School of hard shocks: Do all kids need college today?

Public Agenda and the Urban Institute sponsored an interesting panel last week on the “School of Hard Shocks.” In listening to the debate, I found both sides made excellent points on whether college for all is the right approach.

On one hand, we are sending many students to college who do not finish. (Later this week, I am going to write about a new book that suggests part of that problem is that many low-income students with high potential are going to colleges that are too easy for them and that don’t move students along to graduation.)

On the other hand, what kind of future is there today for an 18-year-old without a college degree? Are the alternative programs effective in giving kids the lifetime job skills they need?

“As a nation, we prided ourselves in expanding the opportunity to attend college and have held out a college degree, usually a bachelor’s degree, as an appropriate goal for everyone,” said Urban Institute president Robert D. Reischauer, former head of the Congressional Budget Office.

“We haven’t asked many of the more difficult questions, such as should everyone go to college,” said Reischauer. “Are there other training opportunities that might be better for some, better for society and less costly for the individuals and society? We are very good at enrolling students, but how good are we at graduating them?”

Both the Bush and the Obama White Houses have pushed more Americans to attend college, citing the urgency of economic restructuring, job creation and global competitiveness.

“We have seen there is a rising sense that you can’t make it unless you go to college … that it is the only thing,’’ said Public Agenda executive vice president Jean Johnson.

And that hurts the many young people for whom college is not a good fit, said panelist Robert Lerman, an Urban Institute fellow and an American University economics professor.

“We have evolved into this highly academic-based system for all students,” said Lerman. “We only have a modest number of alternative routes.”

I have visited some technical colleges and seen  great programs teaching kids valuable and sought-after skills, such as auto mechanics and bio-medicine. But when you look at vo-tech course catalogs, you also see a lot of child care and elder care classes and I am not sure those certificates will lead to careers that will pay enough to support a family.

Do we have the sophisticated apprenticeship programs that ready kids for good careers like those in Germany and Switzerland? And does a child of 15 or 16 know enough about life to choose either a college or apprenticeship route, as students in those countries? (Actually, in some countries, the sorting is done for you by means of your tests scores. The schools tell you whether you are college material or not.)

Our open system is credited with leveling the playing field, with making college available for all rather than only the elite. Indeed, the G.I.Bill sent a generation of working class students to college, creating the world’s best educated workforce in the latter part of the 20th century.

And most of the new jobs created in the last 30 years in this country have required come college. The evidence suggests that future jobs will also require some college.

So what is the right path for today’s students?

46 comments Add your comment

Old School

September 21st, 2009
11:09 am

This Thursday, DOL Commissioner Michael Thurmond will be speaking to our students. I’ve heard him several times and he repeats the same statistics that have held true for many many years: 80% of the jobs out there require some training beyond high school. 20% require a college degree. I’m sure there are a few jobs requiring neither but likely those are tasks no one would want to make a career of.

Despite my degrees and my teaching experience, I have made more money using my “shop” skills: furniture design & construction, drawing house plans, home construction/remodeling/repair, and I plan to continue using those skills when I retire.

I have no doubt that “some college” will be required in future jobs but I feel it will be Technical College that focuses on skills and technical expertise rather than academics (although practical application of the academics will always be integrated into technical training. . . it will just make sense then.)

The right path for students is the one that leads them to work that will support them, satisfy them, and encourage/allow them to keep learning. That’s not always colleges or universities. Sometimes it’s apprenticeships, on-the-job training, technical school, or the military.

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
11:29 am

Old School, I was thinking about this in relationship to my many cousins – my mother was one of eight – and which of them fared well and which did not. My generation was the first to have the opportunity to go to college. Doing a quick roll call, I realized that about 50 percent of my cousins went to college. And they are doing much better than those who did not, especially in this economy. While one of my cousins had a successful plumbing business, he did not have health insurance.(He bought it for his kids, but not for him.)
He had a major health issue that set him and his business back and now he’s having to essentially start from scratch. I have been surprised how many self-employed electricians and carpenters I know who forgo health insurance. Nor do they have retirement accounts. They all tell me they are going to have to work until they drop dead. (I will, too, but that reflects my choice to have four children.)
Maureen

Ernest

September 21st, 2009
11:30 am

The ‘right path’ is for today’s students to have choices. While I appreciate greater rigor in our K-12 curriculum, I don’t believe all students should go to college immediately after High School. I believe alternate career paths should be provided for those that may want to go into the workforce out our high school.

