Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

March 2, 2005


Filed under: Education — Bunker @ 12:28 pm

Our public education system has been driving toward one goal in regards to students for many years now: Everyone gets a college education.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? In this push, all else has been relegated to the background. And there is a single, obvious problem with universal college education–not every job requires it.

So, how many jobs do? More important, how many don’t?

We’ve all heard stories of the college graduate that can’t find a job. What the story was really about was a college graduate who couldn’t find a job doing what he/she studied in college. Regardless of degree. I don’t have a solid idea of how many jobs there are in this country which don’t require a college education. There are quite a few that don’t require even a high school education. But if 90% of the people in this country graduate from college, most of them will find they have to work in a job that doesn’t require all that education.

How many truck drivers do we need? How many dry cleaners hire college grads? Most technicians have no college, even though most are doing demanding jobs. Think about the plumbers, electricians, air conditioning repairmen, roofers, masons, carpenters, landscapers, glaziers, welders, automobile repairmen, and machinists. Hanging sheetrock isn’t a glamorous job, but it can pay well, and requires experience to do well. I would venture to guess that your average college graduate cannot do any of those jobs well. I’m a mechanical engineer and can do a lot of those jobs, but in no way are my skills at the same level as theirs. When I need that kind of work done, I hire someone with the skills. And they charge me the going rate. Entrepreneurs.

The only way to become a millionaire is to own and operate your own business, and/or be extremely fastidious. College helps, but isn’t the total answer.

So how do you measure success? The Education Establishment measures success in college diplomas. Ask the guy running his own music store how he measures success.

1 Comment

  1. Well, you nailed it again. Of course, not everyone needs, or can get, a college education. I equate a college degree today to a high school diploma of my day (1954). Now, I’m not saying physics and the other sciences are not up to par, I am saying it about the humanity and liberal art degrees. It is a scam, it takes the time of the students and the money paid to enroll them. (not to mention the costs of the text books.)
    One thing we need to do is emphasize that a good job, honest and done with the right attitude is as honorable as any with or without a college degree. POWER TO THE PLUMBERS!!!! and electricians and painters, and paperhangers. An honest days work for an honest pay.

    Comment by Ruth H — March 2, 2005 @ 5:00 pm

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