Here is a little piece for you regarding what to do with your child’s education. Some things for you to contemplate and some things for you and your children to talk about. Notice I did say talk; not text. Yes, engage in an actual verbal exchange of ideas. OMG what is wrong with me?
First off be honest with yourself and encourage your child to be honest with themselves. Why what do I mean by that? What I mean is do not force a square peg in a round hole. Example: If your child is mechanically inclined and likes to work with their hands, but hates to write essays, there is nothing wrong with that. Or, they enjoy working on their bicycle but hate to read short stories, not a problem. Provided of course they read my blog! Now I am not saying they don’t need to read and write, for they must be able to function in those areas well enough to be employed.
The thing is, now it seems as if the public school system is programming all students into thinking they must attend a 4 year college. Of course, in most cases these schools are not preparing these students for this. So you have many high school graduates convinced they must attend a 4 year college who are not prepared for this, and who should probably not be attending in the first place.
So, the conversation you must have with your child or children is that they must develop and enhance the skill set they inherently have to enable themselves to have a career that will be most financially beneficial to them. In other words, they must understand that there is nothing wrong with making a living with their hands. As a matter of fact, there is a shortage of craftsmen and women in all the trades.
Welders, pipefitters, instrumentation technicians, electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers and on and on are in big demand. A young person can get an apprenticeship in a trade, learn that trade while being paid, and begin earning journeyman pay before a person choosing the college route will complete their degree, and, they will not have a huge student loan debt to pay back. I work in industry, I see this and I know what demand there is, and it is huge. Craftsmen and women and technicians run this country and anybody who looks down on them because they don’t have a 4 year degree is a damn fool. They do respectable work and they earn a very good living.
Am I against a 4 year degree, no because I have one. If you don’t have a 4 year degree does it mean you will have less than a happy life? Absolutely not. Will a 4 year degree open some doors that would not open otherwise? Yes in some cases. Will the investment (cost) in a 4 year degree increase the overall lifetime earnings over the lifetime earnings of a person that does not have the degree? Well, that depends on the degree earned and the craft that is practiced. A history major will earn less in their lifetime than a master electrician and a mechanical engineer will earn more than a pipefitter. Some will say that is not all about money, and I will say, horse hockey. It is always about the money.
In conclusion, high schools in America must return to allowing students who want to practice a craft a path to achieve those results. Not everyone should go to a 4 year college. Everyone needs to be able to read, write, and do basic math and everyone needs to earn a living wage. The American public school system must prepare students for either path and with the same enthusiasm.
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