That said, what many of us formerly knew as ‘vocational education’ is alive and well under the name of ‘career technology’ and ‘work ready programs’. Speaking of DeKalb, all but two high schoosl have at least one work place certification program. Combining this with the joint enrollment program at the local technical college, students can graduate with both a high school diploma and workplace certificate. I understand that DeKalb leads the state in providing workplace certifications to students. Unfortunately, not many are aware of these programs, both adults and students. Something needs to be done from a ‘messaging’ standpoint to help create greater awareness.

Ernest

September 21st, 2009
11:32 am

I think another post was eaten….

Disney

September 21st, 2009
11:37 am

Maureen, Your choice to have four children has and will bring you more riches than you can imagine…even with their messy rooms and sometimes outrageous actions!

Disney

September 21st, 2009
11:42 am

On being Ernest: Copy those posts, and if a post does not appear, just re-submit it. I too have had many — no, all — of my posts eaten up by the Filter Monster. This is why you have just now seen me, Brother Disney, on your screen. Here-to-fore, my posts were all eaten! Not.

Disney

September 21st, 2009
11:44 am

On being Ernest: My post was also eaten up by the Filter Monster!

DeKalb Conservative

September 21st, 2009
11:44 am

A tangent to this issue is the diminished value of a high school diploma and in some cases a 4-year (5-6 years at some SEC schools) undergraduate degree.

The underlying issue perhaps is determining what age a person really “grows up” and becomes a mature thinking adult. Most college graduates struggle for the first 5 years after graduating. By that time a non-degree earning person would have been out of high school for almost a decade!

DeKalb Conservative

September 21st, 2009
11:52 am

The separation here needs to be the following: college bound (with completion), vocationally skilled and non vocationally skilled. It is important to note if you go down the college bound path, but do not finish, you are categorized as “non vocationally skilled.”

I know many people with vocational backgrounds that became “small business heads of industry” in their community. Though they always keep a chip on their shoulder about not having more education, they are very modest about the number of jobs they create, the positive tax impact that their success has on the community. People here are some of the most successful people I know.

Those impacted the worst are “non vocationally skilled” h.s. graduates, which includes those that started college, but did not complete. These folks are in limbo – they are too low skilled vocationally to be effective as little more than laborers (not specialists). They also lack the credentials that would get them into a professional environment. Though there are always exceptions of the dishwasher that saved his money and eventually bought a restaurant, the chances for these folks are limited.

If you subscribe to liberal theory, you could say they “lost the lottery in life.” If you stand for more conservative principles you could say these folks failed their opportunities to harness their educational prospects to become either professionally skilled, or vocationally skilled.

College isn’t the right path for everyone, but neither is becoming a skilled artisan.

Joy in Teaching

September 21st, 2009
12:00 pm

As my daddy used to say, the world will always need ditch diggers. None of those actually need college degrees.

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
12:05 pm

DeKalb Conservative, I believe Census data shows that even people with some college fare better than high school students with vo-tech degrees. My understanding from the data is that even if student do not finish college, they earn more than high school grads who did not go at all.
Maureen

DeKalb Conservative

September 21st, 2009
12:25 pm

@ Maureen

I agree with your census data 100%, however the data never seems to get analyzed quite right when analyzing how “some college” gets treated. Also, the potential earning time lost and investment in college tuition for those that begin, but do not complete can be significant.

One other component that tends to skew the numbers are MRS degrees – women who get married during college and don’t complete the degree. Being from the north I thought this went out of style in the 1950’s, but was surprised to learn from my wife who is from TN that the practice is alive and well today.

jim d

September 21st, 2009
12:30 pm

Mo,

No offense meant dear but some of us are smarter than your cousin.

I own my own business in the trades—employee 10-12 people–provide them and myself with health insurance. One would have to be a really bad businessman, or an idiot, not to realize the risk of not having adequate insurance. (no college degree necessary to crunch the numbers on that one)

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
12:32 pm

I am surprised that the MRS degree matters as the average age to get married in the United States is 25 for women and 27 for men. It may be that women in the Northeast marry at 28 and women in the South marry at 22.
Anyone have regional ages for first marriage?

jim d

September 21st, 2009
12:36 pm

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
12:37 pm

jim d,
No offense taken.
But based on the number of uninsured in this country, I think a lot of people either can’t afford health insurance or bank on continued good health. It is also interesting how many young people coming out of college are going into jobs that don’t offer health insurance. I read a recent story about the lack of health insurance among twentysomethings and the numbers were startling.
In this market, they can’t afford to wait for jobs with better benefits.

