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My concern is not the exceptional students that are nudged in the direction of college. To me, that makes a lot of sense. However, for the marginal student, a bit of honesty while they are still in high school might help them decide to choose trade school in something they would find fulfilling, rather than college pursuing a field that they are not academically qualified for. How much would the college drop out rate decrease if students were given realistic expectation while still in high school rather than this "every student should have college as their goal" mantra that I believe is harmful and unrealistic.

It's not that a college education is not valuable in and of itself, it's that it has become way too expensive and much of the curriculum has become watered down crap. It is ironic that typically when a college-educated person needs a repair to their home or vehicle, they turn to a person who "couldn't qualify" for college or chose not to attend college (for any number of reasons). It is not only college-educated persons who may have honorable careers, plumbing, construction, auto repair, etc., etc., are honorable professions as well.

College creates elites!

Didi on Politico comment board.

"Hey.... I can't help it that I have a masters in accounting and an undergraduate degree in business administration."

Didi thinks I am stupid.

DIDI WOULD BE A WONDERFUL PERSON WITH A DEGREE IN CHARM!

As a graduate with a poly-sci degree, I couldn't agree with your posts any more. Although I can't say I have any regrets.

So ... what's the alternative?

Ignorance is bliss?

Alternative is take a good assessment of dreams, do a little prediction of where the world is going and decide accordingly. I am pretty sure, regardless of cost the market for liberal arts degrees has been mostly static. You either used them as a springboard to a Masters of some type or to get jobs teaching, working for politicians, or city, county, state govet etc. Maybe you could get a job writing at the republic.

Degrees that confer hard skills will often pay better dividends over the long run. The world always has room for innovators and producers and reward such. Even for a hard degree, the cost is still prohibitive for most of society if you don't want to destroy yourself financially.

The other alternative will be alternatives to the current brick, mortar and ivy schools that absorb greater and greater amounts of budgets every year. Quality onling courseware will become more popular, more hard skills will be taught through single focus schools (nursing, engineering etc) with smaller footprints etc. Traditional academia will fight it, but the paradigm is shifting and they can adapt or fade away. Skillshare is a good example of the new direction of education. http://www.betabeat.com/2011/08/01/skillshare-expands-to-san-francisco-next-stop-philly/

I remember in the Air Force we used to say "it takes a college degree to fly the jet and a high school diploma to work on it". The fact that a $30M airframe is intrusted to a group of people with high school diplomas says a lot about the need for a higher education.

However, in today's job market, you can't break the poverty level with anything less than a college degree, and depending on your field of study, maybe not until you have a PhD and several years of practical experience.

Got a friend who has a psychology degree.

He's part owner of a successful telecom/IT consulting firm, and hasn't worked a day in his chosen major. He just wanted the sheepskin to make him more employable.

It used to be a badge of honor to have a college degree. Regardless of your major, you had proven your mettle in getting through the academic requirements. Employers could be assured that you knew how to think through problems, read, and communicate.

Now...you're taught what to think by a bunch of nitwits who are beholden to hard left politics and political correctness.

Academic excellence is graded on how well you regurgitate the crap they feed to you, for the most part.

Meanwhile, the hard sciences are being dominated by foreign students. Not a bad thing, as it does mean that US universities are still providing a good product in that regard...

Those HS diploma Aircraft Mechanics didn't learn their job OJT. They had weeks and months of very specific, tightly focused well taught technical training. They trained 6-8 hours a day as well as continued learining to be Airmen. THey probably had to show mastery of the skills and pass certification tests at their first unit of assighment as well. The uniformed services can't afford the time and infrastructure to teach stuff not related to the servicemembers job.

That's my point Matt. Months/weeks of training versus years of study for a degree. My tech school was 8 weeks, and just covered the basics. When I got to my first base, I learned how the "real" Air Force ran, so in essence, it was a combo of formal training with a little OJT. However, I figured out early on that I wasn't going to make the military a career, nor was I going to be able to raise a family in relative comfort if I stayed in, so I pursued an Engineering degree while serving active duty. Took me forever to get my degree, but in the end, it was well worth the effort.

If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I think the military made me a better person, a better leader, and a lot wiser. I saw a lot of things that would give most people nightmares, sacrificed a lot of Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries, made great friends, and got to travel around the world.

We could be pointing High School students toward technical fields. But wait, the 20ll legislature just took $30 million away from school districts, hence, this option is no longer there either. So instead of a "free" tech education you have to go to one of those high-priced private schools like the Automobile Institute or UTI.

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