Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Phone conversations with my uncle, dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, barbecue with friends, pool parties with homeschool moms...what do they all have in common?  The topic of education and the possibility of an education bubble always come up in conversation.

What should we tell our children?
How should we advise them?
Should we tell them to go to college? 
Does going to college ensure them a good job?

Penelope Trunk doesn't think so.

I've read that kids will have a better chance for education and financial stability if they took the money they would have used for college and opened a company.  Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, will even give kids $100K if they are smart enough and make this choice.

I can not imagine telling my kids NOT to go to college.  We started college funds for them when they were babies.  We have talked to them about attending community college for the first two years because it's cheaper, and as friends of ours who are professors at large universities point out, in the first two years you take your core subjects.  Core subjects at a community college are taught in a more intimate setting where your professor may know your name; core subjects at a large university are often taught in a lecture hall where you are a number.  We have talked to our girls about going to school in state and living at home to cut down on cost.

No matter what my girls choose to do, I would really like to see them go to college.

But, I am concerned about what kind of job they will have.  I am concerned about what the workforce will look like when they get there.

My generation, Generation X, is the first generation to have less than their parents...where will that leave our children?

I am concerned about where our society is headed.  As much as I would like to see my girls go to college, I resist the idea that you need to go to college to have a good life.  I work at the public library, I deal with the general public on a regular basis and I can tell you that there are some people out there who just are not higher-thinking, higher-learning material.  What will become of them?  What are their job prospects?  Will people look down on them because they are not college material and thus won't get a good paying job?

There is a part of me that is sensitive to this because my husband does not have a college degree and is a blue collar worker, but has always made enough money so that we live comfortably and I have always been able to be a stay at home mom.  Sure, part of that is our priorities and some sacrifice on our part, but even in my own family I have felt that we were judged poorly for my husband's lack of degree, blue collar job and my choice not to work, but that is another post altogether.

I think we need to change the way we think about blue-collar jobs.  Wiring your home, building custom shelves, installing flooring, trimming trees...all of those jobs will always be in demand and can never be transported overseas.