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
12:39 pm

At least you didn’t say Alabama. It’s time to get another border state annoyed at us, if the water wars aren’t sufficient.

jim d

September 21st, 2009
12:40 pm

What’s gonna happen to them setting behind a desk?

All I’m saying is the jobs many scoff at actually provide more benefits. Do your wage survey’s college no college take that into consideration?

jim d

September 21st, 2009
12:42 pm

I can joke about Tn. Cause my blood runs ORANGE—-GO VOLS!!

jim d

September 21st, 2009
12:45 pm

and BTW it’s 12 in AL. (if they are related)

Lee

September 21st, 2009
12:49 pm

Do ALL kids need college? No. Do kids need something beyond the high school degree? Most definately.

As little as thirty years ago, a kid could graduate high school and walk into a blue collar manufacturing job (GM, Ford, Lockheed to name a few) and make a pretty good living. Thanks to NAFTA and other short sighted economic policies, those days are a distant memory – and the few remaining jobs require a level of sophistication that is probably beyond the scope of most high school graduates.

To complicate matters, the manual labor type jobs are now being manned by the 20-30 million illegal aliens who have effectively driven down the living wage in those areas. (Another round of thanks to our short sighted politicians…)

The choice is simple – earn a degree or learn a trade.

One caveat to the above, choose wisely. About 75% of the undergraduate degree programs out there are crap as far as financial rewards go.

DeKalb Conservative

September 21st, 2009
12:54 pm

@ Maureen

I really think this would an interesting topic to pursue (the wedding ages). I’m from MA. I hold both an undergrad and a graduate degree. At the pace I was going in MA I would need to be 35 with two people working just to afford a 1500 sq ft ranch.

Where my wife is from in the Nashville suburbs, they are able to get married in their early twenties, start a family, have only the husband work and own a large brick home (for some reason brick, perhaps because of labor costs, are no where to be found on middle class homes in MA).

Tom

September 21st, 2009
12:54 pm

All “kids” need either a technical or vacational education. Not everyone needs a four year college degree. Unemployed MBA’s are a dime a dozen; mechanics, industrial maintenance, electricians, etc. are hard to find. One does need to have a skill.

We all have to understand that “college’s/education are businesses”, they like to have students enrolled for the cash flow. Colleges really don’t care about student graduation. But, they like to have grad students teach classes so professors can do research and get grants.

Ernest

September 21st, 2009
1:01 pm

Maureen:

This could be an interesting article for the AJC, choices that are available for students post high school. As mentioned earlier, I contend many may not be aware of education options available in our high schools. Some of the local unions like the IBEW and Masons are partnering with some of the schools with hopes of finding the workers for tomorrow.

Count me among those that believe ’some’ type of education is needed beyond high school. As the old saying goes, “the more paper you earn, the more paper you can make”.

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
1:02 pm

I hope you haven’t set off the Crimson Tide fans. With recent posts on education issues at UGA and Tech, I discovered that the fans of their sports teams respond to almost anything said about their schools. And even if the topic is safety or SAT scores, they talk football.
Unlike most of us here who post long comments, these sports bloggers post brief comments.
However, the comments tend to fall into “Your mother wears army boots.”

DeKalb Conservative

September 21st, 2009
1:14 pm

@ Tom

“Unemployed MBA’s are a dime a dozen; mechanics, industrial maintenance, electricians, etc. are hard to find. One does need to have a skill.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. I hold an MBA and I nag all the time that it is a worthless achievement without specialization and a particular “skill set” similar in concept to how a vocational student specializes.

Regardless of your educate level, specialists get paid more than generalists.

