Wit & Wisdom

Game Changers & Tales of Triumph and Woe

College M.I.A.'s #7

CJW, July 21, 2010 10:32 AM

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"Some of the people coming out of those apprenticeships are in more demand than college graduates," he said, "because they've actually managed things in the workplace."
                    --- Robert I. Lerman, American University

Not Everyone is College Material
The List: No College or College Dropout


Those of you who have been following The Daily Riff series, College M.I.A.'s -- showcasing notable and/or extremely successful talents who never attended or dropped out of college -- understand our point that college may not be for everyone for a variety of reasons (see previous M.I.A.'s below).

Today's New York Times features this same topic in "top ten most emailed" story aptly titled Plan B: Skip College, well-worth the read in light of the premise stated as:  "The idea that four years of higher education will translate into a better job, higher earnings and a happier life - a refrain sure to be repeated this month at graduation ceremonies across the country - has been pounded into the heads of schoolchildren, parents and educators."

The article continues to elaborate the staggering statistics of how few students actually graduate after entering college.  Alternatives and an attitude re-adjustment is the basis of discussion here if you are looking at college strictly from economic job/career/future perspective and valuation, since other intrinsic values are not the centerpiece in this story.   An excerpt:


" . . .Whether everyone in college needs to be there is not a new question; the subject has been hashed out in books and dissertations for years. But the economic crisis has sharpened that focus, as financially struggling states cut aid to higher education.

Among those calling for such alternatives are the economists Richard K. Vedder of Ohio University and Robert I. Lerman of American University, the political scientist Charles Murray, and James E. Rosenbaum, an education professor at Northwestern. They would steer some students toward intensive, short-term vocational and career training, through expanded high school programs and corporate apprenticeships.

"It is true that we need more nanosurgeons than we did 10 to 15 years ago," said Professor Vedder, founder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a research nonprofit in Washington. "But the numbers are still relatively small compared to the numbers of nurses' aides we're going to need. We will need hundreds of thousands of them over the next decade."


And much of their training, he added, might be feasible outside the college
setting. . . ."



And a big push for apprenticeships:

" . . .Yet despite the need, vocational programs, which might teach such skills, have been one casualty in the push for national education standards, which has been focused on preparing students for college.

While some educators propose a radical renovation of the community college system to teach work readiness, Professor Lerman advocates a significant national investment by government and employers in on-the-job apprenticeship training. He spoke with admiration, for example, about a program in the CVS pharmacy chain in which aspiring pharmacists' assistants work as apprentices in hundreds of stores, with many going on to study to become full-fledged pharmacists themselves. . . "


With an example cited from a program in Germany focusing on apprenticeships:

"Some of the people coming out of those apprenticeships are in more demand than college graduates," he said, "because they've actually managed things in the workplace."

The article spends the latter part addressing the cons through detractors that claim this is a resurgence of educational "redlining", pre-determining and ultimately undermining students' fates while lowering expectations.  In addition, the statistics show that college grads do earn higher salaries than non-grads and are less apt to be in the unemployment line.  One argument is that many of these statistics measure a different economy, one based less on the effect of the Internet and globalization in full swing (let alone the economy).   While not everyone is a Barry Diller, Thomas Edison or President Harry S. Truman -- defying many norms along with not attending/completing college -- and who could use the extra benefits college affords, we could, nevertheless, be more open to other roads taken:

"I'm not saying don't get the B.A," he said. "I'm saying, let's get them some intervening credentials, some intervening milestones. Then, if they want to go further in their education, they can."

###

Not Everyone is College Material
The List: No College or College Dropout

See The List Grow:  Those who dropped out or never entered . . . you may be surprised.  Previous M.I.A.s featured by The Daily Riff:

M.I.A. #6
Steve Wozniak (Co-founder Apple)
Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief Vogue)
Bob Pittman (Co-founder MTV)

M.I.A.#5
Barbara Streisand
J.D. Salinger
Frank Lloyd Wright

M.I.A. #4
Walter Cronkite
John D. Rockefeller
Coco Chanel

M.I.A #3
Ted Turner
Woody Allen
Peter Jennings

M.I.A. #2
Bill Gates
Jack Nicholson
John Glenn

M.I.A. #1
Steve Jobs
Madonna
President Harry S. Truman


Can you help us add to this list?
 
(Ed. Note:  This is not to disparage a college education.  Point being with these posts is that not everyone is cut out for college for various reasons and should not necessarily be labeled as "not smart enough", as you can see from this list.  Hopefully, we will be more open to different routes people take in their lives.  Additionally, online learning opportunities will provide access to more people eliminating some of the constraints for furthering education (i.e. time, cost, pacing), even after college.  Personally, I loved college and thought it was important academically among other things.  High school?  Now that was another subject - don't get me started on that one.   -- C.J.)
 

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