Today's Question: Is the value of college overemphasized?

Worth it?

Todays Question on MPR– Is the value of college overemphasized? — prompted this comment from GregX, who said American business has generally abandoned its its job of training workers:

I don’t know if we have an economic system that is designed to let them do anything else (but go to college). I think that system is the problem. We don’t know how to grow employees “in-place”. We’ve become entirely adicted to the SEP ( somebody else’s problem”) model for our business and corporate operation. We’ve combined lack of organizational responsibility – and just in time-ed-ness in the worst possible delivery system for trained people.

And yet Steve the Cynic has brought up the classic reasoning that college isn’t just about job preparation, and yet that’s all that’s emphasized by society:

If you think of going to college as merely a way to make one more employable and to get a higher salary, then yes, it’s over emphasized. If you think it’s part of a process of becoming a better citizen, more able to contribute to the well-being of humanity, then it may well be under emphasized. When business elites get us to go along with their misguided belief that collecting money is the most important thing in life, sneering at the study of subjects such as history, literature, music, arts, philosophy, etc., we lose sight of what money is for and become mere cogs in the soulless machine of business.

Emery takes a related view, saying a diploma does show that a student has grown in areas that non-degree-holders have not:

Unless a standardized test delves into a candidate’s psychology, there is no proxy for a college degree in signaling that a person has attained some level of mental and social development (regardless of actual learning). I think it is this traditional outlook that underlies the push to make college available to as many students as possible, and it is this outlook that underlies the income disparity between graduates and non-graduates.

Today’s question is based on an Intelligence Squared debate being aired on Midday at noon. The debate is over whether too many students are being pushed into college, considering the unemployment- and debt rates among recent grads.

You can tune into that here.

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