. It's a fallacy that does us a huge disservice, if you ask me.

B. Post

Well, throwing more money at a problem in an effort to make it go away is the way we do education today. That's certainly a lot easier for Jennifer Granholm than actualy trying to reform the runaway spending on higher education.

The issue of trying to push kids toward college prep is also well taken. I had heard that a local high school (sorry, can't remember which one) was actually going to require a college prep curriculum for all students. Even aside from the argument that not all jobs are well served by this approach, not all children or taxpayers are well served by this either. There seems to be the notion that if we just try hard enough we can (and should) get everyone into college. This is strange because not everyone can succeed in college. So it's not a good investment for our children or the taxpayers to try.

A few weeks ago we even had a guest editorial in the GR Press by a former State Board of Education member stating that we must re-invest in our children because after visiting China that is what he saw there and they are surpassing us by their focus on education. What he left out, however is that FACT that China, along with a lot of the rest of the world, segregates students by ability as early as middle school. They get sent to completely different high schools, and those not making the cut for college prep get sent to vocational high schools (Germany is another example of this model). I'm sure this fact is conveniently overlooked when making such statements, and it also negates their whole arguments as to their ideas on equality of abilities.

This idea of Ms. Granholm's must be squashed. The State of Michigan can't afford another such boondoggle. Our budget can't stand it and I'm sure it would only bloat higher education further and maybe ruin once and for all what is otherwise still a pretty good system.

RollngGrnade

An educated workforce is an enticement for businesses to settle in Michigan. Anecdotally, I've heard first-hand from people associated with "Health Hill" (at places like the Van Andel Institute) that one of the things slowing down advanced life sciences companies and entrepreneurs settling down here is the lack of workers for the labs. They've created a fantastic "incubator" for new businesses (and the first batches of them are now starting to vacate the facility and move out into the private sector).

As for your worries about gutting vocational training at high schools - a whole lot of that is done at colleges (especially community colleges) - so it's not as though there's going to be a loss there.

A bachelor's degree gives one a lot more options than vocational training or on-the-job training working a job on a line that will inevitably be replaced by a robot or a wage slave in a developing nation. Not only that, but it's not just about enticing businesses to come in from the outside and settle here, it's about creating entrepreneurship here within the state. This is ESPECIALLY the case in the Information Age when innovation and critical thinking are the attributes now prized most.

Even if you're not swayed by the idea of an educated workforce bolstering the state's economy, there's the fact that we're already in dire need of trained medical professionals to handle the aging Boomer population.

Funding the higher education system is what has kept the US economy alive after we began to lose our oligopolistic control on manufacturing and industry. It birthed the Internet and virtually all of the high technology products and services that we rely on to retain our competitive edge in the increasingly global economy.

Donna

RollngGrnade,

Who do you think is eventually going to make all the products necessary for Americans if our manufacturing industry leaves the U.S.?

Who will make all the gizmos we need for being an internet and high tech nation if we don't do it ourselves?

Who makes all the microprocessor chips, the computers, , the microscopes/lab equipment and machines to run a research facility, who makes the desks/chairs/bulletin boards for classrooms, who makes the guts of vehicles used on the roads everyday, every part for airplanes/trains/motorcylces and the like, every gaget we use to service and clean our homes and businesses so on and so forth? Anyone that says manufacturing is gone for good better wake up to the fact that if we do loose all this business, our nation simply becomes a service provider. We all know that can come and go very easily. Being an "idea" nation is great, but it's not going to employ everyone at the levels needed.

One thing manufacturing did was allow people to work hard and rise to the levels of middle class or better through their own efforts. Service industries can't say the same. We are getting a bit lazy in wanting to sit at a desk all day and "think" for our money instead of working the "entire body" for our money. I think there is something great in a nation that knows the importance of working with their bodies AND their minds. We are loosing this advantage day after day.

China, India and other countries are on the rise because they are willing to do the work Americans think they no longer want because it's not work held in high esteem like white collar jobs. Fine. Ship it out because you don't want to get dirty during the course of a day any longer. Just don't complain when other nations are on the rise, especially with a new middle class from these jobs.

Our college kids can sit in a classroom and study why other nations are doing so well and we are going down the tubes. And we can pay a fortune for it too. Aren't we smart?

Great and timely article Bill. Liked your links too. Definately food for thought.

