Before I say anything, I want to state that in no way is this BLOG intended to cast dispersion on Trade Schools. It is painfully true that this country needs more people who can fix and build things, instead of just moving money around.
I read an essay in the Washington Post this past week by Fareed Zakaria in which he speaks to the issue of some of our political leaders as emphasizing the need for more engineering and science curricula in colleges and the de-emphasizing or even elimination of the humanities and arts.
When I went to college at SIU in Carbondale Illinois, the first two years were devoted to “General Studies”. students had very few “electives” options and were required to take, such “meaningless” course as Philosophy, Music Appreciation, Literature and yes physics and chemistry and language.
Today, in many large “Trade-iversities, students are required to declare their majors upon entering the system. This is not only ludicrous, but I believe damaging to their development as total students and citizens. Do we really believe that the average eighteen year old knows what she or he “wants-to-be-when-they-grow-up”? I did not – I started out in engineering and my career in in advertising and media planning; and I will bet that a lot of us out there are not working in the fields of our chosen majors in college.
I see this problem as one, in large part, due to the insanely high cost of getting an education, today,
“… get that degree and start paying off your exorbitant student loan…”, is a huge road block to an expanded curriculum.
President Obama’s initiative to make the first two years of trade schools, free is a great start in the right direction and should be carried over into the university system as well. Ten percent of the military budget would go along way into starting this process.
Many CEO’s will tell you that a prospective employee with a more liberal arts background makes a more creative and total, employee. As Mister Zakaria points out, While U, S. test scores in Math and science are below those in other countries our inventors and scientist are still the most productive and creative in the world, due in a large part to our liberal education background. The best test takers in the world – the Japanese and Chinese, are still better at copying than at innovating.
Sure, we need engineers and scientists but they should be able think in creative, and philosophical ways. Let the trade school teach the trades – our universities should supply a more well rounded education.