SEARCH BLOG: EDUCATION
This weekend, I had an email exchange between fellow bloggers - one at Right Michigan and one at the Mackinac Center. The subject was the cost of college educations. I referenced this little stunner:
|Tuition & Fees*||Books & Supplies||Room & Board**||Personal & Miscellaneous||Total Budget|
|Michigan Residents (In-State)|
With college tuition running amok and students graduating with enormous debts [or leaving their parents with enormous debt], perhaps it is time for Michigan to lead the way in low-cost colleges rather than the state continuing to pour money into high-tuition institutions.
It's fun to cheer on UM or MSU teams, but the reality is that the average undergraduate is not getting that great of a bargain at those major universities in terms of career preparation versus what many smaller colleges can provide... especially in the first two years. Perhaps a more formalized and accredited "feeder" system of low-cost colleges might be something the state should be pursuing to reduce tuition support costs.
Charles Murray is my guru on college. Here’s his take:
For Most People, College Is a Waste of TimeBy CHARLES MURRAYhttp://online.wsj.com/article/
Imagine that America had no system of post-secondary education, and you were a member of a task force assigned to create one from scratch. One of your colleagues submits this proposal:
First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn't meet the goal. We will call the goal a "BA."
You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane. But that's the system we have in place.The article's proposed solution:
The solution is not better degrees, but no degrees. Young people entering the job market should have a known, trusted measure of their qualifications they can carry into job interviews. That measure should express what they know, not where they learned it or how long it took them. They need a certification, not a degree.
No technical barriers stand in the way of evolving toward a system where certification tests would replace the BA. Hundreds of certification tests already exist, for everything from building code inspectors to advanced medical specialties. The problem is a shortage of tests that are nationally accepted, like the CPA exam.How is that good?
An educational world based on certification tests would be a better place in many ways, but the overarching benefit is that the line between college and noncollege competencies would be blurred. Hardly any jobs would still have the BA as a requirement for a shot at being hired. Opportunities would be wider and fairer, and the stigma of not having a BA would diminish.
Most important in an increasingly class-riven America: The demonstration of competency in business administration or European history would, appropriately, take on similarities to the demonstration of competency in cooking or welding. Our obsession with the BA has created a two-tiered entry to adulthood, anointing some for admission to the club and labeling the rest as second-best.
Here's the reality: Everyone in every occupation starts as an apprentice. Those who are good enough become journeymen. The best become master craftsmen. This is as true of business executives and history professors as of chefs and welders. Getting rid of the BA and replacing it with evidence of competence -- treating post-secondary education as apprenticeships for everyone -- is one way to help us to recognize that common bond.I pointed out that there was one problem with the idea of not going to college to prepare for a career... the U.S. has elected to dismantle the non-college route in favor of the NCLB route that supposedly prepares everyone for college. Perhaps that's why so many former students with useless degrees are taking low-paying administrative jobs just to get something on their resume... and hopefully start to pay off those huge college debts.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING FUNDING FOR VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS:
Funding Status [source]
Fiscal Year 2002: $12,000,000Also...
Fiscal Year 2003: $11,922,000
Fiscal Year 2004: $11,851,660
Fiscal Year 2005: $11,757,184
Fiscal Year 2006: $ 9,164,430
Fiscal Year 2007: $10,000,000
Fiscal Year 2008: $7,860,000
Fiscal Year 2009: $7,860,000
Fiscal Year 2010: $7,860,000
Fiscal Year 2011: $7,844,280
Now, federal funding to provide such vocational and technical education is at risk. President Obama has instead made it a priority to raise overall academic standards and college graduation rates, and aims to shrink the small amount of federal spending for vocational training in public high schools and community colleges. That aid comes primarily in the form of Perkins grants to states.
The administration has proposed a 20-percent reduction in its fiscal 2012 budget for career and technical education, to a little more than $1 billion, even as it seeks to increase overall education funding by 11 percent.
The only real alternative to public schools for career training is profit-making colleges and trade schools, many of which have been criticized for sending students deeply into debt without improving their job prospects. A little more than 1 in 10 students in higher education attend a profit-making institution. [source]