Why we need less college and more reality?

Apr 2018
755
286
Northern end of Lake Erie
This is a subject I've discussed before with several of my FB friends. My current occupation with the NFTA has me convinced more than ever that vocational/ trades careers are not being emphasized enough in the schools because in my opinion it's always "college this and college that". Has been since even before I was a senior some 32 years ago. And that is doing a disservice to our people. No wonder why the building trades are in such high demand right now-shortage of new apprentices to bring up in the ranks. NFTA is experiencing a driver shortage, as is all student, transit, and motorcoach companies/agencies. For example, even with my class and the next two classes behind me, there won't be enough drivers to cover the extra board for very long. Again, if a 19-21 year old has his/her license, that person can easily turn a 35-40 year career and not be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in college loan debt and a worthless degree. I'm not knocking college, there are fields that require a degree, but why push it as the end all to a better life? In addition I was having a fantastic conversation with a college prof who teaches at Buff State and he agrees. In fact, so much so that he encourages his students to determine for themselves what's best. He even decries the current scam that's being perpetrated on our young students. Oh, did I mention he is also Conservative and a Trump supporter?
 

StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
13,897
16,011
Work
This is a subject I've discussed before with several of my FB friends. My current occupation with the NFTA has me convinced more than ever that vocational/ trades careers are not being emphasized enough in the schools because in my opinion it's always "college this and college that". Has been since even before I was a senior some 32 years ago. And that is doing a disservice to our people. No wonder why the building trades are in such high demand right now-shortage of new apprentices to bring up in the ranks. NFTA is experiencing a driver shortage, as is all student, transit, and motorcoach companies/agencies. For example, even with my class and the next two classes behind me, there won't be enough drivers to cover the extra board for very long. Again, if a 19-21 year old has his/her license, that person can easily turn a 35-40 year career and not be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in college loan debt and a worthless degree. I'm not knocking college, there are fields that require a degree, but why push it as the end all to a better life? In addition I was having a fantastic conversation with a college prof who teaches at Buff State and he agrees. In fact, so much so that he encourages his students to determine for themselves what's best. He even decries the current scam that's being perpetrated on our young students. Oh, did I mention he is also Conservative and a Trump supporter?
So you think we need less critical thinking and more doing what you are told? Granted, we could let people study philosophy and welding if we wanted to, but what it sounds like is you're just irritated that people spend years learning about things you think are stupid. Others think that it would be stupid to spend 40 years driving a bus route a million times, even if it did mean they never had to pay off college loans. I'm not knocking bus driving, but I'm sure there are people who thank goodness they didn't take that route too.

The main problem I have with this argument is that it assumes that there is no alternative to a system that charges students tens of thousands of dollars per year for a college degree. With that assumption, then yes it gets more and more naive to study European history, or linguistics, or anything else you were interested in studying if you weren't 100% certain you wanted—and were assured of getting—a career in that field. Instead, everyone should ignore their own natural curiosity and interests and instead ask employers what they should study, if anything. I went to a state University. In 1993 a semester (in state) was only $1,100. That was incredibly cheap even then, and would be about $1,900 in today's dollars. But a semester now costs $6,500 there, not $1,900. That's still considered a great deal, but the explosive inflation calculation applies generally to all colleges and universities all over the country. The ones that were $9,000 then are over $50,000 now.

What will the effect of this skyrocketing price of education be? If it doesn't stop it will be that we revert back to the social stratification of the Guilded Age, when only the tiny ownership class can afford the luxury of having an education in history, literature, philosophy, law, finance. Everyone else will merely get the training to do things for them.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2010
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Reality, there are not enough jobs. The jobs available are not paying livable wages. Corporations are greedy scum where its profit over all else. Have slave labor due it in China, who cares about American workers, we still getting billions in profits.

Even training people will still leave many without a job. And many people think someone working a service job doesn't deserve to have a livable wage

Companies will continue to find a way to screw employees, have robots do the work, and horde all the profits
 
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Nov 2010
23,156
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So you think we need less critical thinking and more doing what you are told? Granted, we could let people study philosophy and welding if we wanted to, but what it sounds like is you're just irritated that people spend years learning about things you think are stupid. Others think that it would be stupid to spend 40 years driving a bus route a million times, even if it did mean they never had to pay off college loans. I'm not knocking bus driving, but I'm sure there are people who thank goodness they didn't take that route too.

The main problem I have with this argument is that it assumes that there is no alternative to a system that charges students tens of thousands of dollars per year for a college degree. With that assumption, then yes it gets more and more naive to study European history, or linguistics, or anything else you were interested in studying if you weren't 100% certain you wanted—and were assured of getting—a career in that field. Instead, everyone should ignore their own natural curiosity and interests and instead ask employers what they should study, if anything. I went to a state University. In 1993 a semester (in state) was only $1,100. That was incredibly cheap even then, and would be about $1,900 in today's dollars. But a semester now costs $6,500 there, not $1,900. That's still considered a great deal, but the explosive inflation calculation applies generally to all colleges and universities all over the country. The ones that were $9,000 then are over $50,000 now.

What will the effect of this skyrocketing price of education be? If it doesn't stop it will be that we revert back to the social stratification of the Guilded Age, when only the tiny ownership class can afford the luxury of having an education in history, literature, philosophy, law, finance. Everyone else will merely get the training to do things for them.
We sort of already have that, linking school funding to property taxes ensuring poor kids get inferior education and are less likely to get out of poverty.