Faye

Many jobs today are classified as "college degree required". These positions even a decade ago would have been open to high school graduates. Due to the plethora of college degrees, the value of them in the marketplace in many areas has actually gone down instead of up. Universities are pushing people to get masters and Phd degress as well to be of real value, regardless of the field. What a joke. I actually believe the higher education system in this country has a mysterious way of sucking common sense out of people instead of developing greatness. If you want to be a doctor, a vet, a lawyer, a scientist, fine go to college. The bulk of jobs, go get trained on the job and learn real skills not empty skills as so many colleges teach these days.

Rollnggrnade

Sidebar: Here's an interview with Former Gov. James Blanchard talking about the importance of state funding for education

http://jackshow.blogs.com/jack/2008/01/interview-james.html

Rollnggrnade

Donna -

Who do I think will make the products we need? The US-based companies with manufacturing operations overseas, or the foreign-based companies that we're already getting many of our goods from now (same thing for the high-tech gizmos). Just look at the trade deficit. In fact, in the past three decades it's nearly always been the case that we'll originate technological advances and then sell them off to companies in other nations to manufacture (just look at personal electronics; Japanese companies often get the credit for what were originally American innovations).

Let me be clear: I don't want us to lose our manufacturing operations - I agree that it's a bad idea. The problem is, in our corporate-controlled government there doesn't seem to be much political will in either party to change that continuing slide - so we'd better plan for it. (I would say, however, that I'm all for stopping the practice by requiring that all companies who do business with the US meet the same labor and environmental standards that US-based companies are required to meet in their foreign operations).

You seem to be of the opinion that using one's mind to earn a living isn't as noble an endeavor as standing next to a conveyor belt and putting together components all day. Is that accurate? If so, we'll have to agree to disagree.

China and India are on the rise because the citizens of those nations have a MUCH lower living standard than we do here in the US, in addition to looser (or nonexistent) fair/safe labor standards, and looser (or nonexistent) environmental regulations. It's not because they're hungrier for work or better at it than Americans. Manufacturing operations are only going overseas for those reasons (which have been made possible by the technological advances like the Internet that have enabled corporations to more easily conduct business from geographically-distant locations).

Your view of the value of a college education is very short-sighted. What you're "paying for" is returned to you many-fold in the form of discounted costs that you pay every single day because a company/organization doesn't have to inflate its costs to you, the consumer, in order to subsidize its own private educational system for its employees.

I'm just curious; do you think it's an accident that all of the other nations that are gaining ground on us have comprehensive public education programs?

Rollnggrnade

Faye -

Could you please define or give some examples of "empty skills?"

Rollnggrnade

Faye -

Also - could you define or give examples of "real skills" too, as contrasted to "empty skills?"

Faye

Empty skills mean too many college students are leaving college and they still cannot read, write or communicate at even a high school level. These students are not even close to being experts in the field they have supposedly been studying for the past four, six or eight plus years. I don't need to give you examples of this, just visit your local high school, community college or four year university and strike up a conversation with these students or look at their resume and portfolio when applying for a job. The proof of these problems will be clear for all to see.

If you have attended college, I am guessing you did, then you know full well the first two years are stacked with silly courses in the basics - English 101, Math 101, Science 101, Communications, Health Ed, etc. Few colleges let the hungry student by-pass the basics and jump to serious core classes from day one just because they want to. A four year degree could easily be done in two years if colleges didn't pad a schedule with empty first and second year outside courses(this practice is clearly done for the benefit of keeping professors employed and schools in the business of being a busy school year round). I had to deal with this problem at Michigan universities and so did dozens of others I know.

In addition too many professors indoctrinate students into how they are supposed to think rather than teaching them how to analyze things as a whole. Meaning, they tell you what's right versus letting you learn and understand the difference yourself. Free thinkers who differ from the course norm are made to pay. Thus, many students don't speak out in colleges unless they tow the college party line.

As for listing specific skills for you let's leave it at a simple test - what in your current life could you not do had you not attended college? Unless you are in a very defined profession like medicine, law, engineering/architecure etc., my guess is very little. The time/cash outlay versus final real world skills obtained in the modern university is a very poor trade off. I'd prefer to go back to learning on the job as that is where I have always learned the most and risen the fastest to postions of money, power and benefits.