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
1:16 pm

Ernest. One of the studies I wish the state would do is follow its vo-tech graduates and chart salaries and job options over time. I know that DTAE once did a mail survey of graduates and most respondents said they had good jobs and were satisfied, but I would love to see a true study of what the worth of a vo-tech degree is and whether the state’s investment is paying off
I remember Dr. Gary Henry – who was the GSU researcher who tracked the impact of HOPE — telling me that the state wasn’t realizing a big return on its HOPE grants, which pay technical college tuition and do not have any GPA requirement attached to them. The state has stopped that reseach, but it would great to know whether there has been an economic return from the HOPE grants. (Dr. Henry is now at UNC.)
Maureen

Maureen Downey

September 21st, 2009
1:19 pm

DeKalb Conservative and Tom.
But the Wall Street Journal recently noted that those suffering the least in this recession are those with the greatest education. Job losses were greatest for those with the least formal education. The more education, the fewer layoffs.
Maureen

Old School

September 21st, 2009
1:22 pm

Not so long ago, my brother (in his early 50s) found himself looking for a job after the plant where he was employed was bought out and closed down. He was willing to do most any type of job but because he had a business degree, he was turned down as being over-qualified. A number of the jobs he applied for were in city & county services (we’re a small town down here) and the people doint the hiring usually were high school graduates. Mind you, they are pretty good at their jobs but evidently intimidated by anyone with a degree. He is now an in-home caregiver for our mom and is paid from her small retirement income. The only reason he had the degree is that he did not want to be the only one in the family without one. Mom completed her BA at age 78, my brother at age 40.

I think there are a lot of morals in his story: A degree can be a hinderance to getting any job; you are never too old to go to college; getting a degree can be for personal satisfaction; and often the people in control can be blinded by the paper that degree is printed on.

Old School

September 21st, 2009
1:24 pm

Please forgive the “doint” error. I honestly meant “doing” and just let my fingers run amok.

25female

September 21st, 2009
1:30 pm

I have not been to college or vocational school but through working have acquired the skills necessary to work a successful corporate job. The head of IT at my company is also not affiliated with any vocational school or college. I think it’s a real problem to send kids right out of high school to college, where they do little work and major in things like “liberal arts”. Send kids to work out of high school – let them see what the world needs from them and then college or vocational school can send them deeper in the direction where they are the most useful and the most talented.

Tony

September 21st, 2009
1:33 pm

Labor statistics are also loaded and slanted just as US test scores are frequently, wrongfully maligned.

Someone will begin the sentence by saying “The fastest growing sector in the job market are science, technology and math related fields.” What’s not stated is how few jobs there are in relation to the overall job market.

It turns out that the largest block of jobs is in the service sector – store clerks, food service, hair care, ….

While it is important for our children to have the very best educational opportunities possible, it is not necessary for us to force feed the college dream to every one of them. A good, well-rounded education will give children options as they grow into adults, but I don’t think it is necessary to try to prepare everyone for college. In fact, I believe it is harmful to our education of those headed to college.

Let me explain what I mean. As a teacher of physics and chemistry, the students who entered my classes were usually college bound. With science requirements the way they are now, the teachers of these courses are being forced to adapt the content for the masses rather than those with keen interest. This is counter-productive.

I do not believe that we should force all students to take one track or the other, either. This is the European way and it means that teens are locking in to a career track with few options open to them after school. The American dream is based on our system that allows those willing to put in the work to earn their way. This means that even though a kid may thoroughly screw up in high school, they are not doomed for life – as long as they are willing to put in the effort to overcome the obstacles they created.

The current trend in Georgia is based on preparing everyone for college. I think this is misguided, but I also believe the political forces are pushing in this direction. This means it is coming from somewhere besides educators. The math requirement is a good example of one of the weaknesses. The current math plan (which I like, by the way) is based on analytical math skills. This type of math is not needed for everyone.

I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point.

Ernest

September 21st, 2009
2:09 pm

Maureen:

That WOULD be an interesting survey however like most, would be flawed because there is not a way to measure the motivation for each student. I guess you could simply look at the percentage of students that became more ‘employable’ after using the Hope Grant versus those that either did not complete their studies and/or remained unemployed.

Like everyone else, I’ve seen the studies showing where the more education one has, the greater the income earning potential. One still has to ask if the individual is happy with what they are doing. We all may know someone that makes pretty good money but are unhappy with what they do. By the same token, we know some that make a reasonable living and are happy with what they do.

To the point of your blog, Old School said it best with her first post, 80% of the jobs out there require some training beyond high school. 20% require a college degree. . Curriculum’s should be rigorous enough to prepare students for success in college however alternatives should be provided for those seeking to go into the workforce after high school.

Tony

September 21st, 2009
3:01 pm

MD-Regarding the Wall Street Journal stats on degrees and unemployment-

Keep in mind that there are a few somewhat recession-proof, large-scale employers that require degreed employees. Schools are one and healthcare facilities are the other.

