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Guest Post: Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Are you thinking of going to college?  If so, please consider that decision very carefully.  You probably have lots of people telling you that an "education" is the key to your future and that you will never be able to get a "good job" unless you go to college.  And it is true that those that go to college do earn more on average than those that do not.  However, there is also a downside. 

At most U.S. colleges, the quality of the education that you will receive is a joke, the goal of most colleges is to extract as much money from you and your parents as they possibly can, and there is a very good chance that there will not be a "good job" waiting for you once you graduate.  And unless you have someone that is willing to pay your tuition bills, you will probably be facing a lifetime of crippling student loan debt payments once you get out into the real world.  So is college a waste of time and money?  In the end, it really pays to listen to both sides of the debate.

Personally, I spent eight years at U.S. public universities, and I really enjoyed those times.

But would I trade my degrees today for the time and money that I spent to get them?


Right now, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans, and more than 124 billion dollars of that total is more than 90 days delinquent.

It is a student loan debt bubble unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and now even those that make their living from this system are urging reform.  For example, consider what a law professor at the University of Tennessee recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal...

In the field of higher education, reality is outrunning parody. A recent feature on the satire website the Onion proclaimed, "30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education." Allowing for tuition, interest on student loans, and four years of foregone income while in school, the fictional student "Patrick Moorhouse" wasn't much better off. His years of stress and study, the article japed, "have been more or less a financial wash."


"Patrick" shouldn't feel too bad. Many college graduates would be happy to be $11 ahead instead of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, behind. The credit-driven higher education bubble of the past several decades has left legions of students deep in debt without improving their job prospects. To make college a good value again, today's parents and students need to be skeptical, frugal and demanding.

When a lot of young Americans graduate from college and can't find a decent job, they are told that if they really want to "be successful" that what they really need is a graduate degree.

That means more years of education, and in most cases, even more debt.

But by the time many of these young achievers get through college and graduate school, the debt loads can be absolutely overwhelming...

The typical debt load of borrowers leaving school with a master's, medical, law or doctoral degree jumped an inflation-adjusted 43% between 2004 and 2012, according to a new report by the New America Foundation, a left-leaning Washington think tank. That translated into a median debt load—the point at which half of borrowers owed more and half owed less—of $57,600 in 2012.


The increases were sharper for those pursuing advanced degrees in the social sciences and humanities, versus professional degrees such as M.B.A.s or medical degrees that tend to yield greater long-term returns. The typical debt load of those earning a master's in education showed some of the largest increases, rising 66% to $50,879. It climbed 54% to $58,539 for those earning a master of arts.

In particular, many are questioning the value of a law school education these days.  Law schools are aggressively recruiting students even though they know that there are way, way too many lawyers already.  There is no way that the legal field can produce enough jobs for the huge flood of new law school graduates that are hitting the streets each year.

The criticism has become so harsh that even mainstream news outlets are writing about this.  For instance, the following comes from a recent CNN article...

For the past three years, the media has picked up the attacks with relish. The New York Times, in an article on a graduate with $250,000 in loans, put it this way: "Is Law School a Losing Game?" Referring to the graduate, the Times wrote"His secret, if that's the right word, is to pretty much ignore all the calls and letters that he receives every day from the dozen or so creditors now hounding him for cash," writes the author.  Or consider this blunt headline from a recent Business Insider article: "'I Consider Law School A Waste Of My Life And An Extraordinary Waste Of Money.'" Even though the graduate profiled in the piece had a degree from a Top 20 law school, he's now bitterly mired in debt. "Because I went to law school, I don't see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle," he writes. "I wouldn't wish my law school experience on my enemy."

In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt level has been steadily rising.  In fact, one study found that "70 percent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards."

That would be bad enough if most of these students were getting decent jobs that enabled them to service that debt.

But unfortunately, that is often not the case.  It has been estimated that about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

Could you imagine that?

Could you imagine investing four or five years and tens of thousands of dollars in a college degree and then working a job that does not even require a degree?

And the really sick thing is that the quality of the education that most college students are receiving is quite pathetic.

Recently, a film crew went down to American University and asked students some really basic questions about our country.  The results were absolutely stunning...

When asked if they could name a SINGLE U.S. senator, the students blanked. Also, very few knew that each state has two senators. The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.

I have posted the YouTube video below.  How in the world is it possible that college students in America cannot name a single U.S. senator?...


These are the leaders of tomorrow?

That is a frightening thought.

If parents only knew what their children were being taught at college, in most instances they would be absolutely horrified.

The following is a list of actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years...

-"What If Harry Potter Is Real?"

-"Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame"

-"Philosophy And Star Trek"

-"Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond"

-"Learning From YouTube"

-"How To Watch Television"

-"Sport For The Spectator"

-"Oh, Look, a Chicken!"

That last one is my favorite.

The truth is that many of these colleges don't really care if  your sons and daughters learn much at all.  They just want the money to keep rolling in.

And our college students are discovering that when they do graduate that they are woefully unprepared for life on the outside.  In fact, one survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the "real world" while they were still in college.

In America today, there are more than 300,000 waitresses that have college degrees, and close to three out of every ten adults in the United States under the age of 35 are still living at home with Mom and Dad.

Our system of higher education is not working, and it is crippling an entire generation of Americans.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that college is a waste of time and money?


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Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:39 | 4600957 RaiZH
RaiZH's picture

I certainly think so - I find university frustrating in terms of the course, but I feel like I have no other choice. 

(I do Computer Science and like 90% are there with the hopes of becoming investment bankers)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:39 | 4600981 90's Child
90's Child's picture

American education is just like religion.

It's used to control the masses.

Serfs up bitchez.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:54 | 4601031 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

It's not education, it's indoctrination.  Welcome to the future.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:56 | 4601043 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Teach your kid to be an autodidact then push him out the door.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:04 | 4601062 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

If I had it to do all over again I think I'd be a welder.  Or maybe an HVAC technician.

With a farm.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:05 | 4601064 ACP
ACP's picture

Now it's probably more a waste of money, as opposed to 15 years ago...

I sure learned a lot:

Which is stronger, Humboldt or Mexican greenbud.

At which point in your binge drinking is the "point of no return".

How drunk chicks will need to be before they say, "Alright, fuck it..."

How to become completely dependent upon the university for all your needs.

...oh yeah, and that birth control is a "civil right" and not something people should actually be responsible for.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:27 | 4601125 max2205
max2205's picture

If you don't and graduate from college odds will marry a meth addict who.will end up killing you......

Alex, I'll take college for $150,000

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:01 | 4601224 strannick
strannick's picture

"Dont want your cheap aroma, or your little bo peep diploma"

-Frank Zappa

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:27 | 4601128 August
August's picture

>>>At which point in your binge drinking is the "point of no return".

