Spinoff of the job skills thread

eld6161

What is a college degree worth? When did the college degree become the new high school degree?

Personal story: in the upscale town that my DD’s grew up in, all students were groomed for college.

My youngest didn’t have a clue for a career choice. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Spanish. She decided to learn Spanish in college! She used college as a means of exploration, as did many from MY generation. DH was upset but I felt that she would find herself as the same happened to me.

Fast forward: DD realized she needed data science skills. She took classes from a data science program and became highly marketable. She learned skills that are needed now. And she continued to add to her skills.

I believe more young people will start to focus on skills needed, rather than degrees needed.

Looking at some of the jobs offered in DD’s nation wide high education tech company , not all require college. But, they do require extensive knowledge in IT, data analytics etc.

As this generation becomes more job skill focused, what will happen to the arts etc. the subjects that help round us and broaden our way of thinking?

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Lulu Smith

Back in the stone age when I attended college, my college granted Bachelor of Arts degrees to all those being graduated, regardless of major area of study. Specialization of study areas did not occur until the last two years of study. All students were required to study language arts, philosophy, visual arts, music, history, basic maths and science, and attain a proficiency in a "foreign" language. They viewed their college as a place where critical thinking, with a smattering of facts, was the most important thing you could learn. I specialized in maths and physics and was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Whilst attending, I resented the time spent on non-science subjects. I did not enjoy analyzing a Shakespearean sonnet. However I soon realized that the analysis was the important part of the course, not the actual sonnet. Furthermore, as I matured, I appreciated the softer-subjects I studied. A more rounded education has provided significant enjoyment as I visit museums, travel to other cultures, and attend concerts.

I fear that our young people will not have the benefit of this education that I was fortunate to have.

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sheesh(5b)

I hope we never move completely away from a well-educated public. Of course we need tech people, trades people, artists, etc., but why exclude them from learning to think critically, from learning about life and the world, so they can hurry into 40-50 years of one kind of job?

I congratulate your daughter, eld. she is well-educated and a value to our country.

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studio10001

' but why exclude them from learning to think critically' - I think the answer is in the question.

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blfenton

I have a 5-year business degree that also required taking electives from other faculties be it arts. sciences. Two favourite electives for commerce students were Forestry 300 and a course in the fine arts faculty interpreting movies. They were both considered easy courses. Sociology and political science were my go-to electives.

Anyway fastforward to my own kids, it was pretty clear early on that going onto a big university taking an arts degree was not in the cards for them. They were both smart enough but also wanted something useful. One did a Bachelor of Tourism Management from our local community college but what was interesting about that was that you did your major in the first two years (his was Destination Resort Management) and could get a diploma and have something to go into the work force with. If you stuck around for the second two years that's when the general business studies were and you would get a Bachelors degree which is what he did.

The other has a two-year associate degree and combined that with a two-year business degree majoring in real estate development from a technology school. The difference between his course of studies and mine is that his school doesn't waste time on electives. The whole program is just business courses and it is a bi!ch of a program.

Now he knew he was going to be competing against all those with their university business degrees so he went looking for a small new real estate development firm who couldn't afford those university degree students to hire him. The university students in the same field went to the big firms and were all pigeon-holed but when you're in a small firm you learn and do everything. That small firm isn't so small anymore and he loves the work and he has actually hired a university degree student.

Yes, there are options out there without having to go to university. But the one thing we always told our kids is that they had to have something beyond Grade 12 to give them a place to start. You might wind up getting a whole bunch of somethings but it doesn't have to be a degree.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

In a Europe, the broad general education covering history, literature and the arts is accomplished by the time you graduate secondary school. Tertiary education is career focused. You go straight from high school to medical or law school, for example. Of course you can still major in non professional degree subjects like art history or German literature, but the general education courses are finished before university.

I have come to see this difference between the European and American models as contributing to inequality here. Once we made college the new high school and thus made graduate school the new college, we froze out people who just needed to get a decent job once they became adults, people whose parents could not carry them through four to eight more years of schooling.

We cheapened a free high school degree to the point of making it useless and then we wonder why poor people are trapped.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

PS I think focusing on skills is key for people who need to be able to earn. General education is, sadly, a luxury good. I am forever grateful to come from a family which values art, philosophy, literature and history, all the while requiring its members to obtain a professional degree. Those values have served us all well.

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Lulu Smith

"The difference between his course of studies and mine is that his school doesn't waste time on electives. "

I consider that very sad: you feel electives are a waste of time.

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blfenton

Many do feel that electives are a waste of time. For those students who know what they want in a career the school that he went to is perfect for that. For those who want a more rounded education there are the universities. Choices are there.

In his case he already had an associate degree in history. He had enough.

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sheesh(5b)

Wasting time on electives.

I'm speechless.

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maifleur03

I have to agree with Lulu those electives are what broadened my knowledge. For some undecided students they also allowed them to explore a field which they realized that they were interested in even if they knew it was not a field that would provide financial security.

