Is college overrated? asks Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, Virginia.
Over the past five years, I have seen students who didn’t have the skills one would expect of a ninth-grader going off to four-year colleges where fewer than 30% of entering freshman graduate.
That means that 70% of the freshman class is likely to end up not with a diploma but a pile of debt.
High schools rarely track their graduates to see how many earn a college diploma, Welsh writes. They also fail to ask how many students need a diploma to achieve their goals.
Two of three jobs don’t require a bachelor’s or associate degree, concludes an upcoming Kellogg Foundation study.
Jobs in health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, retail trade and so-called middle-skill jobs such as plumbers, electricians, legal assistants and police officers will require job specific licenses or certificates from community colleges or technical institutes, and/or on the job training.
Some college graduates with bachelor’s degrees are enrolling in community colleges to earn job credentials, he points out.
High schools can’t evaluate their success by looking at how many students go to a college of some sort. The question is how many find a path to a successful adult life by earning a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or vocational certificate? How many qualify for an apprenticeship or for the military? How many go to college, take a few no-credit remedial classes and give up? The unskilled face very long odds, even if they’re motivated, as I’ve learned in writing Community College Spotlight.