I graduated high school in June 1961 and went to work (actually went looking for a job; didn’t find one until November).
A few years later it dawned on me I should go to college so I started at night. That lasted a year. I became frustrated taking required courses of zero interest or need; I quit.
In May 1968 I was called into the army. In August 1969 I obtained an early out to attend college, it required I attend the equivalent of full time. By that time I was married and needed to work full time as well. So I worked full time, attended school two evenings a week and all day Saturday.
In July 1970 our first child was born, October 1971 #2, May 1974 #3 and September 1975 #4. By this time we had moved and I was still attending school three nights a week. I traveled from work to school to home and at 6 am back to work. There were days I never saw the kids. At times it wasn’t an easy nine years, but I don’t recall whining to a politician or the press how hard it was to work, go to school and raise a family. I and millions of others just did it.
Finally, in 1978 I obtained a degree, a piece of paper society and my employer said was necessary, but in fact had not one thing to do with my job and which taught me virtually nothing I hadn’t learned in high school. I know that’s not everyone’s experience, but it’s mine. How was this paid for? VA benefits, some employer tuition benefits and with my money.
For the next 32 years I worked, got promotions, increased my income and obtained a real education in the process.
In 2019 all we hear is student debt, forgive student loans, I have to work while going to school 😢, this couple accumulated $700,000 in student loans in quest of the American Dream.
Neither a college “education” nor making it free nor wiping out loans will lead to success. There is no magic wand. The people who complain today will always complain, about their job, their life and their lack of getting their fair share.
We need to evaluate what we teach in high school, why it takes four years for a degree, what jobs truly require a four or more year degree, why college costs what it does and what alternative forms of training and education can better serve the needs of the majority of people and our 21st century society.