When you're lying in the gutter and people are laughing at you, you should maybe lighten up a bit.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:39 | 4601161 Chief KnocAHoma
Chief KnocAHoma's picture

College is not a waste of time. The best pot I ever smoked and best looking girls I ever laid happen often... like every week end... in college. Ever since it has been work, two kids, one woman, and shitty pot. 

But hey.. it could be worse... two women... one pot... shitty kids...


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 04:57 | 4601759 sodbuster
sodbuster's picture

 "I wouldn't wish my law school experience on my enemy." That statement right there, tells me he doesn't have what it takes to be a lawyer.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:43 | 4601888 General Decline
General Decline's picture

a lack of a soul?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:06 | 4602096 sodbuster
sodbuster's picture

...........and any moral values, whatsoever. What's the difference between a prostitute and a lawyer? A prostitute will stop fucking you, after you are dead.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:01 | 4601833 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Just some random thoughts from the academic trenches:

(1) College is what you make of it; there are many who make nothing of it. The moral question is why is the system set up to take their money and then let them do what they wish.

(2) The idea that everybody should go to college comes, in my opinion, from the left. College is not a panacea to cure social inequalities.

(3) Half the colleges could close down with little loss to society.

(4) Colleges are going to have to offer more pick and shovel curricula. My son transferred to Cornell's Hotel School and I can assure you he got a great education (especially when compared to what you get in some of the generic majors. 

(5) Some majors should be minors.

(6) Law school has been a do-over for those who squandered the first degree; that game is now being revealed for what it is.

(7) Be careful of the Dumb Fuck Interviews; you could survey a pile of people in any setting and find some who bat 0-for-5 on seemingly simple questions. 


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:36 | 4601876 bpj
bpj's picture

A great job is an Orange County public safety officer (baliff through life guard). Start when you are 18, make a $100,000 plus, retire at 50, immediately start a pension of $100,000 plus with life time insurance.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:53 | 4602054 zuuma
zuuma's picture

yes. a public salary job!  Perfect.

All sunshine and roses - until it isn't.

There's a great, boiling backlash forming against that kind of theft.

Expect drastic changes to occur in the public sector.

Like what, you ask?

What better way to pay for giant pay & benefits specified by an iron-clad contract - than to cheapen the money.

$100K/ year pension? No problem! Keep it! With our compliments. There. Contract fulfilled.

Unfortunately, a tank of gas will be $25,000.  (think $1 = 1 Yen, or $1 = 1 old Italian Lira).

BONUS: this works great on student loans, & gubbmint debt,  too!

If something can't go on forever, it won't.


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:58 | 4601048 90's Child
90's Child's picture

+1 indoctrination

One word to sum it all up.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:05 | 4601066 Vampyroteuthis ...
Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

I spent 10 years being indoctrinated. A very bright navy vet described the culture as similar to the military. It is true. Go get a useful degree (STEM) and NEVER go to graduate school.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:25 | 4601311 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

I did U oh Phoenix on the GI bill and tuition rebursement from my employer. I still wish I hadn't wasted my time on that and instead gotten higher IT certifications.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:58 | 4601396 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Knowledge is always only a book away. You don't need a fancy degree to say you know how to do something. Fucking do it, and people will say "alright. That guy knows what he is doing." Simple as that. It's like people went full retard and forgot this basic principle in favor of a very streamlined, standardized, and centralized system of certification that does not teach particularly teach real skill if you don't explicitly seek it every day. And most don't.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:09 | 4601534 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

good insights.  and the internet intensively used is a pretty wonderful and cheap library.  i picture autodidacts in, say, chad or sumatra learning chemical engineering or symbolist poetry on their cellphones.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 06:12 | 4601795 sm0k4
sm0k4's picture

You have a a point. But, what about physics, engineering, chemistry, biotech, and all other highly difficult areas of study? College has a place, but now with the easy .gov money gravy train, it is abused as everything is when .gov gets involved. Useless degrees that are a waste of money are the problem. When it comes up for debate in Congress, rather than tackle the root cause, they will tackle the symptom. Same playbook as the ACA. 

I had no problem with my 35k in college debt to get an engineering degree. I graduated in 2006 and owe 18k yet. Its a car payment every month, but I have a good job and my education was worth it. I think these college debt articles are the extreme edges where kids were being stupid with their decisions. 250k for a degree? That is just plain stupid. 


They need to break out the statistics by degree when it comes to debt per degree and job placement. This is just another biased article IMO.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:25 | 4601969 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

20 years ago one of the best 'engineers' at an alumina refinery I worked at had to have a special title and position created for him for liability reasons in order for us to engage his full capability- he was a tradesman who knew more than the uni qualified guys with good experience. I've dealt with this situation many times in my former profession.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:49 | 4602453 plane jain
plane jain's picture

My grandfather was one of those guys.  The engineers brought him plans to see if they would really work.  After he retired they paid him a lot to come back and work as a consultant.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:31 | 4603015 Marco
Marco's picture

There are only so many genius autodidacts, society needs rank and file engineers too.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:07 | 4602102 autofixer
autofixer's picture

Just great!  An engineer who can't do math.  Your bank masters thank you. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:50 | 4601898 General Decline
General Decline's picture

Skateboarder said:  "Knowledge is always only a book away."

Absolutely agree with you, however, if you want to land a job in some corporate monkey enviroment, you will need a piece of paper with some fancy-looking calligraphy scribbled all over it.  Ho...But, if you've the desire to learn and some balls, you can bypass that B.S. and carve out your own niche.   

I've said nothing insightful here.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 03:31 | 4601715 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

LOL STEM degree.

Get an H1-B visa instead and you'll get the job.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:01 | 4601919 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

Ah, but that brings up a very important point.

The article's author makes a good case for the value of not going to university; one which is even more powerful today when tuition fees are so much higher, but when you have access to endless free online courses.  (Comp-sci types must have a look at MIT's 6-001 SICP!)

However...  If you have any interest in moving and working overseas, you're going to find that many countries admit immigrants based on some sort of points system.  Unless you're already wealthy enough to qualify as an investor, you're probably going to need at least a Bachelor's degree in your field in order to score anywhere near the minimum number of points.  Rightly or wrongly, a degree will still open up a lot of doors.

This is especially important for those who read Doug Casey, Simon Black, etc., and agree that one day they may want or need to expatriate more than just their assets...


