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College education: Do we overemphasize and spend too much on it?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by TheresTheDagger, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. HTM

    HTM Member

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    LMAO.

    No.

    The vast majority of those who attend college cannot obtain an engineering degree let alone the vast majority of the wider population. Biomedical, chemical, aeronautical, mechanical, petroleum engineering etc etc are some of the most difficult bachelor degrees humanity has to offer.

    It's not like most people are like, "Yea, I guess I'll ditch my X degree and go get my aeronautical engineering degree and work for Boeing" - maybe a few - no reason to believe it's really all that many.

    By and large the ability to master the mathematics and hard sciences just is not there.
     
    Rileydog, JumpMan and tinman like this.
  2. Reeko

    Reeko puff puff pass on that Jalen Green hater pack
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    We need people going to college and taking the L by getting some useless degree so that there’s not an oversaturation of the more useful and relevant degrees and we end up with a bunch of engineers working as baristas. Is that really the argument?
     
  3. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member
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    This. I'm all for people getting their education, but if you end up with a degree that makes you think office jobs are "soul killing", might as well save the money/debt and find some accredited apprenticeship that'll help you get where you need.

    Real talk, if you're slogging through college while picking easy GPA boosting classes for a piece of paper, I don't think there's much utility for it if you don't graduate from an Ivy or a top 15 college for that major with daddy picking up the tab. At the very least you get networking benefits from attending a highly regarded uni.

    The guy who interviewed Stossel nailed it. Education is great, but it's not a meat grinder that mints out "ready to work' hamburgers. If anything, it's like a wasteful sushi chef that slices out the nasty bits along with a lot of meat and fat.

    I graduated with an Environmental Science BS but decided to shift into Tech a couple years after when the money didn't add up. I don't use my degree much in my job other than to measure things emprically. I mean it's great I can read white papers, but anyone who wants to read whitepapers will reach the capacity to understand them sooner or later. Lab work and crunching math did benefit me, and I got a kick out of doing the electives I wanted, but the main thing for college I valued was meeting people from across the country and sharing the experience.

    I see biz/corps billing "cross disciplinary" or cross functional people as the wave for the new office, but it's not really worth a person spending 20k a year and pivot to a completely new job that will use those skills as a tangent.

    The system is grossly unfair to new hires where it becomes a catch-22 between experience and getting your foot in the door. You can't gain experience without first getting a job, but can't get a job without getting your foot in the door and fill up a resume to prove that you belong there. Some jobs understand this and hire by aptitude, which turns those degrees as a hiring proxy for HR, but you're leaving so many youths off the table when their hunger is the highest.

    Newly graduated Millennials in 09 can tell you that a degree didn't even mean **** then...sucks for them but keep repeating the lie and hope they choose STEM??

    Next, there are comments about the necessity of a "well rounded education". I fully support that in the age where we see Cable Tabloid Garbage posted in the D&D, but a "well rounded education" is highly arbitrary and may even reek of ethnocentric bias. We're dealing with a postmodern upheaval of what's considered safe or non-toxic/patriarchal/oppressive/regressive/blah****ingblah and frankly none of that **** makes money. It mainly deals with tugging at the strings of power and hoping that the money follows.

    That's a problem in of itself because education is really a luxury. Farmers and laborers didn't need it then, but now you can get one to become a better farmer or laborer? No one is going to force what values parents teach their children, but this whole mantra of getting more education belittles the struggles the poor and lower middle class have in comparison with other classes. Both parents might have double min wage jobs. There's no way they can watch over their kids. Some are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, where aspirational things like college sound like a pipe dream or getting a brand new luxury car. Most of these people don't have one stock or 401k to even discuss about retirement, so we're expecting everyone who graduates college to "make it"? How about we simplify things for the poor, create decent paying jobs through a fast tracked program* (plumbers, carpenters, etc...), then when they can own an overpriced home offer another program to teach them "etiquette and other civilized stuff"?

    That sounds more honest and more motivated by their individual pull than an empty well-meaning push from above. I mean if you assume people without fancy libarts degrees would rather choose TikTok over the skills to better use the internet, you've already lost the battle.

    It's time we sift through hollow mantras and costly bullshit lies society pushes on everyone, and make better and more efficient choices with not only their money but everyone else's. Some people will complain this is elitist and borderline rationing. Well it kind of is. Not only has it watered down quality of education while increasing costs, people are increasingly fed up and disillusioned by the whole system.

    Higher education shouldn't be a spigot we blast on everyone thinking the moment they get wet, well paying jobs and "self fulfilling" careers will flood into their lives. It's just a tool we expect minors without fully developed, alcohol ready brains to take advantage and make the most out of (when the real assumption is that college will mold them into that state).