Sarge

September 21st, 2009
3:23 pm

Outside of the currently rotten employment picture, perhaps the biggest concern of job seekers is being deemed over-qualified, either by way of experience or credentials. While it may or may not be the ideal scenario, perhaps a combination of a trade certification and a degree, A.S. or B.S., would place perspective employees in a positive light. Many fields in the engineering disciplines, and health care delivery, begin with training programs which lead to “hands-on” certification plus a grounding in the academic disciplines leading to an Associate Degree. Degree or not, the key is maintaining recurrent training in one’s chosen field. Rather than being viewed as overqualified, the prospective employer, in all probability, would view the candidate as being professionaly commited to the field and to the job. It never hurts, of course, to aggresively pursue a regimen of self-study. How one presents one’s self, for example, by way of the written word speaks volumns as to employability. Therefore, in line with gaining the proper mix of schooling, one should, as impersonaly and impartialy as humanly possible, conduct self-analysis in order to identify those areas in which one would benefit by way of self-improvement.

em

September 21st, 2009
3:39 pm

Because the current trend is to “prepare” every student for college, I fear we are preparing no one. The school where I teach lauds itself on sending more than the state average to college. Unfortunately, the statistics we do not know yet are how many are keeping the HOPE after a year and how many are completing college with a degree. With the State averages at 28.8 percent and 49 percent respectively, it does not look too promising. Students would be better served if they had more choices between academic and real vocational courses. Maybe, just maybe, if the State of Georgia put more emphasis on vo-tech education, the state would not lose out to neighboring states when competing for companies to build here. I always thought that the purpose of a public education was to produce a productive citizen. Besides, if there is one thing I’ve learned from my brother who just graduated from college at age 48, it’s that there are ways to go college no matter what your diploma track was in high school.

Ernest

September 21st, 2009
4:17 pm

That Filter Monster must either be extremely hungry for my posts as it has eaten another one? Not sure what it does not like…

catlady

September 21st, 2009
6:07 pm

Maureen–avoid simplistic tabulations to infer causation.

I think we should do more to help students determine fields of interest in high school. Too many students “pick” a career because it sounds good, without having the slightest idea what it entails to be prepared or what the career actually DOES.

I think our vocation education departments in Georgia high schools should be strengthened and we should do far more to ease the transition into GOOD vocational colleges (unlike so many we have now with the same, 1970s, worn out curriculum). Articulation is the word I am looking for.

I think we should quit dumbing down our requirements and expectations. And we should put a lot more money into educating the gifted and advanced students, and get them out of lump lump classes filled with dumb, unmotivated, disruptive students.

The world is a pretty unforgiving place, but we seem to think everyone deserves one more chance, over and over and over again ad naseum.

Lee

September 21st, 2009
6:46 pm

It’s been my observation that those in academia place an inordinate amount of emphasis on the attainment of degrees. The current salary structure only serves to reinforce this attitude by rewarding those who obtain more and more degrees.

In public schools, you want more money, go back to college and get your (Masters, Specialist, Phd).

As a result, it is no surprise that those in the education field would emphasize the college prep track.

Unfortunately, many students, myself included, tend to wander aimlessly until our career path is thrust upon us. I envy those students who “know” what they want to do at the ripe old age of eighteen.

Maureen's accountability metric

September 21st, 2009
7:30 pm

So the outcry from the blogsphere and other places reached such a critical mass that Andre Jackson finally had to address the CRCT cheating scandal.

So what’s the first thing Andre Jackson, representing the editorial conscious of the AJC, wants to make sure the readers do?

He wants us to make sure that APS higher ups, whose actions haven’t been defended by a single educational or political leader in this state gets “credit”?

“Credit” Andre?

The AFLAC duck just did a double take; then soiled himself.

APS after stonewalling to the point that even the governor and state DOE officials felt they had to intervene, does the least possible thing it can do to claim it did something, by finally placing an assistant principal on leave, and Andre Jackson, above all else, wants to make sure we give APS “credit”?

And this is the same paper that prides itself on being a “watchdog”?

Sure, Jackson followed with some words that, while in no way could they be described as hard hitting, were at least mildly critical, but by that point his intentions were so transparent, one could make the case he should be forced by truth in advertising laws to legally change his name to Saran Wrap.