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:30 | 4601986 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

True, it can depend on the country you going to (some require more study in local contexts) but also your resume can get you through doors and your ability to meet people even more so. Also not so many seem to verify certificates outside of certain fields like medicine.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:12 | 4601091 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

I was indoctrinated to work hard and to solve problems (problem, after problem after problem). It was a program called mechanical engineering. Very rigorous and has been rewarding.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:44 | 4601183 Georgia_Boy
Georgia_Boy's picture

Ditto. The masters did help, and with the STEM fields you can find research assistantships that pay the tuition. I finished only about 7000 in debt, paid off less than a year after that, and my parents didn't pay any tuition. So guess who it fell to to pay off my wife's student debt (library science, not using it). I just finished that. The oldest kid goes in a couple more years. It's the cultural marxist reward for being the one who makes the smart choices, they just label you "privileged" and pile on more bills.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:18 | 4601289 Fidel Sarcastro
Fidel Sarcastro's picture

Library Science is a 4-year degree?  WTF is that?  To allow someone to go into debt for that BS is shameful, but the Universities do not care. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 01:08 | 4601612 Suisse
Suisse's picture

Library science is generally a masters program. 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:42 | 4601885 KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

I used to work with someone with a library science degree. It has its uses. His job was basically setting standards for medical terms. You may think it's stupid, but it's important that all the medical research papers use terms correctly and consistently or else people may misinterpret the meaning.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:27 | 4601315 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Learning Dewey decimal is a motherfucker. You have to know all of those numbers in sequence and shit...

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:01 | 4601412 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Dude tell me about it. This one time, they asked me to find x in Al's Zebra class. "It's right fucking there. Are you blind?", I says.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:47 | 4602043 Reference Variable
Reference Variable's picture

Oh man, same boat here.

I'm paying off my wife's social work degree from a fancy private university. Whenever she talks about what a good private school she went to I seethe with anger. It's the public school engineering degree that feeds her fat ass. I earned that fucker with many all nighters, lots of sweat, loose women, and copious amounts of alcohol.


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 12:54 | 4602878 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Sad, my husband asked me to marry him and one of the agreements was he would pay off my student loans ($15K) and I would forever give him my monthly earnings. So for thirty years he's gotten an average of 3k a month, presently $4600/mo and I pay all medical. I'm beginning to think he got a pretty good ROI. In return for his love, I keep my body toned and the bedroom fun. Perhaps you she introduce your wife to a treadmill.


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 23:57 | 4604850 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Dang Miffed, you negotiated a marriage?  That seems kinda fucked up.  I married my wife 'cos I thought she was hot.  36 years later, she's kinda wide in the posterior, and I'm suffering with dick-doo, but we still get along.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 16:01 | 4605909 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Well, I had a few other fellas at 16 thinking I was hot too! I was certainly attracted to Mr being the best of the bunch but I wasn't sure I wanted to be married so young. Finally, after asking me four times, he asked what it would take. I said 1) be out of school ( he finished college in 3 years) 2) get a job ( got one in San Diego right before graduation) 3) pay off my student loans ( not one lump sum, essentially help with payments) 4) get me out of Spokane WA.

I figured most men would say screw you lady. He looked me in the eyes with out hesitation and said DONE! We just celebrated our 30th and we've been together since 16 and are now 53. The guy is still wildly in love with me and you'd think after all this time he'd be checking out the younger set and driving a corvette. I must have something. But I do keep myself in pretty good shape for my age but I must admit I've got a bit of that pesky posterior spread ( yoga has helped the tone tho). I think he stays in shape just to keep up with me. We both love the bedroom and I think that's the key to stay young. Kinda a use it or lose it thang. Also being an obstreperous untamable filly that laughs at rules must help too! ;-)


Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:14 | 4615753 acetinker
acetinker's picture

I'll bet your husband is just miserable, and he don't have the balls to admit it.  Congratulations, Miffed!  It's all yours, can you keep it when hubby says 'fuck it'?  If so, good for you.

Been here long before you, sweetheart.  Sex and sexiness loses its appeal at some point, and you find you don't have a fucking thing in common outside of that, unless you have a dog.

Maybe it's different in Cali, y'all have always seemed 'self-absorbed' to me- it started with the Beach Boys and morphed from there.

Now listen, and know that I love you, and will never abandon you.

Your husband deserves the respect of your not revealing your personal relations.  It's none of my business, nor anyone else's.

Don't try and be my friend- I am an asshole.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 23:30 | 4619972 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Hmmm, I think I hit something there. A sore spot perhaps? No worries, I'm good at that. But, you're wrong. The guy truly, deeply cares for me and shows it every day. And me? I'd take a bullet for him.

Last august I had abdominal surgery. Damn thing opened up. A stinking smelly mess from hip to hip. My surgeon wanted me in the office every 2 days for dressing changes and cleaning. My dearest told him " I will care for my wife" and they showed them what to do. Every day before he went to work he took 1/2 hr cleaning that shitty mess for 3 weeks. My dr was stunned and told me he in 30 years had never seen a man care so well for his wife and could tell he truly loves me. My work associates are horribly jealous because I get flowers and love notes often. He loves me Ace and accepts who I am. Are you so fortunate?

No, we don't have much in common. He loves computers,model railroading and building projects. I like animals, alternative medicine and yoga. We honor or differences and don't try and change each other. What you see on ZH is not me in normal life. I do not go bragging about any sexapades to anyone. I am a loner and very quiet. But there is a lot of raunchy talk here and I will occasionally join it. My husband doesn't care. He knows it's in good fun and done anonymously. He loves sex and over the years I have striven to meet his needs. If it's no longer an interest for you, what does that matter? If you are happy in your life without it I think that's great. No judgement from me. And don't denigrate me for enjoying it. I know it won't be forever. I don't concern myself with that. I am enjoying what I have for the moment and if I truck T-bones me tomorrow, oh fucking well, I had a good life.

But you do misjudge me if you think I am such a materialist. I don't want any crap. If he were to ask me to sign over all our assets to him I would do so. If he were to divorce me tomorrow I'd hand it all over ( well, not my corgi).

I am a great friend. I'm kind, loyal, empathetic,trustworthy and can be counted on when things go bad. Certainly not a fair weather type. If you find that unattractive, frankly my dear I don't give a damn. It's your loss.

And you know something about assholes ace? It take one to know one.


P.S. You wouldn't by any chance be a Scorpio?

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 00:19 | 4629341 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Nope.  Virgo.  Tough thing to be born in the northernmost house of the system as a virgo male in a southern city called Mobile.

Like I said before, you can aspire to anything, but you can only play the cards you're dealt.  It's all good.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:30 | 4601321 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

My household has 4 college degrees, and my neighbor who runs a 5 man plumbing business is the one with the f150 and s 550 Mercedes.....hhhmmm

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:03 | 4601419 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Electrician and Plumber are excellent side-careers to work on. I plan on doing so myself as the years roll by.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:15 | 4601544 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

i can imagine outsourcing investment banking, portfolio management, drone manipulation and non trial law.  electricity, plumbing, carpentry, hvac, tile, roofing, farming not so much.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:18 | 4601550 Leto II
Leto II's picture

Hey Skatebaorder,

Graduated in '05 with a Elec Eng. Degree from a State school... first 3 yrs out of school was a running 50+ electricain crew. I was making 50K. My union guys were pulling in 65K, plus 15-25K overtime. Crazy

Now I do contract electrical work and farm, couldn't be happier...

