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Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't piss away $200,000



bell02 said...

Hmm, I agree on some points but I don't agree with the portrayal of the message. I remember when I went to high school there were plenty of non-college options, but society's view is to go to college. It's the image that needs to be changed.

That said, I'm not that confident in most people's decisiveness. I think there should be more effort put into carrier planning rather than telling kids wither they should or should not go to college. Many public schools do not prepare kids well for doing such things as entrepreneurship. The people who would have succeeded from putting their college money into a carrier probably are more far few and between than the number of those that would have succeeded through a business degree.

There is a lot of waste of money from students in college, but I don't think telling them not to go to college will help them in the long run.

TahoeJohn said...

There were and there continue to be plenty of alternatives to college. The problem is an absolute belief that my kid is going to college and I'm not going to here about anything else.

If everyone goes through the motion of considering alternatives but every middle class kid in the country in fact starts college (it is about 2/3 high school graduates today) then we are not doing a very fair job of presenting the alternatives.

I just want a fair hearing for what may in many cases be a far better path to success.

Mark said...

Hi, John. I tend to agree with Bell02: we do a lousy job of helping kids make decisions about their career path, in part because we refuse to "track" kids early.

In Europe, for example, and in a lot of other countries around the world, kids decide at 14 whether to pursue a university preparatory curriculum, or to follow some other path (like business or allied health, for example). We in the US think this system is too's thought to be "unfair" to "force" kids into different paths based on intellectual or academic capacity.

I agree with Bell that we, as a society, undervalue non-college options. Where are the Vo-Tech programs of 25-30 years ago? The high school I attended had a great one when I was there: it's gone now. Society (as represented by our school boards, which are elected by our communities) have decided that vo-tech or non-college options are not worth funding.

Similarly, funding for 2-year colleges is really abysmal in many states, and it is in the 2-year colleges where we (as a society) can most effectively and efficiently train our EMTs, fire fighters, nurses assistants, clerks, machine tool operators, and recording technicians.

We, as a society, must change our views of education and the social role of post-secondary education. Some kids can and should go on to college to study literature or history or the arts. Some kids should take a different path. But as a society, we tend to believe that all other paths--besides college--are the paths of losers.