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The Great College Hoax?

A question about the "education industrial complex."
Categories > Education

Discussions - 4 Comments

Moral of the story: "Don't go to Law School."

Matt, don't be so quick to pass off this Forbes piece. We may soon see a time where to continue to be relevent, colleges and universities will once again have to begin striving to really meet their student's practical needs in a financially competitive manner.

First, I'm not an academic. I'm a technical professional / entreprenuer with a liberal arts degree from a smaller Ohio located university 30 plus years ago. My fourth and youngest child is still in college in Ohio. The older 3 also attended schools in Ohio with varying levels of success - including schools from small liberal arts institutions, to that ridiculous monster in Columbus to a couple of jucos.

Some observations:

- it is ridiculous that somewhere along the way the public allowed themselves to be convinced that they had an obligation as parents to fund the cost of their children's higer education. The student's the one getting the education and they're adults. If they pay for it themselves, I assure you they will take that process much more seriously. When parents start saying no, a tremendous amount of money disappear from this dirty little corner of the economy.

- as an employer, I unfortunately must insist that even my laborers have a 2 year degree. The high school graduates in the market place simply do not have the skills necessary to perform the most basic tasks efficiently in my organization.

- as an employer, I find the vast majority of the technical bachelor degree graduates I interview and have to consider hiring cannot effectively communicate in writing or verbally. Accordingly, I'm returning to liberal arts graduates more often. They may lack the technical skills, but I can teach those skills if I must.

- my children all repeatedly ran into issues of their schools not providing the courses they needed when they were needed to progress as quickly as possible through the educational system. While I realize that purists believe (and it would be nice, wouldn't it,) that students were in college to expand their minds and horizons - to "learn" if you will, the real situation is that they must complete this hurdle in life quickly so they can begin making a living!

It is entirely too expensive a solution to allow a student to simply study for the sake of study - something many of us learned to do (to continue our studies after graduating) on our own.

I could go on for pages on this topic. Universities and colleges need to listen to their students and work with them to help the student achieve the student's goals. It's about taking care of your customer. Playing games by forcing them to stay at an institution even one extra quarter or semester to get the one class that's only offered every couple of years simply doesn't make sense if you are truly focused on customer service and satisfaction. It's a game all play, even the monster schools.

It's time to bring some effeciencies of performance and effectiveness to academia.

Oh yes, for what its worth, the educational industrial complex doesn't need a bailout either. The institutions need to perform... or die.

I really think that is a good article. If you walked on a campus in the past five years you have probably seen one thing in common, its not bubbling youth, its new buildings going up. I would advise people getting ready to go to college to do either one or two things. If you can get a job thats not minimum wage sales take it and wait for a few years, or go to technical school and learn a trade. Getting loans and having parents kick in means you won't appreciate it and you won't get that much out of it because it is a business. What is the point of being white collar if your in debt that far and you have to work like a dog anyway. Mabye some love being doctors or lawyers becuase the trade fascinates them, but if you are doing to be well off then you better be on the 40 year plan. Add in the fact that you won't be able to put money in the stock market and get 10 percent or better return all the time like you could a few years ago and there is no point. Oh, there is one thing that is missing from the article I think. There are fewer and fewer blue collar 40-50k jobs now. So, this problem is not as simple as just don't go to college.

I have a college in my town growng, building, growing, building. I paid no real attention to it for years. I remember when it was just a few old buildings and as it has grown I have actually felt cozy about it all but then my son got a job there and as I was taking him to work a couple of weeks ago and had need to actually drive into the belly of this place it hit me. I was stunned by the thought process that began in my head and it so disturbed me that as soon as I got back home I googled "the education hoax" that is exactly what my mind was thinking and then I clicked here. You fitly described the whole mess with "The Education Industrial Complex" and I continued to read,...WOW! I felt so affirmed and then my mind went to other "complexes" such as the great judicial center edifices in every small town now, and banks, and then high school strongholds. these are now all bigger then my town. thanks for the article.

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