Electrical work is not that hard...always work de-energized when possible

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:59 | 4601910 General Decline
General Decline's picture

You don't get paid for what you "do", you get paid for what you "know".  That's what I told the last person who I charged $250 to find an open splice in a J-box in 20 minutes...

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:47 | 4601584 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Hey skates, I'm gonna tell you sumthin' you don't know, even if you don't wanna know it-

A long, long time ago a radio station appeared in a city called Atlanta.  It called itself 96Rock.

The first song it played was Baba O'Riley by this band which went by the name "The Who".

Even now, I don't know who Baba was, or even if he was a he or a she, but the opening lyric went like this:


Out here in the fields

I fight for my meals

I get my back into my livin'

I don't need to fight

To prove I'm right

I don't need to be forgiven


So much said, in so few words.  All hats off to Roger Daltrey!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 06:35 | 4601806 therover
therover's picture

I believe Pete Townshend is due just as much credit.

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 00:18 | 4604870 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Fer sure. And.

It's the singer, not the song

That makes the music move along

I want you to join, together

With the band.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:56 | 4601907 General Decline
General Decline's picture

"Electrician and Plumber are excellent side-careers to work on. I plan on doing so myself as the years roll by."

Yes.  I am now using my mechanical engineering degree to earn a living but make sure I renew my electrical contractors license every Jan 1st "just in case".  And the occasional cash side job is rather nice to pad the ammo and beer fund.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 09:31 | 4602188 quasimodo
quasimodo's picture

Noble intentions, but be prepared for a string of regular qualifications, classes, etc each year. 

Many states are exacting thier pound of flesh anymore even from the small contractors. I work for a private company and farm most of the stuff out since I am so busy, but still need to take enough classes each year to keep up my master level in HVAC, plumbing, refrig and hyronics. It's utter bullshit the amount of time I spend each year on classes and SOP tests at work, hence the reason I need to farm out so much stuff. Just let me do my fucking job already.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:05 | 4602284 jackstraw001
jackstraw001's picture

Took my 12 yr old Lexus in for service last week and the guy who runs the place can't find enough qualified mechanics even at an average salary of $75k/yr.  Went to get shoes re-soled and the shoe guy says he can't find any qualified help at $18-$20/hr.  Plenty of work out there that requires education but not from the bullshit arts & crafts colleges.

When the SHTF, we're gonna see a dramatic shift in what qualifies as "marketable skills".  The bankster and finance fuckers will starve while those who can plant/grow food, make and repair engines/guns/ammo/machines, etc, i.e. do the shit that every man knew how to do a hundred years ago...those guys will have the upper hand.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:40 | 4602647 Dr. Destructo
Dr. Destructo's picture

I'm taking this farming course on an actual farm (as opposed to a university) that runs about $590. I'm going to interview for a work trade deal where I can either reduce or eliminate the cost while getting even more hands-on experience. This course teaches irrigation installation, cultivation and propagation/transplanting, beekeeping, and animal husbandry among other things. But yeah fuck universities -the best education you can get is from general hands-on experience and mentorship from people who know what the fuck they're doing in their fields.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:19 | 4603422 daveO
daveO's picture

College graduates won't get their hands dirty. They'd rather work at half pay. Graduate degreed's refuse to work at all. That's why they go into government.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:38 | 4601163 infiniti
infiniti's picture

Nominated for dumbest post of all time

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:16 | 4601547 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

fourth runner up for dumbest comment ....?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 02:16 | 4601568 jsgibson
jsgibson's picture

Where else can you learn these critical skills employers are looking for? And a mere 40k a year!

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:53 | 4601205 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

love my religion which was my God?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:00 | 4601219 Shad_ow
Shad_ow's picture

Good for you.  I do and HE is great!

Everyone can if they only ask.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 04:35 | 4601752 ebear
ebear's picture

" God?"

Which one?  There's so many to choose from.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:57 | 4601046 Jannn
Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:30 | 4601559 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

not in any meaningful way.  the important point is the gold encumbered?  has it been hypothecated, leased, etc?  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:44 | 4603390 daveO
daveO's picture

8 yrs. ago, I worked with a 4 yr. Computer Science grad. who was making $10 an hr. He could've gotten the job right off the street. IMO, he was overpaid even at that rate. He only managed to get the job because of relatives in management. You can't fix lazy, either.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:32 | 4600958 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

I received 4 credit hours for playing ultimate frisbee in college; which meant getting stoned and tossing around a disc.

The short answer is- yes.

The long answer is- it depends.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:03 | 4601060 Promethus
Promethus's picture

The short answer is Yes.


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:39 | 4601168 James-Morrison
James-Morrison's picture

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is...... What was the question again, bro?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:15 | 4601280 franciscopendergrass
franciscopendergrass's picture

most expensive PE class ever!

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:22 | 4601301 1stepcloser
1stepcloser's picture

Ur a PCU grad right!

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:34 | 4600966 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

Well, it would be really kewl to speak Klingon.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:47 | 4600970 sixsigma cygnus...
sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

"Can you name one person serving in the U.S. Senate?"

Regarding the video, it's a trick one is serving (anybody) in the U.S. Senate.  Unless they count self-serving.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:47 | 4601005 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

they really meant 'self serving' in the US Senate and the answer is: All of them.

The other question is how many serve in the House, Senate and Whitehouse and the answer is: "None"

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:33 | 4601491 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Holy crap. My first up vote for you. grats!!

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:09 | 4601009 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Why of course they serve: themselves.

That's what public serpents do.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:37 | 4600975 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

College is no different than many things in life. If someone told you to load up on $20 silver instead of going to college, would you? If someone told you which school to go to and which major to pick, would you listen? And if someone told you to party less and study more, would you?

Going to the right schools and/or selecting the correct majors are more critical than ever. It does pay to go to the 'right college' and/or take the 'right major'. But like too much Fed money, you don't want your resume to be in an overflowing stack of debt.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:39 | 4601169 infiniti
infiniti's picture

This is the only quality post on this entire thread. Kudos to you.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:38 | 4601343 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Going to the right schools and/or selecting the correct majors are more critical than ever. It does pay to go to the 'right college' and/or take the 'right major'. But like too much Fed money, you don't want your resume to be in an overflowing stack of debt.


