A number of people today get degrees when it is questionable that their degrees make them any more likely to obtain employment. According to Frank Bruni's article, the Imperiled Promise of College, of the New York Times:
"According to an Associated Press analysis of data from 2011, 53.6 percent of college graduates under the age of 25 were unemployed or, if they were lucky, merely underemployed, which means they were in jobs for which their degrees weren’t necessary. Philosophy majors mull questions no more existential than the proper billowiness of the foamed milk atop a customer’s cappuccino. Anthropology majors contemplate the tribal behavior of the youngsters who shop at the Zara where they peddle skinny jeans."
So if a college education isn't going to lead to financial gain, and instead saddles young people with debt while leaving them with only the kinds of jobs that they could have gotten directly out of high school, why go? Bruni suggests more Americans study math and the sciences, citing how employers import such talent. But worldwide, most people are not super geniuses or disciplined when it comes to the hard sciences or mathematics. They are unique talents, which is why for certain skill sets, they pay more money. If everyone were able to get an engineering degree, the value of said degree would be worthless. The fact liberal arts degree have to go find employment in retail suggests that there are simply far more graduates than suitable jobs.
And perhaps the biggest problem is that there is apparently no respect for people who work ordinary jobs. Go to college and get the fabulous career, many young people are told. Well, most people are not really fabulous. Most people are regular joes, and will end up doing regular work. And there's nothing wrong with that. Oh, and some of the greatest people who have reshaped our society like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg had no college degrees.
There maybe a reason why the above innovative men did so well. According to Seth Godin, writer of Stop Stealing Dreams:
"Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists. Of course, it worked. Several generations of productive, fully employed workers followed. But now?"
Mr. Godin argues the purpose of education is often to condition people to be passive employees, particularly in an industrial mode (not necessarily within industry per se). Education often doesn't encourage creativity, networking, or outreach. These are things that are quite necessarily in business.
Also, the digital age has completely changed the nature of education. The writer of this piece paid $40 for a class on political blogging. What I've learned from this one month class taught by Lee Stranahan (a man with neither a high school or college degree) perhaps surpasses what I could have gotten from many masters programs (a number of people graduate from these programs and still have great difficulty promoting their writing). I do have a degree in history from Cornell University. But in the regular workforce, I was virtually unemployable as there really is no demand for historians. So I turned to writing and ultimately found out I loved it.
That's just it. Even when one does have an education, one shouldn't restrict one's self to a career in the major of what one studies in. That maybe a problem with education as well, as it narrows and restricts what a person thinks he or she can do. As Seth Godwin said, '"Stop Stealing Dreams." Its time for the public to realize education is an industry concerned with making money just like any other, and its not necessarily in a person's interest to have degree after degree.