The College Con
The greatest sting of all … when measured in cold, hard cash …
is the college con.
Lovable grifters might make for endearing movie characters … but this college hoax … this is one swindle that punishes.
It’s a scam aided and abetted by our very own government … and put into motion by college con-artists who fatten their bottom lines on the inevitable misery of baited undergraduates.
College has become a modern American myth … a costly delusion consecrated as the only hope for a contented life … the only sure-fire ticket to the American Dream. And each year … without fail … millions of high schoolers are conned into ‘givin’ it the ol’ college try.’
“College for everyone” has become the mantra of the current reform mania. It’s whispered in the ears of second graders … plastered on school walls … and ever-mentioned as part of this Common Core delirium.
Couple that insidious brain-pounding with old fashioned classism … and a powerful dose of 21st century lookism … where perceptions top reality … and you’ve got one helluva sleek shakedown.
No, it’s not entirely new … but now it’s more refined … and more emphatic … and more pricey than ever before.
But a backlash is already underway. Middle America is wising up because too many have learned the hard way that a college degree just doesn’t deliver as promised. So there’s a powerful blow-back … a counteraction …. to the dogmatic mania that life without college is hardly worth living.
The Common Core zealots have simply over-done it … gone too far in Universalizing college for an entire generation.
And there are ulterior motives galore.
Local high schools measure their success not by lives well-lived, but by the number who dash off to college … even for a year or two … because college-bound kids are the new snoot-statistics.
Few mention the ugly underbelly … that nearly 50% try and fail … because that revelation is bad for business … so it’s smothered.
The hype is non-stop … from the president on down to the local guidance counselor. It’s a financial full-court press on kids who’ve never written a check … or ever paid a credit card bill.
But government loan sharks are there with seductive loans … to make sure those college dreams morph into long-lasting nightmares.
And it’s never mentioned that just one-third of all Americans actually earn a four year degree … or that millions have created very satisfying lives without college.
Today, young trades-people seem to be the most contented segment of the newly employed … with secure futures of steady employment and rising incomes. And they’re in demand, too. And that demand isn’t subject to the winds of the economy. There’d be agonizing misery without such tradesmen to fix our failed air conditioners or burpy oil burners … or our clogged toilets and leaky roofs.
Public and private education … on all levels … need to embrace these employment realities … so that young people with alternative interests and skills can prepare for careers ignored by the current reforms.
These tradesmen have wonderful, successful lives. They buy homes and become pillars of their communities and … ironically … their taxes support the very schools that told them college was a must. Oh! And there’s no regret among these successful folks either.
Lots of kids … cajoled by guidance counselors and Common Core pressures … buzz off to college unprepared and unsuited for what awaits them. And in a semester … or two or three … they drop out. But the debt drops in.
And our own federal government is a profiteering-accomplice to this misery … because they offer easy loans that’ll haunt … and burden … young adults for years to come.
Student loan-debt now dwarfs credit card debt by billions.
Think about that for a second!
Some 44 million borrowers now owe … are you ready? … $1.45 trillion.
That’s an average of $37,172 in student loan debt … up six percent from just last year alone.
That chunk of debt-money floated those already well-endowed colleges … and their activist, job-secure faculties. And now those kids … or their families … are in high-hock … and too many think this is very okay.
It’s not okay. It’s wrong. No matter which way you slice it … it’s a scam.
But some millennials have seen the light … and presented others with some very real options. Skilled workers are finding lucrative positions while their college-trained … and debt-shackled … pals languish in low-paying service jobs with dim futures. There are few happy career baristas.
The world has shifted once again. So look for the electrician driving the Porsche … and the roofer cruising the lake in the mahogany ChrisCraft.
And it’s a good moment to remember that public education isn’t a farm system just for for the college bound.
Nor is it a revenue-raising program for college fat-cats … or the federal government.