College not worth it?

Bloomberg survey can be found here.

I can’t make the decision for you because the price of college varies greatly and the wage you are going to be making after college varies even more greatly and is based not just on going to college, but on your choices you made during college and are going to make after.

However, I do want to point out a few things about the article itself that struck me. I’m not journalist, but I had to laugh when I heard about it this morning, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

I should also say that I am not anti higher ed, but I do question whether it is the best choice for many people and I question whether higher ed has taken on a role it is not suited for (mainly, advanced high school). However, here we go.

The survey follows a call by President Barack Obama for the U.S. to achieve the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020.

I quiver at the thought of setting such a goal and what it could mean for higher ed. If No Child Left Behind has taught us anything, it is that setting goals around simplistic measures (such as graduation rates or test scores) leads to many unwanted consequences. If you lower the bar in order to graduate more people, then it is a worthless statistic (much like test scores). The goal should always be to increase the quality, not necessarily the quantity. If you can get both, awesome, but a focus on quality should be front and center.

The organization, an independent research group funded by Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, surveyed 2,142 adults, aged 18 and older, from March 15 through March 29.

I put this quote here (even though it comes before the one above in the article) because it sets up my next quote. Mainly, they are talking to people who are between the ages of 18 and who knows how old. Having studied education, I can pretty safely say that things have changed considerably in the past 20, 30, 40 or 50+ years. We don’t really have a breakdown of who exactly is being talked to so we can accurately evaluate the next statement.

At the same time, 86 percent of college graduates said that it had been a good investment for them personally.

Can I toss a big ‘ole “duh” onto this one. A large majority of people who decided to do something said it was good. That’s not surprising. However, taking into context what I said above, we need to keep in mind that if something was true even 10 years ago, it does not make it so now. College does not cost the same today and is decidedly different today than it was. It would have been more interesting if they would have broken it down into age groups or graduation dates to see if there was a change there. To me this is a meaningly statistic.

That survey, conducted March 15 through April 24, showed concern about diminishing higher education standards and quality.

This is from a college president’s perspective and is actually being reported on from a separate survey. With the rising cost of education, you would hope that there would be rising standards and quality but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe we should be asking why that is. What is the root cause of this problem (and don’t say money)?

Some 58 percent of college presidents said public high school students arrive at college less well prepared than their counterparts a decade ago, according to the survey.

Same survey, just a different question. I think we’re finally getting close to the actual issue. High school today is a humongous joke, and it will continue to be unless the focus of high school changes from being nothing more than college prep and instead focuses on preparing a person for life outside of the education system. College should not be the goal, it should be a decision that is made based on the needs of the actual student.

College has been diluted to High School: Part 2 and while I don’t have any answers, unless we quit focusing on the symptoms and instead starting hitting at the actual problems, we are not going to get anywhere.

As a final disclaimer, this is all just my opinion and is only an accurate take on what I am thinking currently. I’ll change my mind tomorrow.