Moreover, a majority of Americans (57 percent) say higher education in the U.S. “fails to provide students with good value for the money…” And 75 percent said college is too expensive.
A record number of students are leaving college with a heavy debt burden. According to the Pew study, nearly half said that paying off that debt made it harder to pay other bills.
Ohio University Economics Professor Richard Vedder wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June that expensive college tuition didn’t have to cost so much. He said fees could be cut in half by getting the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads to teach about half as much as the 20 percent of faculty with the highest loads. The top 20 percent, he said, presently do nearly 60 percent of the teaching.
“There is a tremendous need for tool makers, machinists and technicians within the next few years,” Raymond Hopp, president of HK Metalcraft in New Jersey, said. “That translates into excellent and well paying career opportunities for our young people; and college education is not a requirement.”
The success of students of color is integral to Obama’s stated goal for the U.S. to regain its spot as the global leader in college graduates. The country is currently in twelfth place. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called this goal the “North Star” of his department’s education efforts.
Carl Camden, head of the temporary-employment company Kelly Services, says skill shortages span an array of jobs, from electricians to CAD/CAM operators (computer-aided design and manufacturing) to PhD scientists for clinical drug tests.
“You can’t find engineers to take jobs in many cities,” says Camden. “We have three jobs for every candidate.”
In an article earlier this year John Ratzenberger warned that we have a “failing economy, crumbling infrastructure, and a workforce made up of college graduates and unskilled labor.” He is producing an education documentary for national release in early 2012 called “Industrial Tsunami.” He said it will showcase programs across the nation that are providing “hands-on, meaningful training to a new generation of Americans. There are some terrific efforts underway, primarily in the private sector[.]”
But that would be contrary to everything Obama believes.
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