I have debt. Not as much as some of my friends who were forced to leave the state in order to find jobs that pay enough for them to survive and pay off their loans. Do I regret going to college to receive my bachelors, every day. As an 18 year old I was not ready to choose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I choose education, I student taught my final semester of my final year and in college and realized....I such at it. I don't want to be a classroom teacher for the rest of my life. We are pushing ALL of our students into 4 years degrees that "make money", but those money jobs don't come easy and there is, in fact, a finite amount of everything.
Then I think back to my grandfather who finished 7th grade. Worked all his life, apprenticed under a family friend, started his own business, raised a family, and retired happily to over 100 acres of land and everything he needed to ENJOY retirement without debt. What is wrong with that?*
I have two uncles who are plumpers and they make GOOD money. I have another uncle who is an electrician, he has a summer house in northern Maine, on a lake, with a boat that cost just a little less then my masters degree. With no debt. Why are we pushing kids into four more years of classrooms and tests when many of them would thrive working with their hands. I understand education, I spent four years of my life learning how to educate others. So why am I so much happier with a hammer in my hands. I have seen many kids forced into college only to return home thousands in debt and no degree. These are the same kids who would rip their snowmobile to the frame and rebuild it in a week or two. The same kids that would struggle with algebra 1 but then design and weld a trailer for that same sled in a weekend. I have always felt we need to teach kids the basics, give them real world examples to explain why this is important for them to understand. Hard work and failure are all part of life but drill and thrill education is useless, and BORING!
I think this is why I am so involved and excited about Project Based Learning and the Maker Movement. I lean by doing, with my hands and feet moving, by making lots of mistakes. I survived in public education because I was lucky enough to have excellent teachers and a family that worked with me to transfer the skills I learned in class to everyday real world problems.
How can librarians help bridge this divide? How can we help students take that leap from passive consumer to active learner? I have some ideas but i'm still working them out....
*Yes you still need to finish High school.
Arnold, Chris. "Economists Say Millennials Should Consider Careers In Trades." NPR. NPR, 02 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Berliner, Uri. "In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work." NPR. NPR, 06 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
Khalid, Asma. "A Different Road To Work, Bypassing College Dreams." NPR. NPR, 26 July 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.