First - if your family has the right connections, it doesn't matter what your degree is.  A Poetry major  will get hired by some hedge fund and make 6 figures if Daddy works there.  For the rest of the world......

The 'right' major is very important - no point in wasting time on a generic psych or english degree from some second rate college.  Engineering - the right version thereof - and various other degrees with real world applications will serve you far better.  If you are interested in Academia or something more esoteric you'd better go to a GOOD school and be prepared to go for advanced degrees (again to the best schools possible).  But don't even think of such a path if you need to go into debt to do so.

Law degrees are a con job for most and no longer worth it - even for the best schools (gone are the work your ass off early on and play golf once you make partner - if you don't earn your keep with 100 billable hours a week, you're gone).  MD's..... expensive education but no longer the payback it once provided - hard to justify the cost and time involved (a sad example of our society's misplaced priorities).  Generic MBA business degrees are pretty worthless (unless work requires it and pays for it) - the top tier schools are as much about the contacts and the doors they open as they are about what you learn.

The reality is that most colleges don't provide much of an education and are not worth the cost.  Most grads would be better off training as diesel mechanics or plumbers, or HVAC techs.  'Good' colleges are as much about the social contacts you'll make that will be the basis of the rest of your life as the education you'll get.  In that sense the 'good' public colleges may provide as good an education as some of the elite private schools but not the same contacts.

Knew a (now dead) member of the Forbes 400 who parlayed one year at an Ivy - and the contacts he made there - into all else he made of his life.  Get into that school today and your costs will be covered (thanks to a kid who grew up dirt poor on a farm but spent one year there).  

Sadly, connections - and a certain amount of luck - matter as much as education.  You can get the best education possible, at a top school, work your ass off and still never get anywhere.  BUT you're better off maximizing the return on what you spend for an education and - not all that easy - avoiding debt to get one.


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:46 | 4601364 BraveSirRobin
BraveSirRobin's picture

I have a graudate degree. It helped immensely. It is certainly not for everyone, however, and too many people are pursuing degrees in worthless institutions. Having said that, why does anyone go into debt for college. Whatever happend to working your way through? I did. It took six years, but if I did not have the money, I did not attend that quarter - simple as that. It's not so taxing that you cannot work and go to school at the same time. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:36 | 4601494 BlindMonkey
BlindMonkey's picture

Can't be done now. Grad school is a cool 30k a year and that is just not possible flipping pizzas. If you are capable of earning that much part time I would humbly suggest that grad school is a waste of time for you.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:12 | 4603181 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

If you're GOOD and pursuing a grad degree at a school that thinks you're good and a good match for them, they WILL work out a package that makes grad school a minimal cost process.  Even for the degrees that really only lead to a career in academia.  Teaching as a TA, stipends and grants.  BUT this applies only to those that really might have a future in whatever they're studying and the competition is fierce.   The best of the best can do very well pursuing PhD's.  However if you have a mediocre undergrad record from a less than top tier school and are applying to a grad school that is not one of the very top schools for your area of study - you're wasting your time and money. 

For those simply applying to grad school because there's nothing else out there for them... not so good.

and again, Law School is a con and for most, so is Business School

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:10 | 4601840 BidnessMan
BidnessMan's picture

Stop talking about Chelsea Clinton

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:41 | 4600979 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I graduated from college in 1988.  I wasted a good chunk of the time, but I also learned a lot from a few really good professors.  It is what you make of it, and the reality is that it is a ticket to many professional jobs that are otherwise unavailable.  It is a decision that used to be automatic for anyone who did not want to work at a factory. Now, there are no factory jobs and everyone seems to have a college degree, so it's an individual decision.  Anyone who goes today to party for 4 or 5 years thinking the degree itself is a ticket to a good job is wasting their money, but that doesn't mean it is a waste of money for everyone including liberal arts but especially sciences.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:51 | 4601027 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

The degree itself was the ticket back in those days.  I graduated in 86.   I lived 14 years afterwards in the greatest boom times of all for those with degrees.  


My biggest concern pre 911 was whether I should put more money in REITS or small caps.  Seriously.  That fantasy world will never return.  


Life takes some strange twists. I have zero assets now except for a little gold I lost in a boating accident but at least I am still able to work. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:01 | 4601225 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"I have zero assets now . . . but at least I am still able to work."

The new American dream.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 06:36 | 4601808 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Works and feels the pain.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:07 | 4601244 James-Morrison
James-Morrison's picture

Dirt poor parents.
High school drop-out.
Vietnam Vet.
GI Bill : Comp Sci. Major
Large technology company: 12 years.
Small start-up
Dot-com bubble
Island boy....

Yes college was worth it.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:16 | 4601281 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Way to go man.  Ride the snake.

My brother did well in similar fashion, minus the military experience.  

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:44 | 4600988 Dickweed Wang
Dickweed Wang's picture

A lot of kids today are much better off going to some kind of trade school and learning a a salable skill.  For example, in the right service areas, and in the right location, a good auto technician can make a six figure income after only a few years on the job.  Unfortunately there is a lot of pressure both within families and from the media at large telling kids that they have to get a college degree to be successful. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:10 | 4601074 One And Only
One And Only's picture

I promise you that 99% of auto technicians don't make 6 figure incomes (though the pay CAN be good)

Only reason auto mechanics make a decent wage is because it's the law that you MUST have auto insurance. If you made comp/coll illegal do you know how FAST PRICES WOULD DROP to get your car fixed? I'd be willing to bet prices would drop 80% overnight. Same is true with health insurance. Insurance is immoral.

For those with a modicum of motivation people can fix most problems with their car by typing their problem into this magical box that will give you every answer you could ever imagine....this box is called google.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:31 | 4601488 bunzbunzbunz
bunzbunzbunz's picture

Thank you. Very few people seem to realize how much the high wages of some "skilled labor" depends on the institution of insurance. 

It hailed in my neighborhood. There wasn't a damn bit of damage to my roof save a couple dings on the vents. Greater than 50% of my the houses in my neighborhood had their roof replaced. Call a roofer, they lie. Call your insurance company, they don't give a fuck. You get a roof. Everyone's prices go up. Socialism.

Anyone that calls Obama or any other mainstream politician a socialist needs to take a look at their own use of insurance. All use of insurance (in recent years) is participation of corporate driven socialism (yes I realize this is a contradictive phrase by definition, but I don't know of a better way to put it). The insurance companies do not negotiate for price discovery. They simply increase rates.