I liked the old style where there were certain classes that were required including a number of electives in the first two years. If you wanted job related courses without more than the basic one English, math, science course you went to a junior/community college and received a certificate or degree in your field. I found that some of the companies really only wanted the piece of paper and as long as you graduated they did not care if it was an associates, bachelors, or masters.

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jlhug

I think many if not all high school grads would benefit from a year’s apprenticeship or internship in the field they want to pursue for a career before college.

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bleusblue2

As I remember, from my reading, after WW2, all returning GIs were eligible for free university education. Did this play a part in making a diploma the common denominator?

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Lulu Smith

Yeah - As a teenager in college, I thought all those junky music and art classes were a waste of time. As a mature adult now, I realize I was wrong.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Some thoughts.

Maybe people need to realign what they think learning a "trade" is. Surely learning business management or real-estate management or Hotel management etc is equivalent to learning plumbing? You are learning a skill.

Once upon a time getting educated was primarily spending huge chunks of your life learning Greek and Latin and coming out knowing neither but having contacts with all the right sorts of people and a posh accent. Those people actually sort of looked down on those who learned a trade like being a doctor or lawyer.

While electives are wonderful they come very expensive these days. Can people who aren't wealthy actually afford to get their enrichment in a University setting? With so many venues for learning we do have a whole lot more options.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Those people actually sort of looked down on those who learned a trade like being a doctor or lawyer.


Ha! Nothing sort of about the disdain for those who earned their money through their own labor, be it physical or intellectual.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Those music and art electives of the past now compete with far more diverse array of offerings these days.

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maifleur03

Last time I checked unless the school and professors agreed to wave certain classes each student has to have a certain number of hours to graduate. Anything outside of the core of the program is electives so all students would/should still be required to take some.

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patriciae_gw(07)

We had to have certain kinds of electives or I would not have wasted time or effort or money on stuff like PE classes or Sociology.

I do lean to the notion of what did you spend four years in High School for if not to get a general education. A student should come out literate, able to discuss poetry in a desultory sort of way, know some different philosophies so you can appear to know Lockian vs Filmerian family structures--just joking..... At least know there are such things. Etc. That is where you get your geography and history, basic math skills, learn if you are any good at that? That sort of thing.

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elvis

patriciae_gw(07)

Maybe people need to realign what they think learning a "trade" is.

I think of one's "trade" as being one's particular skillset which allows one to carry on in one's chosen profession, i.e., his trade is orthopedic surgery, her trade is IT.

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chisue

Electives are worthwhile, and travel is broadening. While certainly not superfluous, they are extras.

In the past, many men attended college exclusively for such abstract contemplation. A gentleman acquired this in the company of other gentlemen. (Gentlemen didn't require mundane education from a college.)

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arthurm2015(Micro-Climate, Zone 10b Sydney, Australia)

Job skilled focus! Like that! I've written before about starting work in 1955 in the Actuarial Department of a Life Insurance Company filling the inkwells, running errands, doing clerical work. No! I did not end up being an Actuary!


The point is that many of those unskilled jobs have gone!


Many years later my daughter has an arts degree and starts working for a charity in the Mail Department.


No idea what will happen when my grand children leave school because all those basic starting off type jobs seem to have gone.


No inkwells and mail is dwindling fast.



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elvis

I do lean to the notion of what did you spend four years in High School for if not to get a general education.

And they should come out knowing at least one other language besides English.

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Lulu Smith

I'd be happy if they came out knowing English. The problem is they don't even know English. Dats da bomb, aint that right himbo.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Lulu, what on earth do you mean by that?

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Lulu Smith

Many people are graduated from high school without a rudimentary ability to understand or speak English.

In the United States, research shows that anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent of first-year college students require remediation in English, math, or both.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2016/09/28/144000/remedial-education/

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elvis

Lulu Smith

I'd be happy if they came out knowing English. The problem is they don't even know English. Dats da bomb, aint that right himbo.

I wish it wasn't true, but sadly, in many cases, it is true. When I used to read their witness statements in court cases, the spelling, grammar, and my goodness the handwriting, were often atrocious. And these were high school students or slightly older. Ugh.

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patriciae_gw(07)

I was referring to "Dats da bomb, aint it right himbo". Are you trying to say that is how kids speak coming out of school or something?

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Moxie(Z4 St. Paul, MN)

By the early 1990's it was hard to get a job in some fields without an undergraduate degree of some kind - almost any kind - even if it was unrelated to the job. I distinctly remember quipping that it proved tenacity and the ability to cope with bureaucracy.

Nowadays most larger companies require one to submit a resume and application electronically. Programs that scan and filter resumes and applications don't cope with anything that doesn't fit the template. It can be hard to get an interview unless one has a personal path into the company.

At one point when the economy tanked and unemployment was high, I worked for a company that started requiring an MBA and several years of experience for entry level accounting jobs. They has so many applicants that they were using those qualifications to reduce the pool of prospective candidates.

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