THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN OUR SCHOOLS AND THE WORKFORCE
I just finished watching a commercial sponsored by a College extolling the value of a college education in today’s economy. It occurred to me as I watched how out of touch they were with the actual marketability of a college degree in our post recession workforce. While there is no denying the overall value of a degree, to pitch this sheepskin as a valuable tool in securing a position is pure hype. Undoubtedly there are certain positions requiring a higher education for which there are an inadequate number of candidates, and I would urge anyone with the skill set needed to pursue both the education and the positions. However to broadly insinuate that in order to succeed you need a college degree is pure bunk. There are states out west that are offering huge hiring bonuses for welders, drillers etc for which experience and on the job training is far more valuable that a college education.
When America was in her greatest years, before we became too proud to work, get dirty and produce goods that we sold to the rest of the world, our educational system rather than belittle physical labor as a losing cause, was equipped to train everyone who passed through it, to not only pursue their dreams but to do so in an area for which they were best talented and equipped. Who but the oldest of us can remember high school woodworking classes, or yes even home economics which if nothing else trained our young women how to maintain a household budget? Trade schools were everywhere, teaching auto mechanics, welding, carpentry, machining etc. Today the goal is to load everyone with useless information required to pass an entrance exam to a college where in most cases they will waste the next four years of their lives going to parties, while accumulating debt which they will struggle with for years to come. Not to mention the tax dollars going to subsidize and guarantee these “low cost loans”.
It’s time to go back to that time when we produced the best automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators and televisions to name a few, putting millions of people to work at middle class wages. Let’s give up on the pipe dream that everyone in this country will work a thirty hour week, make a quarter of a million dollars a year, drive a Ferrari, put their kids through the best private schools and belong to the most prestigious country clubs just by getting a college degree. “It ain’t gonna happen”. We used to be the most innovative country in the world with the strongest and best trained work force producing products the entire world clamored to own. Isn’t it time we quit attempting to equalize everyone. There will always be people who thanks to a great gene pool will be the movers and shakers society needs and conversely there will always be a need for others to support their efforts. That’s just what makes the world go around. We desperately need to get our manufacturing abilities back on track if we ever again hope to dominate world trade. We aren’t going to do it with technology alone and expect everyone to have a job.