There is a reason someone who files for an LLC and knows how to squeeze a nail gun trigger and google "how to ____ " can make as much as engineers and double what good teachers make. And no, it's not free market supply and demand.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:51 | 4601115 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

I would encourage my children to apprentice a local furniture maker (carpenter).  Learn a skill from a professional before those pro's are gone.  People always need well made tables, chairs and beds, etc..  Disclosure...  I am in the process of furnishing a new home and trying to find quality furniture is very difficult (and expensive).  Learn the art of the dovetail, the half-lap and the mitered butt and you'll always have a desired skill.  Get paid while doing it.  Win-win. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:44 | 4601359 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Very few can afford - and are willing to pay - for such work.  You're signing on to work for the VERY wealthy if you take this path (and they can be real pains in the ass).


It's one thing to do this as  a 'hobby' - another to try and make a living at it.  Some pretty high quality work is done elsewhere for a lot less than you'll need to charge.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:08 | 4601426 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

It's a skill.  Always in demand.  Producing a cheaper flip-flop vs Walmart is not a skill.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:29 | 4602384 Zerozen
Zerozen's picture

A buddy of mine recently helped his girlfriend move out of her place. He organized the moving men and chatted up the owner while they were moving stuff into the truck. Turns out the guy has 2 moving trucks and a 3 man crew, and clears $120k after paying his guys. Owns a pickup truck and an Audi as a weekend car.

You always hear about these things through 3rd-hand sources but it's different when you have a more direct source for the story...makes you stop and think for a minute.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:41 | 4600989 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

I think a trade school degree is much more rewarding.  Well technicians after two years of community college in morrilton Arkansas average 93,000 per year.  Plumbers make great money and can bid on contracts at the masters level and run their own businesses. Every kid wants to work on cars. That's why those jobs including mechanic pay so little.   Too many job applicants for mechanic jobs.   Try hiring a plumber in your plumbing business.  Good luck. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:46 | 4601003 Dickweed Wang
Dickweed Wang's picture

I don't know where you are getting your information  from but auto mechanics where I live are averaging around $78,000 a year and a couple I know personally make over $100,000 a year.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:01 | 4601053 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

My state is poor.  Mechanics on average aren't up that high.  They still do better than teachers. 


Even in a poor state master plumbers are easily at the income you describe 

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 06:38 | 4601811 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Bull Shit artists make good money too, they just have no power these days.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:08 | 4601078 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

I knew a mechanic who worked for an established MB dealer and easily made $80k about 6 to 8 years ago. They got paid by the job, so if the "book" says it should take 6.5 hours to perform a service, the dealership paid the guy for 6.5 hours even if it only took say 4 hours. They got purchased by a larger group of dealerships and the new owner put the mechanics on a $40,000/yr salary. This was a guy in his late 30's/early 40's with 2 kids in a private school.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:44 | 4600994 blindman
blindman's picture

follow your bliss

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:10 | 4601059 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

I did and ended up with syphilis.


edit:  seriously, though, "follow your bliss" is great advice.  Got to hand it to that Joseph Campbell.  Smart dude.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:02 | 4601230 blindman
blindman's picture

Terry Allen - Amarillo Highway
Bap Kennedy (& Steve Earle) - Angel is the Devil
here i have this list of entertaining links ....
Keynesian Economic Theory As Applied To Private Sector Independent Contracting
R.L. Burnside-"It's Bad You Know" from "Come on In"
fracking fracking
The Rolling Stones - Memory Motel (with Lyrics)
.."got the MInd of a fool and ... use it well...
just a memory, and it used to mean so much to me..." k.r/m.j.
Is San Francisco New York?
"...Whatever the Silicon Valley gold rush has done or will do, it’s already given us an entirely new species of yuppie mogul: the one who stockpiles bitcoin and speaks in hacker pidgin, the one who wears Uniqlo on a Gulfstream and obsesses over single-origin coffees. The kind, in other words, who plays the underdog even while sitting on top of the world."
here a good link ..

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:28 | 4601316 blindman
blindman's picture

apparently that syphilis didn't kill you
so what are you complaining about,
learning? there the ongoing problem ....

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:44 | 4600995 Reaper
Reaper's picture

Colleges sell a "one of the best" credential. When I graduated, a lower percentage of the population went to college and those with low High school grades went to teacher's colleges. There was a presumed value in something less common. Now, every one can go to college and and the "one of the best" credentials purchased have minimal value. Almost all students get an A at Harvard. A college credential is a joke. A law degree is another joke. When every one is a "one of the best," then none are superior.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:49 | 4601376 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Getting INTO Ivies now is the winnowing process.  Thse admitted are pretty damn smart - though grade infaltion is rampant.  Again, it's as much about the contacts you make and the access you get from having gone there as it is about the actual education you get.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:45 | 4600997 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

It was $250/Quarter tuition when I went to school...ISU in Ames was a bargain...a good education was available IF you wanted to take advantage of it.  From what I see goes on now in many places $250/Quarter would be way too much for what you get.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:25 | 4601121 Major Major Major
Major Major Major's picture

"From what I see goes on now in many places $250/Quarter would be way too much for what you get."


Way, way to much for what you are getting.  Should be more like $250/Ounce. /s

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:45 | 4600999 nmewn
nmewn's picture

All depends on what you go to college for and which one.

Just remember, Krugman is a professor of "socio-economics".

Choose wisely ;-)

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:44 | 4601355 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

Exactly.  Krugman teaches Econ 101 for Pete's sake.  It's the guns and butter shit...  he's a clown.  Why anyone reads his blabery other than for pure comedy is already a lost cause.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:49 | 4601000 Surging Chaos
Surging Chaos's picture

Personally I think college is still worth it, but you must think very hard about what kind of degree you want to be getting and how much money you're going to be spending. Obviously that means not borrowing $100k for an underwater basket weaving degree, but even for a lot of the common degrees this is also the case. Business degrees are a dime a dozen for example. Even MBAs aren't that special now.

If you treat college as a 4/5 or even 6 year party, yes, it is definitely a waste of time and money. But if you are serious about using college as a way to improve your capital, then it can be worth it. Unfortunately, not many people look at college in this way and that's why I see so many of my fellow friends up to their eyeballs in debt with degrees no one really cares about.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:07 | 4601002 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

Yes.  Yes.  And Yes.  That last yes is because that's what you learn in college.  To say yes.  Yes sir.  Yes maam.  Yes professor.  Yes boss.  Because all it is- most of the time- is a road to a job.  Learning by jumping through hoops to someday jump through hoops.  Is that cynical?  Damn right.  If college allowed people to enlighten themselves and to discover themselves and their place in the world this system would have been brought down ages ago.  A truely educated populace would see right though this charade and shut it down cold. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:35 | 4601152 infiniti
infiniti's picture

Let me paraphrase that for you: "Don't go to college because then you'll have to get a job and be responsible, and that fucking sucks"


Good luck with those food stamps and McDonald's sized paychecks.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:01 | 4601166 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

I think you might have slept through class..... many people have college degrees and can't get a job and a degree does not denote a diligent and responsible character.  The hardest working people I know don't have the fancy paper on their wall.


