Saturday, May 19, 2012

College is a Racket!

Now that information is free via the Internet and even your local library, why are young people being forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to have information spoon-fed to them?

I dream of a new movement of lecture societies, apprenticeships and people who are interested in educating themselves coming together, but it's doubtful it will happen in controlled America.

The colleges really are not that interested in teaching anything useful, outside of some highly technical fields where they are forced to put you in a lab, they'd rather indoctrinate you into being a good little consumer. College today, is basically a mercenary exchange where a young person exchanges a giant pile of money [or future debt] to receive a piece of paper that allows them entrance into the job world. Of course that said, that piece of paper is not guaranteeing that anymore is it? And how many people even from a generation ago, admit that their college degree was worthless as they most often ended up doing things like flipping burgers, cleaning toilets or telemarketing that had nothing to do with those 4 years of sitting in class?

I remember my alma-matter, and while in the late 80s they built endless million dollar buildings including a new retrofitted sports arena, they had their hand out for an endless array of tuition bills, incredible fees, and more. My own parents resented me as they took out a loan for my education to pay a portion of it, I paid the rest, and that lauded higher paying job after college never showed up. Of course my health issues were interfering by then. I remember working in the college dorm cafeterias putting cookies on heavy trays and making sandwiches for fellow students for three and half years to meet my expenses, getting the huge tuition and housing bill that zoomed up way past the rate of inflation. Summers were spent in a variety and mixtures of day care centers, factories, camps, and restaurants. The money from my months of summer work would vaporize immediately upon the dawn of September.

More then a couple times, with my dorm bills late, I went to class receiving notices, that I could be evicted but would get them paid just in time. By the way, I looked up what the kids are paying now, everything is THREE TIMES the amount I paid, why doesn't anyone ever question how much it all costs?

The phrase money hungry does not even do justice for the lust for cash, my alma-mater had. Every misdeed meant a giant fee. Even buying books could break you for a semester, I bought all used and even in a few classes was so broke, I had to borrow other people's books. It was good I read fast. Even that could cause one to lay down 300 bucks in one day. Some of my classes required supplies too, and often those came too dearly as well.

Even applying for a teaching job in a dead market in 1990, cost three dollars for every school to send out credentials. [You weren't allowed to make your own copies and the schools required the information to be sent from the college]. Three dollars doesn't sound like too money, on the front end, but just think applying to a mere 10 schools means 30 dollars. Then add on even more costs if you want to go out of state for a teaching job, back in 1990, $150-300 dollar was the cost for a teaching certificate. I do not want to know what it costs now.

The whole system was designed to pick my pockets from 1986-1990 and leave me without much in the way of a real living wage or future. In my case, I lost out on regular teaching jobs due to declining health--my state required medical exams of would be full-time regular teachers at the time. I would spend years piecing together substitute teaching jobs, with other part time jobs. So I got to be in the schools, and had a well paid part-time alternative school teaching job, that lasted for a few grant based years but was it all worth it? I would say "NO!" without hesitation.

While I went to an elitist suburban high school in the early 1980s, which put down the blue collar crowd, their main focus was to teach us the anti-ethics of that then go-go time. A decent Vocational Education probably would have made things a lot less stressful on me. Perhaps if I had gotten a job with actual medical insurance, disability could have even been averted.  Back in the late 1980's I would have been better off buying a small house for $40,000 and enjoying life rent-free rather then seeing it all burnt to a crisp with nothing to show for my efforts except a piece of crispy paper encased in an "6 x 8" faux leather cover.

In my case, I could get a few day-care jobs and $67 bucks a day as a substitute teacher but that was about it. I was left living the rented room-boarding house life and out of milk crates for years, the poverty would not improve, it would only worsen. Out of my graduating class, I knew only ONE person who got a regular teaching job, and their parents had connections to people in the school district and they were able to get a Master's Degree. The rest as the Baby Boom teachers, held onto their jobs with an iron grip, disappeared into a variety of alternative schools, Montessori centers, residential homes, day care and substitute teaching. The promised wave of teaching shortages never came and then the school lay-offs and hiring freezes had already begun.

Later I would go for a paralegal degree, thinking it was more stable and easier on my health rather then the physical rigors of teaching, by then I had specialized in the troubled and violent youth market to stay employed. However the worries about the hordes of unemployed lawyers taking the only jobs available nibbled at the edges of my mind. I would be forced to move to avoid homelessness, taking a residential care job out of state, not realizing the money-hungry colleges would deny all credit transfers, to make my completion of this post-baccalaureate  degree even with only two classes left impossible. Later I would return to my former state, would do an internship once a week fitting it around being disabled, and would be denied due to the passage of too many years and told I would have to start from English 101, bachelors or no bachelors, talk about the lust for cash determining their decisions.

College has become one of the biggest rip-offs on the planet. I even realized to my horror, as I grew older and more wise, away from my start of college at the age of 17, that I learned far more for FREE, outside of the classroom just from having a love of libraries and reading non-fiction. There I could learn things outside of being indoctrinated, and so much college was absolute nonsense--- goddess worship in women's studies classes writing a paper about whether you were an Aphrodite or other Greek goddess, art classes that taught absolutely no real techniques or craftsmanship-paint your "feelings", history classes, that were so superficial, and never asked any real questions, education classes with weird experimental group-think stuff taught for future indoctrination of those younger then you. I'll admit my class selections could have been better but what did I know at 17? One got the idea that education wasn't about real thinking but just adopting the twisted world view of out of touch professors who still thought it was the late 1960s.

Even as I started being a teacher, I had to study up quick to go survive in the classroom and write some actual realistic lesson plans. My life was spent in a fury at the library, learning what all those thousands of dollars hadn't bought me.

 Think about this is college really paying off for young people? or is it really enslaving them? Just to remind people, I do think education and learning are good things, but what happens when it becomes abused for a captive audience to get that piece of paper even just to make a living, and those who run the system make that piece of paper harder and harder to get and more expensive? Something is very wrong with that picture.

Watch this video to figure more of the college game out.

If you are young and reading this rethink what you are being told and the automatic go into debt formula. Don't believe every word your high school guidance counselor tells you or all those fancy brochures that sell college to you. Make sure if you do go to college, that you enter a field that gives you a fighting chance of a living wage and a job when you are done. If you are a parent, make sure to discuss this with your child and don't think protecting them from how hard it is to make a living will do them any favors. Tell them how the system really works. Tell them what happened to their older cousins or uncles and aunts, try and break through the youthful idealism that tells them, "it won't happen to me!"

College may pay off for a few still, but at least go into it with your eyes open.--The Squawker

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