My classic 1990 Chevy Donk was practically spewing coolant.
I know very little about cars and bar something that is obvious AND within the fixability of the limited amount of tools I have, I usually have a mechanic friend of mine fix my car. However my mechanic friend is actually quite busy and quite successful, and this seemed to be something simple like a thermostat and so instead of waste his time, I contacted a friend's younger brother who is enrolled at the Dunwoody Institute for auto mechanics.
Dave stopped by, took two looks at it, BOOM, had it fixed for $20 in parts and $20 in labor, and the donk lives to drive another day.
But what Dave reminded me of, in his very quick and cheap fix of my car, is how the US education system today is broken to the point of obsolesence.
Dave, did a very very naughty thing according to conventional educational wisdom;
He went to a tech school.
There he learned a trade that everybody needs, but did not get a bachelors and will therefore not be able to become a failed quant over at Goldmans Sachs where he will make $250,000 to run the company into the ground. Tisk tisk tisk.
But how stupid is Dave, really?
Currently Dave is employed and I (with my top ranked degree) am not.
Dave is also immensely more employable than I am in that financial services are laying people off, while industries that repair things cheaper than buying them new are booming.
And whereas everybody could use economic wisdom and advice, they're not willing to pay for it unless you have a nice suit and work for one of those bankrupt companies. EVERYBODY is willing to pay for a good, but cheap mechanic, especially if their car breaks down.
The only thing one can deduce from Dave's versus my education, is that Dave got a better one.
Now this is the primary problem with the US education system. It is NOT about preparing youth for the real world by arming them with employable skills. It's now about two things;
1. Generating money for those who work in the education industry
2. Brainwashing youth for political purposes, namely to vote in the future in the best interests of the education industry.
Or sure, they put it under the guise of "intellectual enlightenment." That education isn't all about just making more money (scoff scoff). Hoity toity academics claiming education somehow has a higher purpose than just training the masses to produce. But in the end, sorry boys and girls, reality wins and the reality is that education SHOULD be to train the masses with employable skills so they might have better lives in the future. And here is where the education institution fails miserably and makes itself progressively obsolete and unneeded.
First off look at most conventional colleges and what is required to get a simple bachelors degree. I don't know about you, but LESS THAN HALF the classes I took in college had anything to do with my degree. Accounting, Finance, and Economics classes were dwarfed by the amount of philosophy, theater, english, psychology, "pre-requisite" crap I had to take in order to get a "well rounded" education.
Let us not fool ourselves. This has nothing to do with making you "well rounded." It's to employ all the other idiots that majored in philosophy, pscyhology, foreign languages, etc. as TA's because the harsh reality (there's that word again) is that outside academia, THERE ARE NO JOBS FOR PHILOSOPHY MAJORS. To graduate from the U of MN's liberal arts college YOU HAVE TO TAKE TWO YEARS OF A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. WHY? You'll never use it. But hey, you employed several TA's for two years. Good for you. It's the test of whether a degree or study is worthwhile or not. If the only thing you can do with the degree is reteach it to future students, then the degree is worthless. If it has a practical application outside college, then it's worthwhile. Right now I'd say about 65% of the degrees being issued are worthless.
This is the second point about education becoming obsolete. It is no longer an education. It is a hobby for spoiled children. Brainwashed and told they MUST go to college (but without any explanation WHY they should go) kids pick degrees that reflect faux intellectual hobbies and approach NOTHING that is a true education.
Are you kidding me? Just listen to talk radio or watch the news.
Can't you just read the books they'd force you to read in college AND save on the tuition AND have the same employment prospects?
It's one thing to practically extort money from the student body to make all of them take 2 year's worth of this garbage, but to allow poor students to waste their time and money earning a full degree in these things is criminal.
This brings up a third point; the value of the degree.
I lament just how much more I could have learned had I been allowed to take more finance and economics classes instead of being forced to take HR or "marketing" or "logic." I theorize most engineering and computer science majors resented having to take worthless liberal arts courses. Imagine instead of 2 years of garbage and then 2 years of practical study, if all 4 years were dedicated and focused on ONE study. The amount one would learn would certainly be near double and the quality and caliber of your graduates would be vastly improved.
But no, now you have a computer engineer who is marginal, but hey, he knows the difference between Behavioral and Cognative theories in psychology. Instead of having specialized, employable labor (like Dave) we now have diluted, bland and non-refined labor entering the labor market.
Then there is a fourth point; grad school.
"Hey, that hobby not working out for you? Go to grad school." And invariably "grad school" means law school because law school takes those with worthless degrees and turns them into money grubbing lawyers. Great, just what this country needs. However, it's not just law school, but the grad school system of the liberal arts.
A reader in a previous post of mine made a great point in that if you look at it from the university's perspective why would they want to offer grad programs in engineering, computers, the sciences, biology, etc. The equipment and gear for labs and so forth is very expensive. But there is practically not capital outlay or expense if you want to set up a law school. There is no fix assets that need be purchased if you set up a "graduate program in education." And is there a degree more worthless than the MBA (passing the CPA test will earn you more). If these idiotic kids want to blow another $40,000 on an additional 2 years of a hobby...errr....um.... "education" let's make it possible for them. Meanwhile we can hire those washed up lawyers and sociology majors to become professors and TA's! Boom! A windfall of revenue for the U.
Now, as education starts to drift further and further away from its original purpose of educating the masses and instead starts to become a money making operation that poses as an educational system, it becomes obsolete. People will not expend their time and energy going to get "educated" when there is no financial return for it in the end. However, whereas in the past it seemed the masses didn't care if they were getting a good education or not, and pursued college more and more as a hobby, I do believe this "education bubble" is about to burst. The primary reason being that the factors causing the bubble are rapidly deteriorating.
1. To be able to afford majoring in a "hobby" you needed parents of a certain economic wealth to still take care of you when you graduate at 24 with your bachelors in anthropology. However, Mommy and Daddy aren't as rich as they used to be. Matter of fact, they weren't all that rich to begin with. And whereas daddy's 401k was $300,000, now it's only worth $125,000. And mommy just got laid off at Piper Jaffray, looks like they won't be able to "cash in" on that home equity line, because, well, heh heh, sorry junior, there's no equity left. They used that to buy the Lincoln Navigator and your trip to Europe.
2. The economy is collapsing so hard and crushing so many people that prospective students who would have normally relied on mom and dad to pay for it, find out their primary source of financing is gone. THEY have to pay for it. This crushing financial burden makes students realize REAL quick the value of money and if they started as a philosophy major, they'll quickly change their tune when dad can't cut the checks.
3. Youth will be affected by the harsh economic realities, not just psychologically, but financially. A 16 year old kid who just saw his parents get foreclosed on isn't only going to be thinking "gee, maybe I should switch from art to chemical engineering." He's going to be thinking, "Maybe I should just go to Votech and become a plumber so at least there's food on the table. I can't afford 4 years of school, the first 2 of which are nothing but BS anyway."
In otherwords, the economy will deteriorate so much that families and children will no longer be able to afford going to college like you would "go to Cancun." Education will once again take on the mantle of being a means by which to earn more money and with financial resources dwindling, demand for the "hobby degree" will dry up and demand for vocational programs will increase. The current educational system as we know it will collapse and instead of droves of poetry majors engaging in poetry "slams" or "peace studies" majors throwing down some mean candle light vigils perhaps maybe some of them can do something useful like fix my effing car or install some additional RAM in my computer.