Education seems to be in America the only commodity of which the customer
tries to get as little he can for his money.

Max Leon Forman (1909-1990) Jewish-American writer.


They say that we are better educated than our parents’ generation. What they
mean is that we go to school longer. They are not the same thing.

Douglas Yates

Let me ask a few questions:  What is a degree worth?  Do you really need to go to college to be an auto mechanic, or a hair dresser?  Aren’t these things best learned from a “Master” in the trade?  Isn’t the term “Master’s Degree” indicative of a degree of learning acquired over a large amount of time working up from apprentice to master?

At one point in time you didn’t just wake up one morning and decide that you were going to be a blacksmith, you were apprenticed to a blacksmith and as you worked, and learned you would earn your education and maybe a meal by working with the blacksmith, he would teach you your trade, usually for no pay, sleeping on the hay in the barn and doing the dirty work until you earned a promotion to Journeyman after a seven year training period.  Some apprentices would work as journeymen for a master craftsman until the day they died.  Not every apprentice became a Master.

So here I would like to say, not that we should go back to feudal times, but perhaps a guild system would work for us.

Yes, we need labor laws to prevent employers from taking advantage of their work force, but there are so many rules and regulations to wade through it’s just easier to stay an employee and let someone else worry about it.

My education was attained out of spite, not any desire to accomplish anything.  Though I am using my education right now, all things that I learned in college I could have learned without paying the price of tuition.  The books that I was required to read, the poems that I was required to analyze, the essays I was required to write, all are things that I could have done on my own without the drawl of professors or the tests about 20th century European Literature.  I got a degree simply because a teacher I had once, told me that I wouldn’t, that I couldn’t, that I wasn’t smart enough.  But did I need a B.A.?  No, frankly, not at all.

But I did need the experience of college.  Nothing can change that, I made many friends there, ones who are using their college degrees just as thoughtfully as I do, that being not at all.  And yet we still paid for them, we still put years of work into them.

Yesterday I was ranting in public to my Mom as we entered a craft store, I was saying how useless a college education is, and how Universities “Suck”.  This elicited a chuckle from a bystander who then said she worked for a University and that she agreed.  I apologized, in case I might have offended her, but Mom thought it was interesting that her opinion was the same as mine.  If there are others why don’t they speak up?  Is it because educational system is so poor at the primary and secondary level that if it weren’t for college kids would be barely literate?  That can’t be it, can it?

I don’t know, but something needs to change.  President Obama seems to think that we need more citizens with college diplomas, but we don’t know what to do with the ones that we have already.  America needs more jobs before we produce more college grads.  It’s simple supply and demand, there are more degrees than the workplace can handle, making it necessary for workers to get higher and higher degrees to compete and stand out.  There are fundamental pieces missing, and there is a lack of interest in the subject.  All anyone talks about is the importance of a college education, not the reason why it’s so important.  Just something to think about, I welcome any comments.



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