What’s next for Jackson, an editorial demanding we give Bernie Madoff “credit” for his charity work?

Maureen, we haven’t forgotten that you promised us a column on the CRCT scandal as well.
We can only hope that you can summon your inner watchdog and go where, for whatever reason, Andre and the editorial board dare not tread.

Gwinnett Parent

September 21st, 2009
8:57 pm

A college degreed workforce will not make us more competitive globally, as Obama suggests. Highly skilled Engineering and Finance jobs are moving overseas along with the unskilled positions.

A degree alone does not prepare someone for success or job security. To make it in the future a person needs to get rid of the “employee” mindset and think like a business owner. This means acquiring skills that can be offered as an independent contractor as well as an employee. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find a job, make one”. Also, a degree is useless unless you have passion, experience and creativity. Academics will only get you so far. Math was not my strong point in college and I earned more than my classmates with technical degrees(Engineering & Computer Science). I jumped into sales after college and currently own a business. Neither one of these professions require a degree. There are a lot of plumbers and auto mechanics that earn more than a lot of advanced degreed professionals. My degree in Marketing and minor in Spanish helped on a small scale. It was not a total waste of time. However, the real education and skill building began after college.

whatever

September 21st, 2009
11:18 pm

Enter your comments here
A college education is no guarantee that a person will have a job when they graduated. My daughter graduated from college with a Liberal Arts Degree. That and a couple of bucks will get her a cup of coffee. She is now works as an A.V. tech for a company that does conventions and lighting and sound for big events such as fairs and major performances. She makes big bucks but has to travel all the time. Her husband graduated from college then finished law school in the top 10% of his class at Ohio State. But because of the field of law he chose to pursue (He wants to work as a prosecutor) he is unable to find work. So not all people should or should be required to get a college degree to get a well paying job.

Magenta

September 22nd, 2009
8:48 am

Instead of “degrees,” we should be talking about “credentials.” Plenty of people walk away with a Bachelor of Arts and no job prospects, while others can earn a certificate in auto repair or massage and make a decent living. We also need a better way for EVERYONE to balance education with work. Right now it’s just too easy to leave school to join the work force, but try leaving work to return full-time to school. It’s like climbing Mt. Everest.

LutherV

September 22nd, 2009
9:51 am

Jim D, you told us last year that you earned your B. S. and M. S. degrees from UGA. Now you are telling Maureen that your “blood runs orange”?! So, you have forsaken your Dogs, your alma mater, to pull for Lane Kiffen?! I am very disappointed in you.

Sarge

September 22nd, 2009
10:00 am

Responding to Lee’s observation on the gaining of advanced degrees, in the public education system, for the purpose of achieving additional income…first and foremost, one should never aspire to the academic life, leading to degrees of any flavor, for the sole purpose of “more money” in the work place. Fortunately or not…for good or for not-good, the education field seems to be the exception. During my short foray into that arena, I observed many fine educators, both with minimum academic credentials, and many with more letters following their nom de guerres than one is apt to find in alphabet soup! However, it also became quite apparent that more than a few of these educators, with months and months “on the platform” were, nonetheless, in positions of great responsibility (and presumably great incomes) due, in no small part, to their advanced academic standing. As in the Chevy Chase movie “Spies Like Us”, everyones’ first name becomes “Doctor”.

Advanced degrees, beyond the Bachelors level, are fine as long as there is a balance between practical experience and academic achievement. According to news reports, it would appear that many recent graduates, rather than face the currently-dismal employment picture, are opting to remain in the world of academe for the purpose of gaining advanced credentialing. I don’t know if this is a good idea or not for the following reasons: 1) ROI (Return on Investment)…can the graduate reasonably expect to “make that much more money”, or other forms of “psycic income”? 2) With a prospective employee being “top-heavy” in schooling and with no practical experience, the would-be employer would probably view the candidate as either “overqualed” (too many letters) or, with no hands-on knowledge, “unqualed”.

Are there any “ideal” scenarios? In the end, it’s all one big guessing game…what works under one set of circumstances may be disastrous otherwise. To the recent grads of trade schools and universities everywhere, I can only say “Good Luck and Godspeed”!

jim d

September 22nd, 2009
2:38 pm

Luther,

I fear you have confused me with someone else. I earned my degrees at the school of hard knocks over the past 40 + years.

As for my dogs? well there’s Smokie in the SEC and the General in the SOCON