Auto Repair and Plumbing Should be College Majors
Colleges and universities sustain themselves by convincing parents, guidance counselors, and President Obama that a four-year college degree should be the goal of every student. One recent consequence is a complete government takeover of the student loan program. A longer term and persistent result is that we have more students going to college but not graduating.
Compounding the problem is that so many of these college dropouts leave campus with no degree but substantial student loan debt. The student debt load is increasing, with students at for-profit colleges taking (and defaulting on) a disproportionate share. (Source) For a close look at the ridiculously wasteful (for students) for-profit college industry, watch the PBS production of College, Inc. or at least read the interviews.
I have a proposal to end this madness.
We need more good plumbers, mechanics, electricians, and other skilled tradesmen (and women). People who can competently build and fix things we use every day. We don’t need more college graduates (or dropouts) with meaningless degrees, performing jobs that do not even require a degree. We certainly don’t need any more lawyers, investment bankers, and MBA goofballs populating Wall Street and scheming ways to steal our money.
The problem is that many people feel inferior if they don’t have that college degree.
So teach them auto repair, plumbing or another skilled trade. Give them a test. If they complete the course and pass the test, give them a college degree. Let them walk across the stage with a cap and gown and hand them a nice diploma. Make it a proud moment for everyone. Seriously.
What do we care if they didn’t live in a dormitory or get drunk at a fraternity party? Neither did all of those online degree seekers at the University of Phoenix. If they can solve my plumbing problem or repair my car the first time, I’ll happily pay them a lot more than some business or English major who waits tables or manages a Starbucks but can’t build or fix anything.
The Bachelor of Plumbing Arts degree. The Bachelor of Vehicle Repair Sciences. Yes. Their time has come.