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:10 | 4601253 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Good luck paying off that $100K student loan with your barista job

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:40 | 4601176 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Yeh like all of those dandies in the faculty lounge laughing it up, seeing right through it all...NOT! The truely "educated" elite are all sucking on a giant teat.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:47 | 4601006 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

"You probably have lots of people telling you that an "education" is the key to your future"

Of course not! Ignorance is strength, right?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:10 | 4601255 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

The only way to get an education is to pay $150K to a college, right?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:44 | 4601579 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

Perish the thought of education if it is to necessarily be entangled with monetary tidings.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:47 | 4601007 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

If more high schoolers understood maths, then they might find something more useful to pursue in college than an "I'm an 'educated' person" degree.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:26 | 4601313 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

What people don't often talk about is how college is now as much about class as anything else.  To be taken seriously- to even have the right to an opinion- you better have that paper.  The "educated person" degree.


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:48 | 4601010 rats
rats's picture

My son is doing his final year of high school and I have started taking more interest in his school work.  They have passed him every year but now he is failing his assignments because they are saying that his work is not of year 12 standard. But after helping him for the last two months I have seen a really big imporovement in his vocabulary and understanding of ideas as before he just had a superficial view of most things.

My degree was in computer science but for me if I did not do units in religion, psychology and social studies it would have been less likely that I would be regularly reading a site like zerohedge and understand the difference between the red and blue pill.

I was with a group parents in a focus group a few years ago when our local university was trying to come up with ideas on how to get school kids to be more motivaged to attend University. The question I asked was what is the purpose of Universities is it to make money, train people for the workforce, do research or build capacity.  Most of the parents were discussing issues about how to get better jobs for their kids while I was arguing the most important factor for me at University was to teach me how to learn effectively and expose me to new ideas in which I wouldn't normally look into.


My main point I am trying to make is that University shouldnt be just about training kids to acquire more money but training kids to be more effective members of society.





Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:28 | 4601134 infiniti
infiniti's picture

He's effectively done with high school school and you just started caring about his studies? No fucking wonder he's doing shitty. Good god man.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:07 | 4601237 rats
rats's picture

Its my fault he is doing his final year at school because he wants to do a trade. I am pushing him as I want to build his capacity especially in giving him the tools in understanding the world.

The key for me is language as language defines the way you think and what you can think about. Going to school is the best path I can see him improving his language skills.

I could have forced him to do more homework and read more books and spend more time in productive endeavours but for what so he follows a career that he is not interested in. Especially as when I went to school I hardly ever studied and just crammed for exams.

Within a year and half I replaced a 18 million MySAP implementation with a developed system costing around 1.5 million that was on time and within budget. So far helping my son has been more frustrating but within the last two months he has done more homework and improved more then the three years previously since we migrated to Australia. To say his done with high school when we has effectively another seven months left is a challenge but am comfortable of meeting it. by the end I hopefully give him enough confidence that he will want to continue studies at University. 


The question is would I have done anything different over the last three years knowing what I know now. Yeah I should have got him to read more but two years ago I used a significant amount of my life savings to buy silver thinking we would have had a crash by now. lol

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:49 | 4602048 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

parenting is a challenge but getting him to finish school is important - after that choosing uni or a trade is a personal choice as best one can make given the circumstances and its less cost in Aust but pointless if he seriously hates it. There are also options to upgrade trade skills later with paper certificates.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:05 | 4602298 Toronto Kid
Toronto Kid's picture

Not having a go at you because your situation is almost over and done with, but maybe this will be a heads-up to those with younger children.

Get involved with their education.

Get them reading. Instill a love of reading from an early age, even if it is about romance novels and silly ninja adventures. A love of reading is always a skill that will serve them well.

Make sure they can do the math. I can't tell you how important math is. Who here knows what BEDMAS is? Does your fourteen year old know?

Get involved in their homework. Do an hour of two of homework with them every night and it's the best way to find out what level their learning is at, and also what they are up to.

Okay, this part is aimed at you: GET A LIBRARY CARD! No need to part with silver for expensive books. Or DVDs. Or CDs. Did you know the library has software programs to download books/CDs for free? Have you heard of the online gutenberg library? And there is nothing wrong with his not going to university so long as he comes out of school with a marketable skill. Plumbing, electrical, welding, car mechanic, nurse ... it's all good.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:20 | 4602589 plane jain
plane jain's picture

We divide and conquer.  I do reading.  My husband does math.  We regularly checkout items from our local library and my husband has gotten access to a 5 star library in the city where he works through his job.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:12 | 4603595 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Absolutely agree with you about reading. I always had a book open around my kids, and they picked up the habit. Sure, they started with Archie Comics, but reading is reading. We'd take them on shopping trips, and they'd squat down at Borders or Chapters and read magazines and comics until we were ready to leave.

One other thing we did was Kumon in math. Yes, it's expensive, and yes, it's a PITA for the parents, but it does what the schools won't do: drill. When your kid has to do 30 division problems each night, she learns how! By the time my elder daughter was finished, she was doing trig and calculus in Kumon while in Grade 10.

But really, the message is "Be involved". If you chuck your responsibility entirely to the schools, you get what you deserve.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:04 | 4604191 rats
rats's picture

My boys have been to the library more times the most of the kids in their school. Instead of reading they will play chess or some other activity. The booke that they get out wont read them. I have taken them to museums and other places to try and pique their interest.

Had them on khan academy since they were in primary school but that involves self motivation

I agree that if you chuch responsibility entirely to the school you get what you deserve. Thats why I spend at least 4 hours a day prepping for the two hours a day my son has agreed to study with me. 

My belief is that their should be consequences for bad action and that has been my downfall because they continue to pass them and when I tell the teacher they are not up to standard and should repeat a year because they are a year younger then their fellow students, they tell me what for as they are passing.

In the end I was too selfish as would rather surf internet, play games and just cursory look at how they were doing. But have changed now and wont let the same think happen to his younger brother.


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 20:35 | 4604192 rats
rats's picture


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:12 | 4601269 Idi_ocracy
Idi_ocracy's picture

I think that part of this problem with the newer generations, especially those college kids in the video, is that the public education system has been taking a nosedive in terms of quality of experience in the school system, and quality of the courses taken in junior high and high school. Public education just does not teach how to manage the grind of life in the world, and how to truly think independently.