Peggy Barnes

Oprah showed this country why she went to Africa to build her new school for girls. She said she didn't build it in America for a very specific reason. When she asked students in America what they wanted, they answered her fancy tennis shoes, celebrity inspired clothes, Ipods, etc. So, they could look cool and be trendy. When she asked kids in Africa what they wanted, they answered school supplies, books, a uniform, shoes to wear to school and so forth. Why? So THEY COULD LEARN.

American parents and kids can't even fill out a wish list properly.

Other countries are ahead of us because their kids understand that even if their schools are hard to reach, difficult to get into and hard to handle, they still work at it so they can succeed. American parents, kids and teachers can't even take advantage of all the bounty surrounding us. What a crying shame. When will we learn?

More money isn't the answer.

Theme schools aren't the answer.

New buildings aren't the answer.

Passion, desire and a will to succeed is the answer. It can't be bought. It can't be built. It must be instilled into children and it has to start early. And it doesn't require 6-10 years of post secondary education to get there.

Peggy

richard

And don't forget the gov's idea to make smaller classrooms K-12....another idea so falsely pitched to the gullible public. There is no empirical research that supports the notion that smaller classrooms improve performance. And related, there IS empirical research that disproves the idea that more money improves K-12 education--this study was completed in Michigan several years.

B. Post

The debate here is centered entirely on the wrong things. It's not whether college is a good thing or not: it is a very good thing to have such an education. The problem is that what our Governor is putting forth is that the college education is a panacea. Having actually taught at the college level myself, the students that I saw fell into several different categories (and I'm sure we can come up with more):

Students that belong there, i.e. capable of that level of learning.

Those that are not capable.

Those that are not prepared for that level.

Those that are capable, but can't afford it financially.

The worst thing you can do is send a young person into that environment that is not capable or not prepared and doom them to failure. Those that have a financial issue, yes, we should do everything we can to help them, but such assistance must be based on need and merit both. We don't have the money available for other sorts of social experiments.

As to "rolling grenade's" statement about the comprehensive education of India and China, I'll reiterate again: their education systems are entirely different from ours. They are entirely merit-based, and students are already segregated into vocational and college prep schools by middle school. Only the best students with a real chance of success in college are allowed to go to those high schools that offer college prep. Personally I would welcome a change such as this, though it's so totally politically incorrect to suggest it. It also makes this debate about how "every child should go to college" completely irrelevant. If we really want to compete with China and India we need to have the best people to do it, not try to cling to the false premise that anyone can do it if they only try hard enough or have enough resources thrown at them.

The Executive Director

Brandon,

I'm glad we're in agreement. I think you're onto something when you state that colleges have successfully sold their degrees as the ticket to "success and happiness" for the post-GI Bill generation.

B. Post,

You're absolutely right that the knee-jerk response to fixing a problem in public education is to throw money at it. Guv Jen's new wrinkle is that shoveling even more money into the educrats' pockets will now fix the state's economy. Look at that becoming a new theme. I note that the GR Board of Ed is using the same rationale of fixing the economy to justify a $200 million spending program on new high schools for a shrinking district.

Also, excellent comment on how comparisons of our public education system to those elsewhere in the world are apples-to-oranges.

Grenade,

What are we going to do with you? You often just don't seem to get it. For example, you say "no worries" about vocational education disappearing from the high schools because colleges are picking up the slack. And that is EXACTLY the problem. What kids should have learned for free within twelve years of public education they now have to pay for while going to school for another two to four years.

Meanwhile, the high schools have to do less while sucking in more tax dollars, while colleges get to pull in more tuition dollars with programs of dubious benefit. So the educrats and the professors make out fine, while the students get the shaft. The point is not that students don't need training for the increasingly technical jobs that are available, but that colleges are an expensive, inefficient, and inadequate way of providing most of that training.

Faye,

Point taken. As an elderly relative of mine often remarked, "I see you went to college to get stupid."

Donna,

I largely agree with you. The educrat mantra for college education has had the effect of stigmatizing the skilled trades. Contrary to the notion that all such skilled work can and will be automated or offshored, there is currently in this country a shortage of skilled workers in many trades. Everything from welders to plumbers to auto mechanics. The need remains for the skilled trades, training for which does not belong in college.

Peggy,

I take it your point is that our kids don't need an additional four years of college education to learn many of the valuable skills needed to find good work in this country. Good schools and motivated students (motivated usually because of good parents) can get that job done with a high school education. Well, why not? It wasn't that many decades ago that what we expect a kid to master by the twelve grade, kids used to learn by the eighth grade. Back then high school was higher education, and now we make it college and teach kids even less (while those working the system keep making more and more).

