"Trying to defend our current education system is like putting lipstick on a pig..."
We are living on the edge. We are living an unsustainable life. Most of us know it. Some refuse to believe it. There are so many ways I could go from here. However, I will focus only on one - our higher education system.
Last year it was reported by Forbes that our national student debt now totaled $1.2T. I could only imagine what it is today. It is almost impossible for a kid to finish a degree without going into debt up to his or her eyeballs. What makes this even more tragic is the lack of career counseling many kids get at most colleges. For example, "Johnny" want to get a degree in Art History. "Johnny" goes to a private college. Rather than tell "Johnny" he does not stand a snowball's chance in Hades in finding a job in this field, the school just lets "Johnny" rack up all kinds of debt. "Johnny" graduates with a $30,000 student loan, is only able to find a job at Home Depot, and now has no chance of affording a house or starting a family.
The vast majority of colleges refuse, let me say that again, refuse to control costs. They have a sense of entitlement to charge whatever they want, and kids then borrow money to go there. In Minnesota, we have just frozen tuition for two years. Some Democrats want it to go longer. Notice I did not say costs - I said tuition. So the taxpayers pick up the tab. Costs continue to grow like weeds. This is due to the "big box" universities using the old inefficient system of educating our youth. And that needs to change.
We need to get back to the "why" of going to school. It is to learn? It is to become trained in a skill that will land you a job? First, let me begin with the "learn". Most of us learn every day. We live in a world of instant retrieval, instant facts. At our fingertips we have a PC, a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, or a combination of the above. We have access to almost unlimited websites at the speed of light (theoretically). Web based courses could easily be constructed that TEACH, TEST and VALIDATE. All this for a fraction of having a professor (or aide) do the same thing at a "big box" school.
We next need to look at the supply and demand of education. Not to step on our personal freedoms, we should be encouraging our youth to become trained in something that will 1) employ them and 2) there is a need or demand for. If we as a nation are going to be backing the loans for education, we need to make sure it is a good investment, and not just adding to the next bubble which is set to burst.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said this past June in the Huffington Post he believes the student loan bubble is about to burst. And when it does, it will be the death of certain colleges who have refused to control costs. Why will the bubble burst? More and more lawmakers will finally see the student loan amount as unsustainable and step in to curb it. Cuban believes student loans will become "capped". The house of cards will then start to fall. When that happens, forced changes to our higher education will occur.
This election season, when someone comes a knocking at your door (or calls you on the phone), ask about our student load bubble. If that person responds with something like "tuition freeze", you know you are talking to one of our many Statists. Don't settle for dodging the question - get a position.
To compete with India, China, Japan, Korea, or whomever in the future, we need a major tune-up in the way we educate our young. Failure to do so will result in many of us working for foreign companies in the future. Our time of global leadership will be over.