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Saturday, April 13, 2024

This a response to Nicholas Butler's column "Staying in school makes students unproductive."

Should a college education be promoted as the only path to success? Certainly not, but that doesn't mean importance should not be placed on going to college and receiving a degree.

A college degree in any field shouldn't be an end goal to anyone's life. It should define limitations and life efficiency. Education occurs not only in lecture halls but also through the experiences of life that makes each of us our own individuals.

The fact is that we are educating more people than we have positions to accommodate them with.

K-12 education is still selling the unattainable ideal that you should go to school and get good grades, and this will result in receiving a good job. Like the American Dream, this is increasingly becoming a falsehood.

A degree doesn't result in a successful career even in the sciences. Most skilled-labor positions in the U.S. are having wages driven down, and manufacturing jobs are leaving the country due to the exportation of jobs and the weakening of collective bargaining rights.

All that being said, I disagree with the notion that college should be more restrictive by limiting many from the opportunity of attaining a degree. Butler makes a comparison to the 1960s when less than half of high school graduates attended college and how during those times it wasn't seen as a death sentence.

Well, we're not living in the 1960s. We live in a service-based and desegregated world far removed from the Second Great War. During that time, we had a economy that was based more on manufacturing where a person could expect to achieve a decent standard of living without a degree. All those jobs now, for the most part, are gone.

College isn't seen as this elite thing anymore where only people of certain economic status, gender or race can hope to find his or her place. Slowly but surely more people than ever are being given the opportunity to seek an education.

Honestly, I think the number of colleges or four-year universities should be contracted. There are too many institutions emulating the role of large four-year public and private universities. Not every school should be a university. This ideal is what is keeping people in debt and is essentially eroding the value of a college degree. Although there is an intrinsic value for a holistic education, economically it makes more sense to have specific training and education.

What many people also continually fail to realize is that you do not need a formal education to become knowledgeable of classical works of literature, philosophy, politics, etc.

We should promote other options while not degrading the value of a college education.

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