The past four years have proven interesting, as the media and others have begun a national conversation around the idea that, for far too long, public education has intentionally alienated millions of students as the "College at All Costs" mantra was repeated over and over again, and as millions of skilled labor positions were left unfilled.
Somewhere along the way, our system got off course. We defunded once thriving occupational programs for high schools, we gave students the impression that they are Losers with a capital "L" and are destined for a life of hamburger flipping if they don't get a college degree, and we devalued all kinds of labor that wasn't white collar.
All of this happened while the cost of the average college education has risen almost 500% since 1985. (See Forbes March 2012). CollegeData.com collected information on the current cost of college and had this to share:
"...a "moderate" college budget for an in-state public college for the 2016–2017 academic year averaged $24,610. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $49,320."
This means that the average four year college education today costs over $100,000 for an in-state public school and almost $200,000 for a private college!!! And to make matters worse, kids don't graduate in four years these days, as the average time it takes to graduate with a Bachelor's has now increased to almost SIX YEARS, (see Politifact article) thereby increasing debt exponentially. Our
18 year high school graduates are making financial decisions that can keep them in debt until they are 50 or 60 years old, some without ever having worked a day in their lives, never having taken out a loan, never having been provided with solid personal finance knowledge...and heading into careers that will pay far less than will allow them to have any sort of decent quality of life as they carry an incredible burden of debt. Many families these days are wisely reluctant to follow the "College at All Costs" mantra, and are beginning to question the value of certain degrees...and if the enormous amount of debt accrued is really the best choice for their child, particularly when the average middle class family has little in the way of resources to contribute towards college tuition to lower that debt.
While we are absolutely not denigrating a college degree and see the value of a university education for many, many learners, we are simply advocating for a wider array of options for kids, and to help people truly see how we are leaving many of our young people lost, and devaluing who they are and their unique gifts.
College, military, tech school, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, trades training...there is far more than one direction for a young adult to go with their life, and we are here to CELEBRATE the diversity of options AND learners!
So four years later the need is greater, our experiences have better informed us, and we are going to share all we have learned and everything we stumble upon! And THIS time, the web site won't be abandoned...I promise!
We do hope you will join our Facebook community and contribute your knowledge, your opinions, and your experiences. We hope to create a place where encouragement and collaboration will help all of us better assist our learners as they consider a future filled with hope and possibility!