Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Student Debt Trap is, thankfully, coming undone

I am just THRILLED to see all of the press that the idea that the college debt trap is getting.

Story after story about how the economics of private liberal arts colleges just don't make sense for middle class and working class people. The economics of energy in the future means that middle class millionaire's that blow a half million "educating" a couple of offspring are committing a sin. Parents willing to let their kids go into big debt are committing a mortal sin - or are just as dumb as a bag of hammers...

Unfortunately, the word that half of these colleges won't even BE HERE in 10 or 20 years has not made it to the fore... but it shall. Peak Oil and Peak Credit are here for the U.S., as is Peak Student Tuition Payments. Hallelujah!!! That 6 hour a week tenured prof will thankfully be joining those soon to be former government workers earning a living from honest toil...

Now, if we could just get that other part of our f***ed up educational system on the mend, you know... K-12...

Its a start.


PioneerPreppy said...

I been sayin.....

tweell said...

The word is indeed being passed, but I'd not be so sure that these highly educated grasshoppers will have to actually work, any more than bureaucrats do. The colleges will shrink some, but many of these folks will hop on over to that K-12 money smorgasbord.

Stephen B. said...

K-12 won't survive as is by any means.

Certainly districts that spend millions on bus transport to move students many miles to consolidated district schools are going to have a problem. (Some kids in some parts of the country go 20 miles or more to middle and high schools.)

And then there's the matter of ultra-expensive special education. I know of ultra special ed, boarding, residential treatment schools that cost upwards of $130K per year..... and here in MA, if a kid's IEP (individualized education plan) determines that he (and it usually IS a boy) needs such services, sometimes in a court of law, his school district has to swallow that cost.

Two examples:

No, there's BIG changes coming to public K-12 education.

I'm still trying to figure out just how much the private K-12 school universe shrinks too. I guess the answer to that depends on how all unbearably expensive the compulsory taxes that support the public K-12 schools get while Mommy and Daddy try to pay the private school tuition.

Joseph said...

The good news is there are the rare gems that make it through the system and see the problem when they are young. May this young lady go on to do great things.

Donal Lang said...

It would be worth learning Chinese though. ;-)

westexas said...

The daughter of some of our friends graduated from high school in 2005. I offered by opinion about what we are headed for. She asked what I thought she should major in. I suggested that she look into something related to agriculture. She looked at me like I had grown a second head.

She graduated last year from a well regarded private school with a degree in ethinic studies and she is now working at near minimum wage for a charity.

Her brother had previously graduated from college with a political science degree, and is now in law school. His mom said that they had to so something to get him some job skills. I asked what if he still can't find a good job after law school (and another six figure plus eduction expense). No response to this question.

These are two examples of the wave upon wave of recent college graduates with skills that very poorly equip them for a post-Peak Oil environment.

Anonymous said...

I would concur with Westtexas that most certainly higher Education isn't preparing nearly anyone for post-peak oil world, but neither is our government, culture, or the delusional exceptionalism that empowers status-quo myopia.

I worked at both colleges and universities and would say that a bulk of degree's hold little value in the modern economy. Certainly degree's have become 'work permits' but this is as much a problem with our culture/students as the institutions. A bulk of students go through the motions of schooling feelings its their 'next step' and don't care much about their education, they aren't intellectual curious, don't study much, and spend their bulk of free time with social media and staring at cell phone's texting.

There are still some degree's of value, and a real education is 'lighting a fire, not filling a bucket' and can be attained without a degree--but let's be honest the few intellectuals who don't go to college--aren't the norm.

I think ripping on college Prof's is just hitting on a broad generalization. Sure, I worked with the prof's who found ways to work 15hrs a week, but I also found many to have a very strong work ethic who put in massive amounts of time in research and helping students--beyond their office hours etc. I worked construction when I was younger, and I saw just as many lazy asses there--probably more so than in Higher Ed, showing up to a job hungover, taking long smoke breaks etc.

Overall, I think higher ed has many problems--beyond financial, but these just reflect the lack of awareness and the many problems in our society at large, these kids believe the cool-aid is good for them, and their parents tell them this is so. We don't have the one-room school house society any longer--where my Grandfather only finished 8th grade, but was one of the smartest most accomplished people I knew--both privately and in the world of work. Now adays, 8th grade education just represents a drop-out 'loser' and college degrees have become a gross oversimplification for 'thinking/learning'.


Greg T. Jeffers said...

Hey Westexas:

Any opinion on Iraq's export potential? Email me if you have something.


I take personal responsibility on how to get my kids going as productive adults, and I am trying to communicate overpaying for something of this magnitude is beyond irresponsible.

Maybe middle class millionaires won't be so affluent in the future. Maybe wasting $500k doesn't seem like a big deal now... but in a decade or 2, millions of folks are going to be digging clam shells into their scalp and whining to the heavens (IMHO).