Does education offer what it promises?

Does education offer what it promises?According to, FinAid.org, it is estimated that US student loan debt has surpassed credit card and auto-loan debt with some estimates putting it at $1 trillion. Current student debt will continue to grow and will be with students for years to come.

Nowadays, the general consensus is that students must obtain a degree or professional skill to have the best chance at employment. To me, this focus is skewed. Truth is, the result of their hard work would most likely be an increased risk of long term educational debt that than a guaranteed job at graduation.

There is a danger that skilled laborers will be filling shelves in grocery stores or going abroad to use their skills in another country. According to wiseGeek.com, more than 5,000 janitors in the United States have a doctorate or other professional degree, and more than 100,000 janitors have a bachelor’s degree or higher qualifications.
In the wake of a strong wave of academic inflation, graduates working in jobs unsuited for their skill level have rapidly increased. One in four amusement park workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and almost 20,000 parking lot attendants have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
Large multinational corporations seek employees who have the highest degrees and have attended the most prestigious universities. This is on the assumption they will make the best businessmen by virtue of their education.

An example of how this theory failed is the Federal Reserve. They have numerous economists most of whom, if not all, obtained degrees from well known colleges/universities. Yet, with all this great academic background, none could foresee the prime sub mortgage meltdown crises. Where was the value in education and degrees then?

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget report for 2012 said the crisis lost 8 million jobs, plunging the economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still recovering.

In my view, a small businessman would have had his finger on the pulse and been able to clearly see the dangers ahead. He would not be immersed in statistics, trends and forecast, but would make his decision on ‘actual facts and happenings’ that he sees on a daily basis.

It is always difficult to put theory into practice especially when it comes to business. So many successful business decisions are made on instinct and experience gained from actually doing the job and understanding what it takes to make the business tick.

Relying on forecasts and views from analysts and researchers to make decisions for the future is not the way to succeed. After all, how many forecasts over the years have been correct? I often feel that these forecasts are obtained by looking into a reverse crystal ball that only tells you what happened yesterday instead of tomorrow!

Too often we are told what people think we want to hear in an attempt to blind us with statistics to try and prove their point. It is like the businessman who wants to borrow money and produces a cash flow chart that shows how wonderful things will be if he gets the loan he is asking for. From my experience, I have never seen a cash flow that worked according to the projections.

Having a professor tell students how to be successful in business is somewhat of an anomaly. If the professors were correct, then all the students, and the professors, would be multi-millionaires running their own corporations!

The solution to education is how do we teach ‘street smarts’, something that keeps millions of small business owners in business? This type of education is something you cannot get from any college or university; you only get it from the University of Life.

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