What Do We Really Want (Need) Out of Higher Education?

What Do We Really Want (Need) Out of Higher Education?

What happens when one of your most valuable tools starts to degrade in value?  To go further, at some point, you might fear if it holds any value at all—just the average thing, or perhaps more eerily, nothing.


This is the speculation of a college education today. Whether it was what your parents convinced you as being dire to your future or what you told your kids to be the very same, with some speculation, ever-growing amounts of people are beginning to doubt the overall gain of a higher education.


So, why should any of us bother questioning the primary means to a solid employment? Well, that is because those means may not be so solid anymore. What is a little more disturbing is the needs and means for a college education have been consistently sloping downwards throughout the past few years.


According to this article, 40% of undergraduate students in college are unaware that the jobs they obtain graduating will not require the education they toiled after for four plus years.


So this leaves us with 60% of students needing a college degree for their job. If that did not make you cringe, perhaps this will. Only about 27% of that 60% will find a job that aligns with their major!


Not good. Not good at all.


What is the deal, then? Why have these numbers gone unnoticed? Why is America sending its kids to college to suffer a debt capable of lasting them years to pay off with a job they would have been able to get without going into debt in the first place?


As previously stated, not good at all.


Undoubtedly, it will not surprise you to discover the main cause to this dilemma—money.  Now, this is not to say Americans should not be going to college. If all you receive alongside your diploma is a “college experience,” there has still been much gained. However, when someone is paying debt at age 50, they must question the true impact of student loans, regardless of how good (or bad) college was to him or her.


The aforementioned article by Jeffrey Snider puts the monetary issue into better words:


It is the dream “stimulus” package of all-time: an entire system of economic advancement that creates an increase in aggregate demand and jobs, all backed by monetary prowess. But what would happen if the credit or government largesse were turned off tomorrow? It would collapse almost totally because demand is held artificially high by that same monetary “prowess.”


Moreover, this “monetary prowess” is the symbolism of a cookie cutter lifestyle we are supposed to be living to be “successful.” Huge public interference with the education system is not as fancy or nice as it sounds. Yes, the government should put money into its schooling. No, not everyone should follow the government’s method to get a job. Now, you can see why the 40% of unaware students are a lovely dine and wine platter for Uncle Sam. Not everyone fits the mold, and that’s okay. With that being said, the government needs a change.


Here is what Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had to say on the matter:


“I recognize the great potential of local schools and parents who are allowed the freedom to manage their own children’s educational needs, according to the community they live in, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all federal government approach that has been proven to not work for most kids,” Paul said.


Paul also placed the responsibility of education on the nation’s parents.


“The responsibility for education ultimately lies with the parents and education is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children,” Paul said. “I believe that parents should be empowered to take an active role in their children’s education. I support reduced taxes and increased flexibility so families can choose the most effective educational institution for their child, whether it be public, private, charter, homeschool or online.”


As the people who will ultimately make the final call on the matter, what are the main issues you find within the system of higher education? Is there anything we have forgotten to mention? Feel free to bring them up on our Facebook or Twitter accounts to continue this much-needed conversation.


Read more on Rand Paul’s thoughts on higher education on his website, and be a part of the movement.  If you want to read more about school choice you can click here.


(Photo Courtesy of Wolfram Burner via Flickr Creative Commons)



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