Too many individuals attend college without forethought and graduate with debt and without direction.
Why is this a problem? Youth indebted to large educational loans with no thought as to actual employment to pay off those loans is an issue. Too many times do we see people chanting about needing free college education, when the truth is that people need to be offered more options during K-12 instead of always preaching about attending higher education. To function properly, the state, country, and world need more non-college educated individuals than we do degreed individuals.
The Solution: K-12 education needs to focus more intensely on schooling options such as shop, home economics, mechanics, agriculture, and such courses as health-care worker, etc. Students don’t know what they want to do for a living until they are exposed to it, so exposure is key. We need welders, farmers, mechanics, drivers, maintenance folks, administrative assistants, and on and on. None of these trades necessarily benefit from higher education, but instead benefit the most from early teaching of the trades.
Why not provide a path to become a certified welder in high school? Why not provide a path to learn the trade of electricians? Why not teach about the benefits of organic farming? All these pathways should be available within the K-12 system so that upon graduation, young people are free to pursue their passion as a valued member of the workforce. The mindset that says, “To be successful, you have to go to college” is a mindset that has gotten millions of young people into debt for no reason, young people who then go into the workforce without proper skills and with a chip on their shoulder. We cheat ourselves and our youth if all available options forward are not considered and exposure is limited.
Quick Takeaway: Increase exposure to professions that don’t require a college education, and you lower the number of students who choose a 2- or 4-year degree as the only path forward, taking on unnecessary debt.