    That's just not the case in a capitalistic society. With individual choice, comes dog-eat-dog competition. We deliberately withhold info (wealth mgmt, daily finance, wealth generation) from other people. We don't teach life skills in public schools and no one complains enough to change it. What I would support is giving people second chances so that the main thing they lose is time over credit killing money, but these promises the media peddles are highly aspirational and are becoming borderline unrealistic for at least 40% of the population, you know...the demographic who don't pay taxes, receive some form of EITC in return, and are likely on digital food stamps.

    One could go the other end and say Be More Like Germany, where the education is free and you even get a stipend while doing a Doctorate. But their way of life and mentality is different and we're nowhere close to what they've achieved with apprenticeships and their dedication to domestic manufacturing. The communal ownership and responsibility is something we apparently don't want a part of and it's now borderlining to the point of slander.



    *Oh no...that'll depress the wages of plumbers/carpenters/mechanics! But at least you'd have a class of builders over consumers who demand packaged **** handed to them. We sorely need creators if we want to get out of this 2 decade economic mess.
     
    #23 Invisible Fan, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
    ElPigto and Andre0087 like this.
  4. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    I guess, but being black and male after the Cold War with a college degree, no kids and low expectations is like being a defense contractor: all the benefits and no marching, and you don't a give flying **** what anything costs.

    To be fair at Non-Texan Confederate General High it seemed like the only other options were basically that opening scene from the Last Boy Scout.
     
    #24 Dairy Ashford, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  5. Zboy

    Zboy Contributing Member

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    And then the same people cry, "Them foreigners are taking our jobs!!!"

    Well the foreigners have the degrees so they are taking your jobs.

    Cant have both ways.

    Stop going to college for partying, a crappy degree, with an insane loan.

    Go to college you can afford, to learn and to get a good degree.
     
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  6. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Contributing Member
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    Meh. Foreigners on H1B visas often work for less than the market rate for similarly qualified domestic worker.
     
  7. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    College is an invaluable growth experience as a human being. It’s the bridge between life under your parents wing and true independent adult. You also get a chance to find yourself and shape who you want to be in a lot of ways.

    What college doesn’t do great right now is actually aligning towards a career or trade skill. I have a marketing degree but I’m basically a career sales professional. I had one… just one class in college that truly taught sales and it was mostly about in person presentations. And I’m someone who probably has much more alignment to a career from my degree than most.

    And I left school 40k in debt which forced me into a job too fast where I didn’t have enough time to properly interview with enough companies to learn what I could actually do with my degree and skills.

    So there’s fundamental things that are flawed with the college experience but it’s not something that should just be crapped on like uneducated republicans do all the time because they didn’t go 40 years ago so they think people that think it’s important are just brainwashed Libs.

    In normal times we could have elected officials who could help fix many of these issues starting with student loan re-payment. Make it a law that graduating students get a full year before repayment begins. Grads need time to figure things out and gameplan their lives.

    Second, trades need to be included in college. There’s no reason why colleges like Sam Houston or Texas State (which are state schools) cannot provide expanded trade programs and recruit from all around Texas at a much lower cost than going for a degree in law or accounting.

    There’s a million other ideas that could get put into law but we have so many issues right now that it’s hard to see there being much that the president and Congress could do in less than a year. Then there’s the issue of the Republican war on education that is a source of their power play for the next generation.

    Tearing down education is at the core of what they are going to be doing moving forward. They are brazen enough to be attacking high school and middle school education as an unnecessary institution that just creates liberals. Because of these radical attacks we really can’t even have a conversation about College because we first have to save high school education from right wing extremism.
     
  8. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

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    Elon Musk has been doing damage against the school system. I agree with him.
     
  9. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    What is the percentage of SpaceX and Tesla engineers without a college degree?
     
  10. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton

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    No worries. I was more parodying myself as an educator. The topic you've posted is interesting, and I think more and more people will opt out.
     
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  11. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    You vastly overestimate the difficulty of an engineering degree and underestimate the capabilities of humanity. The issue is motivation not competence. To be fair most people don’t have the diligence and self motivation to study and learn challenging material.
     
  12. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    No just pointing out that the obvious. Some people act as if the solution is to eliminate college loans for liberal arts degree or eliminate those degrees since they are useless. But if everyone did the “smart” thing and got STEM degrees there wouldn’t be enough jobs for them.

    The engineers as baristas is just hyperbole playing on the liberal arts majors who can’t find jobs common joke.

    We need a well rounded society of people in a multitude of disciplines. Too high a concentration in any one field would lead to depressed wages and lack of opportunity.

    Engineers do deserve more than a French poetry major and the free market takes care of that. But to think society would be better off without liberal art degrees citizens is wrong on many levels.
     