We seem to already be in the Guilded Age of the tiny ownership class. They clearly own the politicians, and they own the media that brainwashed and distracts the stupid, and they just keep enriching themselves at everybody elses' expense
 
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Nov 2010
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And another point, why does a commercial driver deserve a livable wage, while a waitress or bartender does not? or someone working manufacturing or a coal mine job? Those aren't don't tend to be high skilled jobs? They both should be getting livable wages
 
Mar 2012
59,991
41,456
New Hampshire
And another point, why does a commercial driver deserve a livable wage, while a waitress or bartender does not? or someone working manufacturing or a coal mine job? Those aren't don't tend to be high skilled jobs? They both should be getting livable wages
In some states entry level teachers make $15-$20 an hour with a Masters degree and debt. Now imagine what happens if the min wage is $15 an hour. Because most school budgets are based on property taxes its entirely possible we will see McDonalds workers making similar wages to entry level teachers. In my town EMTs make $13 an hour.
 
Oct 2014
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C-A-N-A-D-A-Eh
Wow, a real topic of debate for a change (not from OP, just forum in general).

There are many jobs that people can take on; trades work, truck driving like you mentioned, and a range of other jobs that don't require any education and do wind up paying a respectable amount once the time is put in to build some expertise.

Then there are the people who wind up going to university for 4 years and wind up with a degree in uselessness that could never help them in converting that education into job related skills. (I personally know a few people that have these degrees, and the best jobs they could find would be at the corner store)

I was fortunate in the sense that my indecision led me to follow that path of trades work, where I became a contractor started getting my own jobs... then finally got to a point where I was able to afford to return to school for engineering.
 
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Apr 2018
755
286
Northern end of Lake Erie
And another point, why does a commercial driver deserve a livable wage, while a waitress or bartender does not? or someone working manufacturing or a coal mine job? Those aren't don't tend to be high skilled jobs? They both should be getting livable wages
Uhh excuse me? Have you ever read the "Little Green Book"? That is the rules and regulations for all Commercial Vehicle Operators. In addition my particular job is safety sensitive and on the same par as police, firefighters, and medical personnel. So yes, my $25/hr job as a transit operator requires far more skill and training than a waiter or bartender.
 

HayJenn

Former Staff
Jul 2014
72,648
63,973
CA
Wow, a real topic of debate for a change (not from OP, just forum in general).

There are many jobs that people can take on; trades work, truck driving like you mentioned, and a range of other jobs that don't require any education and do wind up paying a respectable amount once the time is put in to build some expertise.

Then there are the people who wind up going to university for 4 years and wind up with a degree in uselessness that could never help them in converting that education into job related skills. (I personally know a few people that have these degrees, and the best jobs they could find would be at the corner store)

I was fortunate in the sense that my indecision led me to follow that path of trades work, where I became a contractor started getting my own jobs... then finally got to a point where I was able to afford to return to school for engineering.
I have seen a TON of job listings for truck drivers. Problem is, that's is a grinding job that can keep you away from your family for days or weeks on end.

At least in CA, our CC's do provide "trade" work classes. So I see that as a really positive thing, not all kids want to go to college.

Most of the good paying I see being advertised still want a degree. Lots of "liberal" arts degrees can be of use no matter what job you end up with.

The real problem is the ever increasing cost of college.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
28,151
21,055
Weirdo
This is a subject I've discussed before with several of my FB friends. My current occupation with the NFTA has me convinced more than ever that vocational/ trades careers are not being emphasized enough in the schools because in my opinion it's always "college this and college that". Has been since even before I was a senior some 32 years ago. And that is doing a disservice to our people. No wonder why the building trades are in such high demand right now-shortage of new apprentices to bring up in the ranks. NFTA is experiencing a driver shortage, as is all student, transit, and motorcoach companies/agencies. For example, even with my class and the next two classes behind me, there won't be enough drivers to cover the extra board for very long. Again, if a 19-21 year old has his/her license, that person can easily turn a 35-40 year career and not be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in college loan debt and a worthless degree. I'm not knocking college, there are fields that require a degree, but why push it as the end all to a better life? In addition I was having a fantastic conversation with a college prof who teaches at Buff State and he agrees. In fact, so much so that he encourages his students to determine for themselves what's best. He even decries the current scam that's being perpetrated on our young students. Oh, did I mention he is also Conservative and a Trump supporter?
Unfortunately there is a stigma about vocational jobs. Many people believe that these jobs are places people "end up" or can "fall back on" and not a place that people should aspire to live their lives and make a living. I call those people snobs who take this part of their lives for granted.

However I'm not one of them.

This stigma has an impact on how you are viewed, how your path into adulthood is viewed and often with a negative slant. Shop class in highschool, even back in the 90s was viewed as a place for people who didn't have a career ahead of them.

The .com bubble really made a huge impact on the negative view on vocational jobs too. These nerds (I'm one of them) realized how easy it was to make a shit load of money on a really small and manageable idea, even if it didn't take off. The idea of driving a bus changed, as an example.

I really can't predict the future, but I would say that it's inevitable that these vocational jobs are brought closer and closer to the forefront as tech and industrial merge. Some worry about robots/automation and sure that's a concern, but the bigger picture is safer environments, more attention brought to infrastructure and more paths for people to follow.

For instance, you can work as an IT Admin for a bus company that employs 1,000s of drivers.

Unfortunately our leadership (Trump, Obama, whoever) isn't quite getting it. Both have spoken about vocational jobs being the foundation of this country, just as manufacturing was for years during the Industrial age but those tools just speak. Progress is slow.