Richard,

I'm not familiar with the study you are referring to, but I agree that smaller class size has no bearing on the quality of education. My high school classes typically had thirty or more students, and there was no lack of learning as a consequence. Plus smaller class sizes means more teachers. Hiring more teachers means lowering the standards to expand the pool of employable teachers. Thus, even if there were benefits to reducing to class size, they are offset by lower-quality teachers. The net effect is the taxpayers pay more to get less.

Regards,
Bill Tingley
Executive Director, L.A.W.


Laura

Case in point: The city of Grand Rapids is looking for a "parking facility supervisor" with a college degree and "four years experience in managing multi-unit revenue generating facilities for public use" This will pay $55,704 to $71,077 not including perks.

Rollnggrnade

Faye -

Yeah, you do need to provide examples when you're claiming that the vast majority of college students leave their two- or four-year educations without the ability to communicate. That's a pretty reckless accusation, especially given that all I need to do is cite myself (someone who received a higher education at a public institution who can communicate quite well, not to toot my own horn, who stands in stark contrast to the picture you painted) to disprove your entire argument.

Given your sampling frame, I have a hypothesis for you: given that headhunters routinely say that 90%+ of jobs are never posted anywhere (with a traditional application process, rather they're handed out through networking and informal hiring arrangements), if you're poring over applications and resumes - the odds are that you're seeing an overabundance of the dregs which may be coloring your perception of a higher education.

I'm a big fan of general education courses and electives because I consider it to be a major role of higher education to make people well-rounded individuals and citizens (able to participate in our democratic enterprise) - not just to check off the specialized credits they need for their degree. You consider it "padding" - but the Ancient Greeks and I consider it vital to citizen government.

Virtually all colleges, in fact, allow students to test out of basic courses altogether with placement tests administered when they first enroll (or if they attain high enough scores on their SAT/ACT). The vast majority of colleges also permit students to take more challenging courses that meet the same requirements as an English / Math / Science 101 course. If students don't challenge themselves, that's not the college's fault.

You can make all the allegations about discouraging freethinking that you want, but unless you've got some evidence to back it up, it amounts to very little. Having both taught and attended college courses, my experience stands in marked contrast to the one you're alleging (especially given that I left college a conservative - I was never chastised or discouraged from expressing my views - and it wasn't until later in life that my political leanings changed).

As for your simple test, what's in my current life that I could not do with had I not attended college? My job for one - it requires a four-year liberal arts degree (as do virtually all of the other jobs I'm eligible for). And no, I'm not in a very defined profession like the ones you described.

The value of a college degree in empirical economic terms is pretty clear:

"According to the Census Bureau, over an adult's working life, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million; associate's degree holders earn about $1.6 million; and bachelor's degree holders earn about $2.1 million (Day and Newburger, 2002).

These sizeable differences in lifetime earnings put the costs of college study in realistic perspective. Most students today-- about 80 percent of all students--enroll either in public 4-year colleges or in public 2-year colleges. According to the U.S. Department of Education report, Think College Early, a full-time student at a public 4-year college pays an average of $8,655 for in-state tuition, room and board (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2002). A full-time student in a public 2-year college pays an average of $1,359 per year in tuition (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2002)."

To your point about on-the-job training; having a college education and getting practical experience aren't mutually-exclusive, and many higher ed institutions offer credit for that sort of experience. Though it's slow, the model for providing higher ed is changing and there are a lot more self-paced accreditation programs becoming available.

Faye

Rollnggrnade,

You will always be the one in the argument with the "best evidence", "the best information", "the best examples", "the most outstanding web resources", and so on and so forth and nothing anyone else is ever going to say is going to sway you. In an effort to be cordial and civil, I will simply allow you to believe everything you stated earlier to be the gospel truth as you see it.

On the other hand, I stand by my earlier statements as what I have lived and seen is just as valid as that which you have cited. I don't expect you to get that or accept that since it appears unless you believe it already yourself, you will deny the possiblity exists elsewhere.

C'est la vie.

The Executive Director

Hi, Grenade.

You wrote, "The value of a college degree in empirical economic terms is pretty clear ..."

