The article What's the Key to Success in the United States, by Jacques Steinberg covers a controversial issue. In the article, Steinberg questions the relevance of college or university education. She does this by discussing various views by different people on their beliefs on the importance of holding a college or an undergraduate degree. At the beginning of the article, Steinberg contends that the idea of receiving a higher education which is thought to translate into a happier life due to higher earnings is a cliche.
In her account, the author explains that low-performing high school students who eventually join college have a higher probability of failing to get any bachelor's degree. For this reason, Steinberg points out that the college fee for these students can be a lot to waste and she further recommends that the money is channeled into helping the student in an alternative way.
Nonetheless, Steinberg writes about an emerging group of influential educators and economists who are trying to employ some entirely different doctrines; other than usual college education among students. In their account, this influential group points out that it is the high time for the education system to devise a credible alternative for those students who may not be willing to attend college or even those who are unlikely to be successful perusing a degree.
In most financially disadvantaged states, there is a significant cut of help provision to higher education institutions, a measure which has substantially been propagated by a sharpened focus on the economic crisis.
Citing some opinions from various professors, such as economist Richard K. Vedder of Ohio University and Political scientist Charles Murray, among others, Steinberg writes that there is an attempt to steer several students towards receiving intensive and efficient vocational and career training through the employment of techniques. Some of these techniques are such as corporate apprenticeships and expanded high school programs which seek to assist the students in attaining hands-on experiences other than merely following the cliche, attending college.
A majority of the aforementioned professors believe that many jobs do not require one to have a college degree.
According to Professor Vedder, who cites a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today in the United States, various jobs are expected to grow at a rapid rate over the next decade. However, a majority of these jobs do not necessarily require one to hold a college degree. In his account, Professor Vedder contends that among the ten most rapidly growing job categories, accounting and post-secondary teaching are the only two groups that essentially require one to be a college degree holder. In the same vein, Vedder poses the question why a significant percentage of mail carriers are bachelor's degrees holders. This, in essence, drives his point on the irrelevance of college education to most of the working people in various job categories in America.
On the other hand, quoting a 2008 survey done regarding employment, Professor Lerman of the American University contends that various high school graduates will substantially benefit from merely being taught to behave and communicate in their workplace environments. In his contention, Professor Lerman resonates well with this specific survey since it confirms that in the State of Washington alone, various employers argue that many employees lack the necessary skills in cooperating well with others, listening actively and decision making, among others. In his account, Lerman says that these skills can effectively be attained through serving the high school graduates with these skills at the high school level, other than getting these graduates through college, in the hope that they will learn these skills by default.
However, despite the importance of such vocational programs which essentially teach the relevant skills for the workplace environment, the push for national education standards has continued to dwarf the existence of these programs. To back up his contention, Professor Lerman spoke about the CVs Pharmacy Chain programs that seek to teach, through apprenticeship, aspiring pharmacists assistants in their numerous stores.
Focusing on the health sector as a field in which the available manpower falls below average, Professor Lerman highlights that he is willing to try working with the relevant employers so as to encourage and foster these vocational training programs so as to improve an employee mastery of skills in those jobs that are more demanding in terms of expertise.
Additionally, Professor Lerman references a study of a German program whose results indicated that a majority of those students who excelled in an Abitur exam preferred to apprentice in various financial fields such as trades, sales management, among other professions. In Lerman's account, when these students leave their respective apprenticeships, they usually are in higher demand than college graduates.
Thus, in a nutshell, Professor Lerman, as a strong change advocate in the current education system, proposes that both the government and the employers need to make a significant national investment that will focus on, on-the-job apprenticeship training.
Conversely, while various scholars propose a radical renovation of the current education system through questioning the relevance of college education in various job categories, other people like Peggy Williams are of a different opinion. In this particular article, Steinberg writes that Williams understands the relevance of pushing students towards college. In Williams account, if kids are being told that they shouldn't go to college, then, in the long run, they are being deprived of an essential experience that fosters their growth.
More so, Ms. Williams confirms that, if by chance, her school, Mount Vernon High School, provided a better vocational alternative to education, she would readily use that chance to counsel her students out of the usual precollege track.
To further explain the relevance of having a bachelors degree, Steinberg quotes Morton Schapiro, an economist at the Northwestern University, who argues that even those students who have only a few years of college experience have an added advantage as compared to their high school graduate counterparts. She contends that the added advantage is seen in the lower risks of unemployment as well as earning more money than the others.
Towards the end of the article, Steinberg cites the opinions from various scholars such as Mr. Schapiro from the Northwestern University who warn against overlooking the impeccable benefits that students are bound to derive from a college education. Therefore, the relevance of college and university education is not measured by the economic benefits that the students get in the end but rather by the overall growth the students achieves through attending this crucial part of their education.
Generally, Steinberg looks at attending college and acquiring a bachelor's degree as a two-edged sword. At the beginning of the article, Steinberg centers her article on critiques opinions which all question the relevance of college education. Nonetheless, towards the end of the article, Steinberg, on the other hand, gives the views of various scholars who highly advocate for college and undergraduate education, citing the benefits that come along with the degree. In conclusion, Steinberg does not give her individual opinion of what she eventually concludes after looking into the varying opinions by various scholars.
There are ten growing job categories. Among them, only two, a bachelor's in accounting and a doctorate in postsecondary teaching, require college degrees. Nonetheless, the increasing need for registered nurses, customer service representatives, home health aides and store clerks, which are all jobs that do not require bachelor's degrees, is expected to overshadow this growth.
Unlike other educators who propose a comprehensive renovation of the system to teach work readiness in community colleges, Professor Lerman publicly recommends a substantial national investment by both the employers and the government in hands-on apprenticeship training. Speaking with appreciation, Professor Lerman cited a CVs Pharmacy chain program in which ambitious pharmacists assistants intern in numerous stores. After this apprenticeship program, many of these assistants proceed onto studying to become full-time pharmacists.
Steinberg, J. (2010, May 15). Plan B - Skip College - NYTimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/weekinreview/16steinberg.html?pagewanted=all
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