barrybbegault
My Voice – The Daily Rant!

The value of a college degree… Uh, huh?

So the “No Child Left Behind” program is supposed to prepare our kids for a college education. But what about those kids that don’t want to/can’t go to college? Who says that they HAVE to earn a college degree? What about our mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers and all of the other trades that don’t necessarily need a full-blown college degree?

Let’s get real on this! The last survey I read about the number of workers in Houston that had college degrees was 29%!  So what about the other 71%? Does that mean they’re uneducated? Of course not! These valuable employees may not become the next corporate executive ( I say MAY not, OK?). But their skill as a painter, cabinet-maker, plumber, x-ray tech, or janitor, is vital to a thriving economy. These positions are the basis for our modern society.

Their education may not be as formal as a college curriculum, but they are educated nonetheless! I had a very educated manager that I worked for as a contract programmer for a local hamburger franchise who once uttered this totally ignorant statement. He said, “A person cannot be a professional unless they have a college degree!”.  Really? So the crew that cuts my grass, or trims my oak tree are not professionals?  The team that painted the inside of my house and perfectly “cut in” at the ceiling, without getting paint on the ceiling weren’t professionals? Please!

These trades may not fit the total definition of a professional but part of the definition of a professional from Wikipedia states,’“Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally.”  This definition probably fits most of those of us working. We know our jobs inside out and when someone wants a “professional” in plumbing, then a plumber is going to be called.

I remember when I was going to high school, there were trade schools that taught mechanics, electronics, welding, and all kinds of trades. These people would attend classes for a year or so and get a certification as being professionally trained in the career of their choice. They would then go out in the world and earn a good living. They would be also well-respected since they had a certificate stating that they had the necessary educational tools to practice their trade.

I remember a few years ago I saw a special on one of the educational channels that showed that in Germany a high school student has to determine if they are going to be college bound by their sophomore year. If they decided that they didn’t have the desire to go to college, then they had to attend a job fair which most of the local companies participated. The student would then decide what company and trade he wanted for his/her profession.

Once the student picked the profession and company for their future, their high school curriculum would change to a life-style curriculum where life skills like applying for a job, and applying for a loan, balancing the checkbook,  and the stuff we all do in our lives was taught instead of the college bound curriculum. This would be taught for the 1st half of the day, then for the second half of the day, the student would apprentice at the company he or her chose to work for upon graduation from school.

By the time the student would graduate, he would have 2 years of apprenticeship, with his company, a sound basis of life-skills and an entry salary of a full-fledged journeyman  at his company! So now this kid enters society with an education and a job and has a future. No, he doesn’t have a college education but something far more important, the ability to earn a living and the skills to negotiate his life! He has not had to endure the stress of trying to get a college degree that he didn’t want in the first place but was drilled into him by his parents and the government that he HAD to get a college degree!

A buddy of mine says that we are a debt driven society and economy.  That the government wants everyone to have debt. What better way to accomplish that is to put a young person into a $40,000.00 + college debt for the next 20 years or so?

Come on America WAKE UP! College is not the cure for a great deal of our children. And by the dropout rates, and the inadequacy of our high schools to prepare students for college because our government is forcing our teachers to teach some ridiculous testing curriculum that is ONLY for passing the test. Then based on the number of students that pass this test their funding is calculated.   But in the mean time, most high school graduates cannot write a research paper, or even write a paragraph correctly. I discovered that when I went back to school a few years ago to finish my degree.  I was amazed at the number of 20 somethings that couldn’t write a simple paper!

This country needs to change a few things; abolish the “No child left behind.” crap and let the teachers begin to teach the students again, and not teach just to pass some test.  Allow students to fail and have to repeat a grade as some have had to do in the past. (Not me though!) Develop a program that allows our children an alternative to college and publicize the alternatives to a college degree.  Come on now this isn’t brain science, or rocket surgery!

Advertisements

No Responses to “The value of a college degree… Uh, huh?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: