38 Days ’til 40: Education to Nowhere?

14 Jan


We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history.  But they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go. ~ Timothy Leary

I was drawn to this quote by Timothy Leary today.  Perhaps I was drawn to the quote because he speaks to a reality that has been close to my heart for a long time.  I continue to be concerned about education, specifically higher education, in the context of our society today.  Many of my readers have endured my rants throughout this past year regarding the value of a university education.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly that knowledge is power and that education is a critical force for positive growth and change.  What I do not know, however, is whether or not our universities are serving our students and meeting their needs.

This, of course, then has a knock-on effect (or “trickle-down effect”, depending on the term you personally prefer) on our high schools.  If our high school curriculum and demands are driven by university admissions requirements, yet our universities are not really serving our students, are we not potentially failing our students from 9th grade on?

I should be careful about what I write – our universities are not failing all of our students – the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University recently released research showing that  49% of recent college graduates had full-time jobs within the first year of finishing school.  Add to that, those employed 49% need the job in order to pay back a mountain of student loan debt.  The other 51% have no way to pay back their debt.  Our economy is hurting and jobs are not easy to find.

We have another problem as well – many of the traditional blue-collar positions are being outsourced to developing countries where labor is cheaper.  Individuals who are suited for hands-on positions are struggling to find work and are now heading to college, only to be out of work four years later and in debt.  America lost a large portion of its economic stability to corporate greed and there is not an easy way out.  Capitalism is crashing…….  as greed got the best of the system.

I do not have the answers (I have said this many times), but I challenge myself to seek to find answers – I need to as I do not want to fail the students in the educational systems I am serving.  I care deeply for my students and their families and I want to believe I am assisting to equip them to survive and even thrive in the world of tomorrow.  While I do not yet know how we are going to solve these issues, what I do know is that we MUST teach our children to be adaptable, flexible, creative and innovative.  These are the skills that will allow them to forge paths toward financial stability and will give them the ability to adapt to the ever-changing job market they will one day encounter.

Today, 38 days ’til 40, I yearn to work with my colleagues to address these concerns and ultimately help the 51% of current college graduates who are struggling.  Additionally, we need to assist our future college graduates – facilitating a way for all of these individuals to get off the path to nowhere and on a path to somewhere.



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27 responses to “38 Days ’til 40: Education to Nowhere?

  1. Dr. Candis Best

    January 14, 2013 at 00:45

    Reblogged this on KnowledgeNationUSA.

  2. toniandrukaitis

    January 14, 2013 at 01:17

    You are so right. It is scary what our young people have to deal with. When I was a college graduate in the 70’s, I never had to worry about not finding a job, but rather which job I should I should accept. Thank you for trying to help!

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:16

      Yes, even when I graduated I did not have to worry – so sad what these generations are inheriting… 😦

  3. lengesinski

    January 14, 2013 at 01:23

    Your Impassioned Pleas, Advice, and Wisdoms to the Open Minds and Ears of the Youth Today……

  4. behindthemaskofabuse

    January 14, 2013 at 01:49

    One small hope, many will have the “know how” with computers and building businesses on line?

  5. dogdaz

    January 14, 2013 at 01:56

    I applaud your thoughts on ways to help the current college student achieve greater business success upon graduation. The economy has changed for sure, and just getting educated, for educations sake, is no longer something that is affordable, or wise. The really challenge lies not just in classically educating people but in helping them learn what it takes to survive in this new paradigm. I am who I am because of tons of classical education and life experiences. In the 70’s there were jobs a plenty, so I could major in anything that I wanted and still find a career after school, but not today. Today, I recommend that we give our students the broadest possible understanding of what is available for a career early on then work with them on innovation and independence in a way that we have never done before. It is the thought leader, the knowledge broker, and the innovator that makes it today, not the classically trained good student. As your birthday approaches I want you to know I have very much enjoyed your journey. I do hope you occasionally blog in the 10 years until 50.

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:15

      Yes, I agree with everything that you say!!! Thank you for your great insight into this issue and your kind words. I do hope that we are able to solve these educational realities, as they are part of a problem that seems to be growing, instead of shrinking.

  6. Another Thousand Words

    January 14, 2013 at 02:28

    A lofty goal, 400, yet it is achievable! Our economy has been deliberately sent into the ‘doldrums’, and no one (Congress) seems to be willing to put in the work to get us back on track. They continue to state they are concerned ‘for the children’, but when I read of college/university costs, even for in-staters, which have skyrocketed in the past ten years, I cannot figure how someone would even go about paying their loans as they cannot find work once they’ve graduated. Do ‘trade schools’ even exist any longer…if so, what would be the point to learn a trade, if such a large number of jobs are outsourced!

    I keep praying for some sort of ‘miracle’, I guess, where students can actually be taught, and not be at the mercy of politicians…and the lack of a federal budget. There is so much more I could expound upon here, but let’s leave at the fact that, if there were more educators of your caliber, our children would be better-prepared for Life…and its ups and downs!

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:14

      I am not sure we are going to get a miracle – we may need to hit rock bottom as a society before changes will occur.

  7. walkwiththerabbi

    January 14, 2013 at 02:42

    A well thought out summation as always. A few thoughts that “jumped out” as I was reading – actually, respectfully, applied knowledge is power, otherwise, it’s simply information. I speak to the issue of “Capitalism” in my book “The Walk” (“”), in a Chapter titled “Faith and Capitalism. The only form that will thrive going forward, is a Capitalism of the people, by the people and for the people. The present version is on it’s last legs. Our educational system needs to be focusing on each students “Unique Ability” and stressing it’s development, rather than on attempting to make their weaknesses, less weak. But what do I know? You are an amazing educator on so many levels. If you missed it, here’s a link to today’s post. I’d love your comments:

  8. sharonhughson

    January 14, 2013 at 06:47

    I have similar concerns and I’m not sure what the answer will be or if we can fix our current system without scrapping it from the bottom up. It does bother me that my two sons and I will graduate college and might not be able to get jobs in our chosen fields because the competition is so high. While I’m waiting for an answer to this problem, I will continue to serve my students as best I can, teaching them to think outside the box,not just write the right answer in the box.

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:12

      Yes, Sharon, I agree! I also wonder if we need to start over with something completely different.

  9. Julie

    January 14, 2013 at 14:33

    At the risk of being considered a name caller, sometimes it is pride and a sense of entitlement to exactly what they want when they want it. There is appears to be less willingness to start at entry level positions or take lower pay than what is desired until they have experience. The expectation is now for THE job and not A job. Maybe not in every case but in far more than most people realize. – my observation is an unpopular opinion -that it is attitude and perspective that has kept many unemployed.

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:11

      Ah, a very good point – I do see this with our students and the young people of today, at times – sadly, it seems this phenomenon was created by helicopter parents.

  10. Julie

    January 14, 2013 at 14:41

    I want to add that it isn’t all the fault of the educators. I do not believe they have failed the students. I wonder if the problem is not the students are failing the educators.

    • 400daystil40

      January 14, 2013 at 23:10

      Perhaps a bit of both?

      • Julie

        January 14, 2013 at 23:55

        Definitely. I do applaud trying to do something about it. As a parent and grandparent, THANK YOU!

  11. sued51

    January 14, 2013 at 15:31

    I am not in the education field, but I share your views. These days we are best served teaching our children “survival” skills. I think we need to go back to a modified version of “home economics” in schools and teach children about “want” vs “need,” good nutrition and creative cooking, marketing themselves, goal-setting, and organization. These skills will teach them how to live and survive in these tough times and help them in whatever job to wind up doing.

  12. knittingmydayaway

    January 16, 2013 at 02:16

    good post


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