When reading chapter two of our textbook, the section about “Mismatch between Educational Attainment and Occupational Requirements” caught my attention. The facts presented by the authors of Tough Choice or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce were alarming, claiming that many countries today surpass us in having a workforce with a high school diploma or an equivalent. In addition, they also claim that the U.S.’s population of college students have dropped from 30% to 14% and continues to fall. These statements are a surprise and an expectation of what is to come because I have noticed these trends as well. In this modern age, there are more jobs available that don’t require a college education or even a high school diploma or equivalent, such as, fast food and retail jobs. This sends a negative message to children, misleading them to think that education is no longer essential in acquiring a job or a career. Another factor in lowered number of college students and high school graduates is due to the shape of our current economy. Many students can’t afford to stay in school anymore, and therefore drop out. Because of the increase in drop outs, companies lower their educational requirements in order to hire these types of workers. Others may continue in school but may find out later that continuing their educational career didn’t help them to land the job of their choice.
According to the article, “A College Degree Might be Worth Nothing” by George Leef, students have been over-encouraged by the government to attend college only to find that they might not end up at their dream jobs. The government uses numbers to demonstrate the payoff of going to college even though there’s no guarantee that a degree will secure financial benefits. Leef (2008) also notes that most college graduates are working jobs that don’t require a degree and that attending college has only put them in debt. This article gave me a new perspective as to why some students drop out or don’t attend college. It makes a lot of sense, especially in today’s economy, that some people may find college unnecessary in obtaining a job because of the debts from student loans and lack of job opportunities. Because of this, many people now might view college as a luxury and not a necessity.
Leef, George. "A College Degree Might be Worth Nothing." Carolina Journal (2008).