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Friday, August 25, 2006

College is Killing the Birth Rate; Grade 13?

Chicago mayor Daley says that college is pretty much ruining the birth rate here in America. It's causing fewer babies to be born, and threatens to stagnate both knowledge and knowledge-based economy. And while the mayor starts making accusations and offering "plans", it will wind up in the lap of whoever wins the race for governor. Education funding will be a hot issue for both candidates, especially with some of the ideas that mayor Daley is throwing around.

For example, a "Grade 13" - a fifth year of high school.

While his accusations of what college are doing to America make some sense, his plans/ideas may not hold as much water. College tuitions are indeed costly, and can range anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 to probably much higher than that if it's a private school. And while scholarships and financial aid can help, their help is limited and the brunt of the expense winds up on both the student and the family as a whole.

It's basically coming down to a family unit deciding to stop at a certain number of children simply out of the fear of what college expenses will be. And mayor Daley doesn't want parents to stop having children for that reason, especially when it means that children simply can't afford higher education at all.

Daley adds, "If we’re a land of opportunity and we want to be a knowledge-based society and we want to compete against India and China, we had better educate our children." The fact is that the senior year of high school is spent more on trying to find a college and find ways to PAY for that college than really learning the material needed to get INTO the college. The added stress really gums up the works as well.

So maybe this fifth year of high school isn't such a bad idea.

After all, it would mean that 4th-year students can do the work they're supposed to be doing. And by the 4th year of high school, many students are taking classes that will either give them credits for college or AP exams that do the same. Imagine if there were a fifth year to get MORE of those credits so your stay in college would be shortened all that much, plus have an easier college-like schedule to provide the free time needed to apply and work out financial situations as well. Daley thinks that all children should have the opportunity to go to college, learn the knowledge and skills one can reap there, and keep America on top of that knowledge-based economy.

As for me, I'm not sure if all high school students really SHOULD go to college. Of course, this is mostly based on my theory that we can work on getting rid of illegal immigrants and open the work force up to provide jobs to the many who can't afford or survive college. That could ease up on the unemployment rate and maybe then employers wouldn't need to make all of the good jobs so competitive and requiring college degrees to make sure they're picking the "cream of the crop" who DID afford and survive college.

I've encountered way too many low-budget low-quality jobs that you simply need to be totally overqualified to handle. Employers apparently think that anything involving a computer should require a degree (often in a field that has nothing to do with computers). Welcome to the year 2000, folks. We know computers. We've hit a generation where high school diplomas mean a LOT more skills than were previously available to non-collegiate applicants, you know?

Or maybe those diplomas will mean that much more with an extra year of high-school knowledge crammed into the brains of our youths? What do you think about Grade 13 and mayor Daley's accusations of college killing the birth rate?

The original article

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