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:10 | 4601018 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Yep.  My roomies handed out flyers at my college, had our house termed 'the party of the (new) century', and I was arrested under an 'open house party' law even though I got back to the house 15 minutes earlier after working a second shift.  I did one more round of useless college courses, found out I had to pay full tuition on 'experience courses' I could already qualify for through work experience, had to pay-ticipate in 'co-ed' fitness courses, etc. all to enrich the campus for worthless shite.  Friends I had with BS degrees relied on spell checkers and my input to submit reports to million dollar business employers otherwise their public and college degrees didn't even suit them for Walmart cashiers.  The whole process is to enrich school administrators, tenured 'professors', college football or sport coaches, and nothing is providing for a decent education.  'Leaders of Tomorrow'? Hah, these POS couldn't lead a horse to water if they were in a Starbucks bathroom...

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:50 | 4601019 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Was it over when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor ????

These kids have had the information highway available to them their entire lives and still can't answer these simple questions. It's hard to believe They are just a dumb as kids from the 60s. 70s. And 80s.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:07 | 4601073 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

i dunno, i think its worse. I would be willing to bet that most college students in 30-50 years ago could answer those simple questions. The problem is that yes, they have an information system available to them that never existed for students in the past, but they use it to post pictures of cats on facefuck, and watch videos of people hurting themselves on youtube

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:00 | 4601406 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

My youngest is finishing HS now - oldest is headed for grad school.  I'll say now what I said when they started school:

The top 10% are FAR better off than they were decades back and make the most of what is available to them.  They will go on to do amazing things.

The bottom 10% are in many ways worse off because they are tracked into academic programs they are not interested in or equipped to handle - they'd be better off in tech programs (which no longer exiast in most high schools)

The middle 80% are too used to 'getting by' without working hard or exerting themselves.  The expect too much for too little effort on their part.  Some will do fine, others not so well.   Their parents may care but too often are not  around enough to make a difference (2 salaries are almost a necessity for the Middle Class these days so early childrearing is subcontracted out, with kids too often on their own later).

  Reality is that most HIGH SCHOOL students 30-50 years ago had a far better basic education - better than what many college grads have now.  We've overexpanded the pool of those going to college without providing any corresponding increase in VALUE of the education provided.  

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:53 | 4602061 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

interesting article you may have seen reflecting some educational changes over time....

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 06:41 | 4601813 negative rates
negative rates's picture

I hurt somebody fishing one time, hooked their butt and tried to sling the thing in the ocean. That's was a real whoopie sound I heard.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:50 | 4601023 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture

Break the banks. Break the corporate monopolies. Opportunity will flow when legislators are forced to do their jobs. And only then. Till that time, ya kids are wasting their lives. Only destruction will save us.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:54 | 4601035 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

Without manufacturing our own stuff, I don't see a prosperous future for a nation that is a 'service based' economy.  If someone knows how the math of that national 'business model' based on 'service' actually works let me know.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:19 | 4601294 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Look to Europe minus Germany. Normal unemployment is double digits and normal youth unemployment is around 30%. Students stay in college for 10 years because they can't find a job

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:55 | 4601038 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I think high school graduates should just apply to college and then pick the school like they always did. But instead of attending they just take out a loan for 100k payable to the institution in exchange for a degree even though they never attend school. This way the instututions can cut staff and close down the campus and really cut overhead but still divy up the loan money amongst themselves.

Then the newly minted 18 year old college graduate can apply for a job, and whatever job they accept they immediately take a loan payable to the company for another 100k in exchange for never having to show up for work, ever. This works out well because like the college, the company can close down office's and reduce overhead just like the college. 

The newly minted 18 year can now be counted in the system as a college graduate who is fully employed and he/she can sit at home and pick their ass and get a check from .gov which is immediately confiscated to pay the loans back and kick in for social security/obamacare and their MYRA and they won't have to log off instagram to do any of this.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:05 | 4601065 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

ha that sounds like a way of the future my friend. It reminds me of the old saying in the soviet union, as long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:17 | 4601286 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


instead of attending they just take out a loan for 100k payable to the institution in exchange for a degree even though they never attend school.


take a loan payable to the company for another 100k in exchange for never having to show up for work, ever.

...yes, of course...

can now be counted in the system as a college graduate who is fully employed and he/she can sit at home and pick their ass and get a check from .gov

Brilliant! An incredibly high IQ* idea with plenty of angles to be worked. By eliminating the need to drive to school or work, it can be polished with bullshit and presented as an energy policy. Give the bullshit a good shine and it becomes an environmental policy, binding America's carbon feet into tiny little shoes to reduce footprint size. To really buff the bullshit until it gleams, put the unattended jobs in the manufacturing sector and, voila, it becomes a manufacturing renaissance created by sound economic policy.


*Innovation Quotient, a combined measure of marketing gimmickry and audacious bullshiteracy.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 20:56 | 4601042 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

This video is nothing. Take a camera to a cashier with a college kid behind a bag of chips for $2.57 and then give them $3.07 will not know whether to laugh , cry or call a psychiatrist when they have a panic meltdown. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:02 | 4601414 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

One of the reasons banks make so much on fees - nobody can balance a checkbook anymore.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:05 | 4601063 Azwethinkweiz
Azwethinkweiz's picture

College, especially those Ivy League schools, is definitely worth the money. Where else could you learn life's true values other than a course which teaches Philosophy from The Simpsons. Best use of $40,000+ per year I can think of.

DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal) is an ASUC-sponsored organization that supports over 150 student-initiated classes each semester. It's a great alternative for students who want to explore new academic, social, and educational issues outside of the mainstream curriculum. Past courses have included:

  • ABCs of Iran: 27 Years of Revolution
  • All About Cancer: Relay for Life
  • Bar, Lounge, and Nightclub Entrepreneurship
  • Blackjack and Poker
  • Bookworlds: Harry Potter and the Order of the Berkeley
  • Female Sexuality
  • Intro to DJ’ing
  • Introduction to Stocks
  • Italian Cooking
  • James Bond: Politics, Pop Culture, Hero
  • “Sex and the City” and the Contemporary Woman
  • The Joy of Garbage
  • The Physics of Superheroes
  • The Simpsons and Philosophy
  • The Weblog as a Medium for Nonfiction Creative Writing
  • Topics in Win
  • Why We Laugh: Analyses of Comedy

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:38 | 4601162 August
August's picture
  • James Bond: Politics, Pop Culture, Hero
  • “Sex and the City” and the Contemporary Woman
  • The Physics of Superheroes
  • The Simpsons and Philosophy

What!  No Bruce Willis Studies?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:06 | 4601070 DrData02
DrData02's picture

Colleges and universities were, by design, intended to be for the intellectual elite.  (And of course there is a continuum here.) Higher-education should not simply be an extension of high-school.  The US somehow overlooked this fact.  Perhaps by conflating the idea that everyone is politically equal with the idea that everyone is intellectually equal. 

Unless and until this is corrected these institutions will remain mere "holding-tanks" for 18 to 22 year-olds.


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