Sunday, April 15, 2012

College vs. Education

A short time back the Obama administration came out strongly against "for profit colleges".  They seem to feel that there are no limits to their need and ability to involve themselves in controlling  the free market. The implication was that every child must attend college and that higher education may only be provided by traditional, non-profit, colleges providing traditional degrees. The assumption being that degrees in ethnic studies, gender studies, and sociology prepare one for a future career as  well as engineering, architecture, and medicine along with many subjects that traditional colleges do not treat.

Of course, a lot of  students are not equipped for college and quite a few have interests that are not covered by the traditional schools. It was not that long ago when only the very bright or the well-to-do went to college. Since the country had a strong manufacturing economy, those that could not, or chose not to, go to college had opportunities to take entry level jobs in prosperous companies. These companies would train their young people or put them in apprentice programs as an investment in the future. Due to government interference or mismanagement, we have lost a great deal of that manufacturing base that made this country so strong.
The country still has a confluence of those that do not wish a traditional college education and a need for people to do the "hands on" work that traditional colleges do not address. After the end of WWII "for profit" colleges appeared. Some were there to do a minimum education and extract the GI Bill money that was available to vets so they could improve the future for their families. Some did a much better job right from the beginning. Now, sixty plus years later, those that have survived seem to do a pretty fair job of educating young people in a number of different technologies. From medical to electronic and even into such areas as automotive body work and repair training is available. The training of the huge number of people needed by the food service industry has been largely left to "for profits". That is a shining example of where they have succeeded.
There is a price to be paid, certainly. But, today, all education is expensive. Anyone going into a "for profit" college should do due diligence. Check out the facility. Talk to graduates. Talk to potential employers. This is the free economy. The good survive. The great prosper. The also-rans disappear. The market place rules. It is not a task assigned to the federal government by the Constitution to pick winners and losers. They want this power. No, they crave this power. But they work for us. Never let them forget that. We have no princes in America.

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