Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bloomberg tells middling students to become plumbers

Mayor Bloomberg advises middling high school students to go into a trade instead of college. His rationale is that unless you're a top student, you will get a better return from plumbing and working than four years of college, plus you'll be debt-free.

I'm on the fence, here, but I think he's generally correct. The decision is muddled by your major's prospects and made murkier still assuming college isn't strictly an economic decision. Some people, including yours truly, went because they didn't know what else to do. We all have our reasons, including avoiding trades because they aren't presTTTigious.

The decision is a lot less murky if you're pursuing a liberal arts degree and are thinking of doubling down and taking your 3.2/155 to law school. Just accept that everyone but you realizes it's a terrible idea, find something productive to do, and move on with your life. Especially if you're from Bergen County and attend Siena College.



    On October 20, 2010, Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder wrote a story entitled "Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?" It was published by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Make sure to look at the chart, and the following excerpt, Dumbass:

    "Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree."

    It might help to keep the BA or BS off your resume, if you want to become a plumber.

    Later on, Vedder writes:

    "The relentless claims of the Obama administration and others that having more college graduates is necessary for continued economic leadership is incompatible with this view. Putting issues of student abilities aside, the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees."

  2. Aldous Huxley saw this coming in Brave New World 3 generations ago. As an experiment an island was populated not with the usual mix of castes, Alphas down to Epsilons, but 100% Alphas. Happiness and productivity did not result; instead the Alphas schemed and counter schemed to secure the "Good" jobs. Education may be a general benefit, but schooling and degrees meant as job market credentials are another thing. Too many credentialed graduates; too few slots; sorry!

  3. it makes sense.

    in retrospect, after 40 years in the work place and now retired, I would say that this makes sense. not everyone needs or desires a degree. it was a lie sold to students to keep them out of the work force. most degrees are not worth the time or money to get. you would be better off to start a business with that money. even if you failed, you would learn more than listening to some graduate student mumble thru their standard lesson plan. spend the 4 years in a library reading the great books. join the freaking navy. anything better than wasting your time and money in a third ranked university. if you are not in a top 10 or 20 program, you will not generally be a player, ever.