posted on Apr, 26 2011 @ 01:53 PM
I wrote this article for middle school in the late 90's. I found it the other day and thought it suited today's world quite nicely, so I tweaked it
to meet modern technology and times. I'm not really sure under what section this belongs, so Mods, please move at will.
What made the United States of America great was our ancestors' willingness to get their hands dirty. Not everybody was a social servant- a vague
group that includes doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers and teachers. The entrepreneurs came from every walk of life and college was anything
In the 1960s, sending your kids to college was the foolproof strategy to stop them from becoming a hippie (not that I have anything against hippies-
oh wait, I do). But, instead of telling their kids that, our parents or grandparents told them that going to college is the only recipe for success.
Eventually, this idea evolved into an almost completely foreign one that says, if we want to make the world better and contribute to society (y'know,
to make the world a better place, man), we must get an elite job in social service.
In the past generation, this new (admittedly liberal) mindset working towards the immanentization of the eschaton brought along a decrease in the
numbers of butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers, plumbers, janitors and ceiling-fan installers. What did these jobs have in common? They were all
trades, or vocations.
The (albeit modernized) saying goes, “A man can survive on just water and bread, but with TV and iPads, he soon would be dead.” You see, our
necessities cannot be satisfied by divorce lawyers, international politicians, philosophers, preschool teachers, engineers and brain surgeons! They
are not the ones who go out and farm the land, produce the food and fix the household appliances! Anybody could survive without these people!
However, in this day and age of frowned-upon high-school drop-outs, America has seen a rise in these technical jobs that used to be exclusively for
the rich. Imagine the state of our economy if we relied on 3rd-world countries for our food. The Census indicates that the majority of the people in
these trades are either Hispanic or Asian. But in a few generations, half of these families will have joined the aristocratic genteel folk.
We need to fix this idea of mandatory college, or, even better, redefine the word itself!
Colleges were originally “training institutions that bestow trade qualifications.” Indeed, in the lands touched by the Crown (the UK, Australia,
Canada, the British Commonwealth Nations), the word college can be used synonymously with high-school. In America, colleges and universities,
identical terms, can award bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and the doctorates, which range from the areas of Philosophy to Law.
Trades are learned in vocational education. This vocational education is not offered in universities, but almost exclusively in community colleges.
Community colleges are two-year colleges that can only award associate's degrees, which are a step below the bachelor's degree. These colleges are
often attended by “accelerated” high-school students, and their number has increasingly dropped with the number of jobs in trade or vocation.
I believe that, in our redefinition of the word college, we must include community colleges. Universities must not only contain colleges and
post-graduate schools, but also vocational schools. With this promotion, the American youth about to go to college will not scoff at the idea of
learning a trade.
Thanks for reading,