I wrote Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, about the Department of Education, student loans, college, and communities.
Since President Kennedy's race to space, our Department of Education and Corporate America have diverted the best and brightest children in our public schools, toward college and science/technology/business careers.
Well, that isn't paying off so well anymore. The workplace spaces for the talented and best people has become a cattle market, balancing influxes of cheap, raw talent against dwindling opportunities and needs.
At the same time, our communities struggle, making do with the "dregs" of the school system's college-track sifting net. We need craftspeople, and bright business people. I am sure you are aware, that people that complete college are at a severe disadvantage, many of us, in applying for blue collar positions -- many managers will *not* consider hiring someone with college background. The difference in outlook, on questioning assumptions, and diversion, for some, from a dedicated work ethic, makes them unsuited, or at least difficult, to prosper in common community positions.
College does *not* make one brighter, nor does skipping college make one less smart. As our economy declines, and the world economy looks less robust, questions of sustainability in education and community life arise.
I feel we need to begin de-emphasizing college as a "right" or "necessary" preparation for life. Liberal arts, for those interested in that kind of balance and intent in their lives, that can afford it, should be encouraged. Government and corporate interests in maintaining cadres of technology and science candidates should manage those resources, not the school system.
The current atmosphere of predatory university and college pricing, and loan sharking, must come to an end. At the same time, we need to recognize that draining needed talent from communities is not sustainable, in the long run, not even financially.