The Education Money Trap

And you thought I might have something scathing, sarcastic and scary to say about the terrible tax bill that the party of the deficit (which they now own) passed Friday evening. But since the horrible House tax bill will need to be reconciled with the even more horribler Senate bill, I figured I would wait a bit.
Then I saw this article about education and money and how our focus on college has become even more skewed than our focus on money and how money influences our decisions. How money has become the overwhelming money focus of our money lives to the money extent that a college education is all about…money.

The crux of the article is that it’s currently illegal for colleges to collect and publish information on how much money each of their graduates is earning, what kinds of jobs they have and other information related to…money. Which bothers me a great deal because I am truly concerned about our present preoccupation with money and how students typically see a college as a four year job training program… with beer.

And that got me thinking. About me.

Because if you included information about me and my work experience, it might not lead to the type of information that might be helpful or that accurately reflects what some consider to be a typical college experience.

For example, I graduated from Syracuse University with a BA degree in two majors. One was in Television/Radio Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the other was in History from the Maxwell School in the College of Arts and Sciences. Both of these colleges are at or near the top of the rankings in their respective fields and I am duly proud of my accomplishments. Many of the graduates from these programs are thriving and are making valuable contributions to their fields.

Consider, though, that almost half of all college graduates are not directly using their major in their employment, including me. I’m a public school teacher and, yes, I do use my history degree every day, but I didn’t attend a school of education and I’m probably bringing down the income average of those classmates who are making more money in communications and media. Any prospective student would then look at my information and come away with financial information that doesn’t match my academic experience.

This is the problem with…money.

And this is also the problem when we, and I mean teachers, parents, guidance counselors, test preparation companies and society in general – focus on the financial aspects of a college education at the expense of its real purpose.

What we really need colleges and universities to publish is a happiness index or a satisfaction index or the ways in which a degree has made us more educated, more reflective, more compassionate, more inquisitive and more consequential, because those are the characteristics that we want people to come away with after spending four years at an institution of higher learning.

And we can use more people like that these days.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

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Robert I. Grundfest

I am a teacher, writer, voice-over artist and rationally opinionated observer of American and international society. While my job is to entertain and engage, my purpose is always to start a conversation.

Website: http://anjfarmer.blogspot.com