Monday, July 25, 2011
Guest Post: Who needs a degree in ditch digging?
Kids just don't listen. Parents just don't listen. Kids born when Caddyshack came out in 1980 are about ten years removed from college. God only knows how much debt they still have at this point. Not really my problem, but I will say this, "I tried to warn you."
I was inspired to blog from the great beyond for two reasons: 1) Amy Winehouse is driving me crazy already (between her and Dangerfield, I feel like I'm in hell), 2) The New York Times recently ran a story about the over-saturation of higher education.
I understand the need for people to be smart. I hate stupid people. But a college education and the debt associated with it is not always the smartest choice. Back in my day, a kid would graduate high school with a skill (or set of skills) that would allow them to put bread on the table thanks to "shop" classes: metal shop, wood shop, auto shop, etc. There were guys in my high school who witnesses vocational success and went on to become foremen and even run their own shops. Boys who dreamt of being fire fighters, cops and cowboys, could make a living without a master's degree in fire science, correctional justice or animal husbandry. They chose blue collars over academic regalia. Others, like myself, went on to college to earn degrees and work in less dirty fields. Both are necessary.
Today, those shop classes are all but gone and forgotten. Math, Science, Engineering, Technology are the drivers today. The dummies running our schools--nay, the dummies making educational policy...my lawyer friends--must not think that Math, Science, Engineering and Technology are strewn throughout subjects formerly taught in the "shops."
Now we have all these kids, dropping out of high school because there is no longer a clear career path for those who want to dig ditches, or more and more go on to college. The ones who go to college, graduate with a ton of debt, cannot find a good job, and still join country clubs. I don't want that riff raff cluttering up my fairways.
Colleges need to be held more accountable for job placement. Private sector employers need to be more realistic about the skills/education necessary to do a job. K-12 policymakers need to think seriously about children left behind by No Child Left Behind and the weakening of the foundation as we Race to the Top.
I gotta go. I'm playing 19 holes with St. Peter. I need to talk to him about who he's letting through the gate.
About the Author:
Judge Elihu Smails is a bigoted and stodgy member of Bushwood Country Club. While his views are tilted toward the elite, he understands the importance of balance and order. His "ditch digger philosophy" remains his most important contribution to mankind.