Is it? You have the college education, so you surely understand that correlation is not causation. What none of those statistics show is that those who do better than average do so because they have a college diploma to nail to the wall. Indeed, when we have gotten to the point that in some major cities pizzerias require a college degree to get a delivery job, you know how meaningless the mere fact of degree has to financial success.

Regards, Bill

Tommy Times

Regarding the eighth/twelfth grade issue, the number of kids taking AP calculus exams has gone from 30,000 in 1980 to 250000 in 2005. That appears to be some evidence against the idea that today's twelfth graders are learning what yesterdays eighth graders learned.

The UK university system, and even the last two years of secondary education, are much more specialized, and probably more rigourous, than in the US. There are probably quite a few other models out there. Personally, I think that there is a case for both specialized curricula and broad curricula. It is really a bit surprising, given the decentralized nature of U.S. education, that there is not a greater diversity of approaches.

With the high cost of tuition, the case for the economic benefits of college is not so obvious, particularly if you want to study a less lucrative fields. The income statistics may (or may not) be skewed by extremely high earners who attend college, or by the possibility that people from wealthier families will tend both to have higher incomes and to go to college. It would be interesting to see a well done ROI calculation for the economic value of a college degree.

The Executive Director

Hi, Tommy.

I agree that there are higher level classes available to today's high school students, especially kids in advanced placement. I was making a comparison of the typical student today to that of a couple generations ago.

You make an interesting point that in countries with more centralized governments appear to have a greater diversity of public education options than we do in the U.S. The uniformity of public education, in structure at least, is striking in this country.

Finally, you remarked: "It would be interesting to see a well done ROI calculation for the economic value of a college degree." I understand your point, and I think such a calculation would be valid for vocational education, the explicit purpose of which is to prepare a student to earn a living. However, I do think it would be better if we revived the older idea of a college education in which learning is its own reward and the career opportunities that arise from it are incidental.

Regards, Bill

Rollnggrnade

Apropos of this conversation:

Report card: State lacking brainpower
Posted by Rick Haglund February 11, 2008 04:59AM

DETROIT -- If having an abundance of knowledge-based jobs and vibrant metro areas are keys to economic prosperity, then Michigan's future is in doubt, a new study says.

In its first report card on Michigan's progress in developing a knowledge-based economy, Michigan Future Inc. says the state and its three largest metropolitan areas -- Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing -- are lagging other leading states and cities in creating high-wage jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree.

States with an abundance of jobs in information, finance and insurance, management, professional and technical services, health care and education have the highest per capita incomes, according to the report released today.

The top five states in per capita income in 2006 were Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland.

Michigan fell 10 places among the states in per capita income to 26th between 2000 and 2006 -- the latest available year -- as it shed thousands of manufacturing jobs, according to the Michigan Future study.

The state's per capita income was 8 percent below the national average in 2006, the worst performance since the Great Depression year of 1933, according to figures for the study prepared by University of Michigan economist Don Grimes.

Michigan also has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.6 percent. But per capita income is a better measure of economic security, the Michigan Future study says. [... more]

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2008/02/report_card_state_lacking_brai.html

Rollnggrnade

Faye,

The words "best evidence," "best information," and "best examples" were never typed by me, so I don't know why you're using those terms in quotes. I'm not saying my sources are better than yours; I'm saying that you don't have any sources period. It would be one thing if you cited some data from some competing economic resource and we happened to disagree philosophically. You've cited nothing, and you're expecting your personal, anecdotal claims/examples to be persuasive and they're not.

Nothing about this discussion has been anything but cordial or civil, so I don't know where the allegation is coming from that it's not. I've asked you a number of questions, or to substantiate claims you've made and you're apparently unwilling or unable to do either. That's all.

You talk about me having an intractable position, but if you actually think that what you've lived and seen is more credible a source than comprehensive socioeconomic data from the Census bureau or think tanks like Michigan Future, Inc. - you're far more likely the one with the intractable position. That's especially true given that you've made several outright false statements about higher education (like your claim about testing out of remedial classes) that you appear to continue to hold on to in spite of the fact that they're empirically false.

Rollnggrnade

Bill,

Yes - it is - that's why I cited data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics that backs up my claim that a college education has value. The lifetime earnings of those with college degrees are markedly higher than those who do not have higher educational attainment than high school. (And likewise, those without high school diplomas tend to make far less than those who do finish high school or get their GED).

