Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who goes to college and about the way our society has formed to see college as a necessity for everyone. There have been numerous studies that show a college education – at least a technical degree – is necessary for a person to make a living wage. This, to me, is a tragedy, not only for those who don’t have the academic aptitude – through disability or previous education – but also for those individuals for whom college isn’t giving them skills they really want.
I want to be clear and say that I do believe that college – especially the broad education of a liberal arts degree – has benefits for everyone – deeper knowledge, cross-sections of understanding, etc. Yet, for some people, these skills are less necessary – or at the very least should not be mandatory for everyone to make a living wage.
Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft explores this reality, and I would really like to read it. As a professor, I am really torn here, but I am finding that the way we’ve devalued other kinds of work to be profoundly sad, and I’d like to see how we can go about changing that.
I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s an idea that comes up with every new group of students I teach. I wonder what – if any – solution there is for this dilemma. Any thoughts?