Sunday, February 24, 2013

Credentialism, Part 2

Why do students waste their time in college? Because they can't get jobs otherwise.

The article quotes Adam Slipakoff as saying, "Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck." What Mr. Slipakoff's college education failed to teach him was that no one is seeking a paycheck qua paycheck; seeking a paycheck is the way in which we finance our futures. And spending tens of thousands of dollars for the right to earn $10 per hour is a commitment to the bleakest future possible.

What right does he have expecting a "career orientation" out of someone he's only paying $10 per hour? If you expect me to jump through your incredibly expensive hoop, you'd better demonstrate to me that you're as committed to our relationship as you expect me to be.

Continuing to be ignored is the issue of the varying returns to a college education. Not all bachelor's degrees are created equal. The article mentions Megan Parker, who incurred over $100,000 in debt for a bachelor's degree in fashion and retail management from an art institute. It would be easy for me to now write, "Ms. Parker is stupid," but is it really her fault that no responsible adult in her life pointed out to her that this was a stunningly poor choice, that the Federales didn't withhold the money from her when her career plan didn't match the costs, that she did exactly what everyone has told her to do since she was a little girl? This ad (the English-language version runs constantly on Fox Soccer Channel, but I'm too lazy to find the English-language version right now) makes the claim that every student can and should go to college. That is patently false. But the article's writer actually takes pains to hide that message: she (always a she these days) writes of the success story of the college-graduate file clerk who quickly moved up to paralegal. In an unconnected line, she notes that paralegals don't need bachelor's degrees, either. And the "gofer" is going to ruin his life forever by applying to law school, but the foreseeable tragedy goes unremarked upon.

Will I send my children to college? I don't think so. I have to believe they are talented enough to signal their skills without an overpriced degree that denotes no actual learning. I just hope the impending collapse comes by then so they aren't heavily penalized for failing to behave like the other drones.

1 comment:

The sort-of Republican said...

Anyone that has ever interviewed perspective job applicants should already know that a college degree is no indication of employability. In fact, all that it proves is that you can finish what you start, which is something. But it's certainly not enough that I want you to work for me without any other proof of your abilities.