The current American college system was created decades ago to fit the needs of a growing population that had traditionally gone uneducated: at the time, the system consisted rather on leaving high school and entering the work force.
After World War II and until the new millennium, this scheme of things took a turn, and high school graduates across the United States looked to improve their life opportunities by having a college diploma to their name, a fact that was sure to make the student attractive to companies in America and anywhere else in the world – being an expert on paper through holding a diploma on a specific subject was sure to make students appealing once they entered the work force.
Under this manner of things, a worker with a college diploma from a respectable and private university had the world in his hands.
This also constitutes the starting point of a vicious cycle: since a college education is expensive, so students get into enormous debt to be able to go through with their chosen programs; however, due to the fact that the current educational model is overly theoretical, unpractical and downright obsolete, they are not able to find jobs once they’ve graduated and then, finally, since they can’t find jobs and are even forced to move back in with their parents (due to a a socio-economical phenomenon dubbed “The Boomerang Generation”), these now college graduates can’t pay back their student loans, because their labor unproductivity won’t allow them to gain back that kind of money.
This is the current panorama of graduates of even some of the most renowned colleges in the country, as these institutions have been unable to keep up with the times – and, most worryingly, they seem to have lost touch with the needs of the market, making it impossible for the men and women who’ve recently graduated to successfully apply for jobs that they should be perfect for due to their supposed training in school.
Obviously, this is worse for some careers than for others. For example, the graduates that suffer the most from this disconnection are perhaps those in social sciences and computing ones – in the cases of both career paths, this often happens because the curricula can’t keep up with the speed the new technologies are being invented.
Because of this situation, the need for a restructuring of the system has come to my attention. The rationale behind choosing this topic is that it’s a growing social concern that prepared individuals who’ve gone through a so-called “good” education actually end up lacking the skills that would make them thrive in the job market.
The object of my investigation will be the need to create a new system of higher education, in which college graduates obtain the true skills they’ll need when it is time for them to enter the work force. Also, this new system would have to encompass a way for these students to achieve a good education without having to get into debt that they could potentially be paying for the rest of their lives.
This new system will have to be focused on skills and practicality, rather than merely going over the tradition behind academic work that, although maybe intellectually stimulating, might not necessarily make a college graduate fit for the “real” world, particularly in terms of the job market.
Whether it is by creating high schools that will last a few years more and provide students with a practical degree (such as, say, commerce or a technician of some sort) or creating new curricula that adjusts with the fast-moving times we live in, it is evident that something has to change in the way things are currently being handled at the level of higher education in America.
Supporters of the current state of things might argue that a shift in the higher education system might be too costly and without benefits. However, to this I respond that, although a restructuring might take up costs, it is not so much spending as an investment: in the medium and long term, the students who are leaving colleges will be able to get jobs or even create others through entrepreneurship, meaning that they’ll enter the work force and will bring a steadier economy to the country.
As far as the tuition goes, supporters of the way things are being dealt with right now might consider that subsiding tuition will lead to money losses – however, for this I suggest that there could be a new system that would help students lower their debts through scholarships or even taking a significant fraction of the money of state lotteries to pour it into powering up community colleges to make them more enticing, with more appropriate curriculum for its students to enter the work force.
Annotated Works Consulted
Barkin, Robert. “Sticking to His Guns.” American City and County, Nov. 14, 2013. Online. This article talks about how Jay Tibshraeny, the mayor of the small town in Chandler, Arizona, has created an enormous number of jobs and has kept the community afloat and among the fastest-growing cities in the country, thanks to the mayor’s commitment to economic development in the Price Corridor. In my investigation, I will use this article to show what can be done once an elected official gets down to business working on policy; this will be to further the point of the necessary changes.
Bencini, Robert. “Educating the Future: The End of Mediocrity.” The Engaged Reader, 189. Print. This article exposes the problematic of the current system of higher education, particularly when it comes to college. The article argues that university, as an institution, has grown distant from its connection with the job market, focusing on form rather than on substance; it also argues that employers don’t want to hire as many people as they used to and that the ones they do hire they do based on their knowledge rather than what their major is or generally speaking what kind of post-high school education they’ve had. I will cite this work to demonstrate the point that there needs to be a restructuring of the system of higher education, since colleges has lost their longtime connection with what the job market needs.
Foroohar, Rana. “The School that Will Get You a Job.” Time International, Vol. 183, Issue (2014). Print. This article exposes a new wave of possibilities in regards of post-high school education, including strongly the idea of a 6-year high school that will allow students to leave their schools with more technical knowledge that can make them more attractive in the job market. I will cite this work to show a real and working example of how a new system in higher education would improve the life of students, or at least define their job path better giving them some actual skills.