Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Student debt -- an mere extravagance, or a crippling waste of American lives?

So, Tam is on, a bit, about folk falling for the corporate/government/Depr of Ed line about "you need a college degree". And ending up with a degree, some fancy debts, and colorful protests on YouTube. I threw in my two bits:

On the one hand, check out Seth Godin's "Stop Stealing Dreams", a free ebook about why we have the education system we have today, and why it serves only vested interests anymore. Students and communities are mere fodder -- notice the success stories of homeschooling, and "unschooling".

On the other hand, I think the blame goes back to President John F. Kennedy. JFK posed the "race to space" and a need for thousands and thousands of scientists, millions of engineers, and industry worker bees by the scads -- not to improve life for Americans, but to further government agendas.  When the big money started flowing, the message "your country needs your engineering skill" became "You need college, because it makes money for Big Money", and then the current sick cycle of colleges engaged in marketing propaganda, and government lobbying, creating a artificial demand, based on government spending.

Communities need their best and brightest. Then need some few of those cycling through their (?!) schools to return with an advanced degree. Instead, the Department of Education enables a wealth generator -- for the wealthy. Colleges make out like bandits. Corporations reap benefits. And communities are stripped of the bright, capable, creative people that should have been enriching their community, their family, and their nation.

Start with your local board of education, and figure out if they count success as how many students graduate to serve in the military (the origin of organized sports), how many make stable families, how many remain, and mature to benefit their community -- or how many federal dollars they suck in.

Our schools should serve the needs of their community -- whether commerce, family, industrial, engineering, science, whatever -- and stop siphoning off so many students merely to continue generating paper wealth for company owners and politicians.