I understand well that correlation is not causation. However, when the correlations are as substantial as they are - it's undeniable that there is SOME benefit to a college education (especially when the benefits extend to various other areas of life like life span and when the benefits are reinforced by the fact that the best-performing states are the ones with the highest proportion of college-educated workers).

Another stat that reinforces the fact that college degrees have value is the fact that starting salaries have begun to dip slightly as the percentage of graduates has increased to nearly 30% of the population (so the larger pool of graduates has effectively started to swamp the job market, which has halted the upward growth trend):

http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20070509

It's very likely that many of the people lumped into the higher income areas would be successful anyway and the college degree they earn is just certifying the successful path they were already on. However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that a college education is demonstrated in the vast majority of cases to raise the income levels of the people who earn them to something much higher than they would otherwise have been able to earn without the degree (if nothing else than giving them access to all of the job opportunities that require a bachelor's degree just to be considered).

Furthermore - the value of a college education isn't contained only in the credentials; it's also in the experience and the networking opportunities it creates.

I'd love for you to cite a source for your claim that a pizzaria is requiring a Bachelor's degree for its delivery staff.

More Reading:

http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2006/11/more_education_.html
http://www.quintcareers.com/college_education_value.html
http://www.fincalc.com/COL_05.asp?id=13972

Tommy Times

Hi Bill,

With regard to the U.K., it is more centralized and specialized than the U.S. in its approach, but not more diverse. Other countries may be more diverse.

I would certainly be happy to revive the old ideal that learning is its own reward. With tuition near or exceeding $10000 per year at public universities, however, it is hard to ignore the financial side. It is a good idea, when you make the decision to go to college, or to pay for your children to go, to have a clear understanding of the real cost.

Faye

RG, Nothing I have said is untrue. Everything is accurate to a 't'.

I don't need outside sources to support what I am saying on this issue right now. Why? Because I am a source. No one better than me, myself and I when I am trying to make a point of what has happened in my world and sharing it with you and others. I chose intentionally to use myself as an example because chances are high that if I gave you outsides sources (which I could or you are welcome to use some of the solid references Bill Tingley gave earlier as well for a counter argument to your sources) you would shoot them down in seconds like a well seasoned skeet shooter. Instead, I use myself. I prefer not to play the game of my sources are better than yours. That's so old school.

I have attended three post secondary schools in MI, including being a college graduate of two universities here. I have dozens of friends who went through the system too. I have been able to see first hand how the system works and does not work and that includes community colleges, private schools and public universities. About 1/2 of these friends are in non-related college jobs now. Meaning, what they went to school for they don't practice. A large number became experts in other fields than what they studied originally. Many sadly say they could have started at the job they now hold with pride and success without a college degree and still rose to where they are at now by simply staying motivated, dedicated and hungry for success. I concur. Success is not always wrapped up in a college diploma nor in post collegiate debt that can easily run $50,000, $75,000 even $100,000 these days.

I have also been in the business world for over 20 years now in multiple fields and my real world experiences are vastly more informative for me about the state of our educational situation than what any think tank decides to publish or what the unions, schools boards or teachers put out. And in your case, those who continue to support a broken system that the vast majority can see clearly, but you refuse to see. I have worked with, hired and fired employees with top level educations, but poor reading, writing and communication skills. Almost none have shown a true proficiency where they should. Most get on the job training to become top at their positions and that often could have happened without a previous college education. Are many kids technically book and computer smart? Possibly. But, too many are not smart in the ways of how to operate in the real world and that's not always something that is often discussed or documented. The reality for the business world is that a large number of kids are leaving college after 4-6 years and are mentally, physically and emotionally still operating at a high school level. I think you would understand this better if you were in a position of hiring people or firing people due to a need for workers to perform at a superior level and make a company successful. Not to do so means a failed business.

I have experienced our poor educational system first hand, as a student, with fellow students and in the work force. The system needs an over-haul from top to bottom, no doubt about it.

I put quotes in earlier since I couldn't use underlining or bold face type to accentuate what I was trying to say to you. As usual, you nit pick where you shouldn't and thus, you don't focus elsewhere when you should.

My experience may not be yours, but it does not discount what I have lived and experienced first hand. You can toss it aside with a dismissive hand and a raised nose of disdain (imaginary of course, but that's what it feels like when I read your comments), but others will understand my position far better than you do.


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