Monday, February 22, 2016

Maybe your kid shouldn't go to college


Don’t assume that the college track is the only life path that makes sense for your high school senior.

I'm talking about what we all think of as the four-year college experience.


Try asking your child if she wants to go to college. Try asking your child what kind of career training he’d like to have.

Maybe the answers will surprise you.

Two recent commentaries are worth your time:

Michael Petrilli on Slate.com   lays it on the line:
“Kid, I’m sorry, but you’re just not college material.”

Valerie Strauss on WashingtonPost.com asks this policy question:
“Who should decide who is college material and who isn’t?
   
Obviously, parents and their almost-high-school-graduate kids are the folks who need to do the heavy lifting on this issue.

For starters, parents need to stop insisting that their kids must go to college.

Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post takes the trouble to point out that about 70% of real life jobs don’t require a college degree….  see College isn't for everyone part I

and yet, way more than half of high school graduates go to college (of course, not all of them actually get a degree).

In general, college costs way too much for what you get. If you want some amplification on this point, talk to a recent graduate who’s still looking for a job.

And here’s the thing: not everybody is qualified to be successful in college. Notice, I’m not arguing against the “right” of every kid to go to college, I’m just saying that a lot of college freshmen don’t have the skills and mental horsepower to get passing grades and graduate. For example, last year only 43% of the high school students who took the SATs scored high enough to be successful in the college classroom.  See College isn't for everyone part II

Too many college students end their college careers with no degree and lots of student debt, and too many college graduates leave the campus with lots of student debt.

The whole mantra about “every child should go to college” is based on wishful thinking and ignorance or indifference about the real-life certainty that a lot of kids couldn’t possibly succeed on the college campus. Neither their parents nor you and I (i.e., taxpayers) should spend a pile of money to pay for ultimate failure.


As a matter of national policy, let’s decide that every high school graduate should have the opportunity to go on to get suitable training for a job/career that’s compatible with the student’s capabilities and interests.

So somebody can write a column with this headline:
“Hey kid, good news, you’re gonna get education/training that’s right for you.”









Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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