The notion that everyone should go to college, or that anyone is “college material” is nonsense. Not everyone has an interest in going to college and those who don’t should not be ostracized for pursuing a field that does not require a college or university degree.
I am a firm believer that every school district, whenever possible, should have two high schools: one trade school and one that’s academic-oriented. When that is not available, an alternative path should be offered to high school students with an emphasis on either option in coursework.
There is no dishonor in pursuing either trade or academic paths, so long as it is in the individuals’ interest-based decision – as opposed to expectations from peers or parents. Success should not be based on one’s salary or any number of indicators aside from a life well-spent and doing what you enjoy and do best.
This leads me to another commentary about our society. Namely, I am incredibly aggravated that another “hand-out” is upon us — namely the $10K and $20K hand-out for targeted income college students with unpaid student loans.
As a former Adjunct Professor, I spent about 7 years instructing at both public and private colleges and universities. Upon reflection, I did not witness any academic superiority among the students at private institutions vs. public ones. What is worse, is that it is not unusual for some private institutions to cost more than 4 times as much as public ones. Therefore, a student could spend four years completing a degree in tuition fees compared to 1 years’ tuition in a private university.
As I think about this uneasy reality, I wonder how many students who are currently in debt decided to attend private institutions instead of public ones.
I can’t imagine how angry some individuals who paid off their student debt—now financially responsible– feel about seeing others who may not be, getting $10K or $20K in relief.
For that matter, how about those individuals who did not go to college and who are in debt? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 1/3 of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree. Should they be forgotten or penalized? Should they get a $10K or $20K hand-out as well?
Parents and students should carefully consider whether a private university is truly worth the greatly added expense instead of selecting a public university. In some rare cases, a private university may offer a course of study toward a unique degree but the same can be said of a public university as well.
Lastly, should you or your child actually go to college or university?
Ira H. Schoen
Mr. Schoen is currently a security consultant for the private sector. Before retiring from the Federal Government, he was a Risk Manager for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Mr. Schoen also worked for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Library of Congress during his 30 years of public service. After leaving the Federal Government, he was an Adjunct Professor in Criminal Justice at George Mason University and Westwood College. Mr. Schoen holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University.