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  13. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    Ya from my experience my peers who were "slow" and needed extra time to pick up concepts still did well as long as they put in the time.

    Not saying mechanical engineering undergrad is not difficult. I had many sleepless nights. But it doesn't require geniuses to successfully complete the curriculum. It needs time and effort.
     
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  14. Reeko

    Reeko puff puff pass on that Jalen Green hater pack
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    Who is talking about eliminating them? If someone wants to go collect a mountain of debt and get some useless degree, they are free to do so. It’s dumb, it’s a huge L, but that’s their choice. If someone goes to college to be a French poetry major or *insert useless major, then I’m sorry, they’re a fool.

    Your argument is basically that somebody has to go and get the useless degrees so there’s enough jobs for the ones who get the more practical and useful ones is it not? How is that convincing anyone that they should go to college for these useless degrees and aren’t wasting their time in doing so?
     
  15. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    Why are you only looking at the value of education in terms of job programs?

    Not feeling it with how you easily dismiss non-technical degrees as useless. Society can do more with people who read dry nuanced literature and write about it an analytical introspective manner. You want less Trump supporters who gather "knowledge" through click bait and memes?
     
  16. Reeko

    Reeko puff puff pass on that Jalen Green hater pack
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    the most important thing is job and financial security for u and your family…to be able to provide

    somebody went to college to be able to read a paper and not fall for fake news as easily as a Trump supporter…lol, good for them
     
  17. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    Many aspects of industry need people who are advanced literate humans that aren't necessary technically skilled.
     
  18. TheresTheDagger

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    There are certainly a lot of perspectives to this conversation and already I've read some interesting viewpoints that challenge my original post.

    In GENERAL, my belief is that we've been sold the idea that in order to be a success in life (not just financially, but to feel fulfilled...happy...and worthy) a college education is essential. And for many people this is certainly the case. But as many here have already stated if you are not equipped with the drive, intelligence, and competitiveness required to make the most of the huge investment in time and money a college education requires...it really can backfire. Even if you complete a degree it is just step one. I think this is just one of the many topics we don't communicate strongly enough to potential students (along with a failure to dive deeper into their real interests and aptitudes).

    To keep it simple, I primarily look at the topic as a cost/benefit analysis for every individual. But as a society, we don't approach education from that perspective. Simply put, our society states "Education good...therefore go to school." when the topic is a lot more nuanced than that when you break it down to the individual.

    So to me, the topic is really not "Is education good?" Of course it is. The topic is "How do we do a better job of tailoring education to fit the individual student?" so that it is impactful in a meaningful way for the life of the individual.
     
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  19. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    Does society as a whole really say education is good, thus goto college? I honestly don’t know. There are many people, families, demographics, cultures, etc that probably don’t say education is good, thus goto college. Should they given how our society works? That’s another question.

    But surely there is a not insignificant portion of the population that isn’t too obsessed with college and education (perhaps to their detriment). totally agree that the discussion re education should be tailored to the wants, abilities, means and needs of the person and family.

    As to whether it’s good for business to offer better jobs and opportunities to college graduates … I can make a good argument that it is.

    I mean, just in the discussion in this thread, we all agree that it takes some combination of ability, effort, drive and financial resources to get a college degree. It would be illogical for companies to not use the possession of a college degree as some indicia of those qualities and circumstances, and equally illogical for companies to not want to hire people who possess those qualities and circumstances. Life and business is a form of a rat race, and ability, effort and resources are all determinative of the outcomes of the race.

    All of this points to the question of equity and how much our society should drive toward a system where the college degree, a valuable proxy for these desirable traits used by companies to hire, is more readily available to those who would undertake the process to get a degree.

    But that’s one part of the equation. As others have said, and perhaps this is the point of the article, HS kids and their families need to be better equipped to think through this decision and relative to other choices. The promotion of free college etc is not a good idea if there are not equal or more resources devoted toward educating people on whether free college is even a good idea for them. Too many proponents of free college miss that point entirely and don’t seem to realize that for some, free college may be a terrible idea and a huge waste of four years.

    If we’re going to say, hey, let’s at least give them that choice (at huge expense to taxpayers), we better make sure they have thought it through.
     
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  20. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    No my point is # 1 if everyone got a non useless degree there wouldn’t be enough jobs and # 2 a “useless” degree may not earn big bucks but it does help to make us a much more well rounded society. There is value in it to society but the free market doesn’t reward it.

    I’m not sure the solution and I don’t suggest paying poets as much as engineers. But what I do know is if everyone actually followed the just get a useful degree or you’re a fool advice this country would be in big trouble. Hence parroting that oversimplified platitude doesn’t help.
     

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