College a wise investment (unless you study to be a teacher?)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by LizKat, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #1
    Ran into this piece offering stats on how it pays to finish up that degree:


    Seems like a bummer that return on investment is lowest for finishing a degree with an eye to having a career in education. How motivated are our instructors? I'm wondering whether these stats even hold up in light of the astronomical debt some kids graduate with now. Averages don't mean much if you ended up in a high-priced university with a fat price tag and only nominal financial assistance.
     
  2. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #2
    I am a university lecturer in the UK and have been for 20 years. I'd have to say that although I recognise I have a great job, there is a wave of managerialism that is destroying the academic community. For some reason I cannot fathom, Universities are being converted to 'business models'. My institution is over 600 years old - show me a business that has lasted that long.

    My family back in the US is full of teachers (3 generations of my family have taught). With all the political interference, ridiculously poor funding, huge class sizes, unsubstantiated educational fads foisted on staff every year by clueless administrators, and ungrateful kids and parents, you couldn't pay me enough money to be a public school teacher. The culture of education in the US is slipping behind, while education in Asia is surging ahead.
     
  3. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #3
    Simplistic look at the situation.

    Sure college educated people tend to make more. But college cost is essentially unmanageable for a great many people these days. I'm thinking the increased earnings may often not be enough to support the opportunity costs.

    Education debt is the next bubble, and I have a feeling it may make the housing crisis look like child's play.
     
  4. Populism macrumors regular

    Populism

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    #4
    I agree. I've been looking at it, but from a different angle.

    Use the University of Alabama, for instance. Saban's winning streak has led to an INSANE infrastructure renovation of that school and that city. Not their academic program. Not their city council. Their coach. It's estimated that the football program along - without licensing and without the ancillary stuff - brought in $124 million four years ago. No doubt it's doubled by now.

    So a school and city culture of spending has developed off that constant stream of revenue. But happens when it stops. Everything everntually stops. Housing values. Tech shares. Everything eventually stops, at least for a moment (aka seven years or so). Saban dies. People lose interest in football. Too many concussions. Whatever. When that stream stops, or even hiccups, it's going to be a financial disaster to a school and a city that are starting to resemble Kane's Xanadu.
     
  5. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Holy ****.

    How lost is this country down the rabbit hole when education is looked at as a business decision in life?
     
  6. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #6
    It's sad, I agree. But the prospect of placing one's-self under crushing debt for decades to come should make people stop and at least contemplate their options.

    $80k+ for a bachelors degree is too high a price IMO.
     
  7. TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    On the flip side; some aspects of a business model in education would be an improvement. Good teachers should be paid more, poor teachers paid less or fired. A post high school degree should cost what it is actually worth not every equivalent degree at the same school the same ..........
     
  8. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    Well you can thank the baby boomers for that. If they weren't shoving "go to college so you can be successful" down our throats, it's likely we wouldn't be in this situation.

    University education was never meant to be a pre-requisite for a career, and now it is.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    Excellent post; having taught as a university lecturer myself for twenty years - and spent several of those years in one of those universities that dates back more than half a millennium - I share your concerns and misgivings at the way education is viewed, at the mindless managerialism, and at the importation of the very idea of business models to educational establishments where - to my mind - they ought not have a role.

    And, I agree with @LizKat on the subject of the increasingly poor status and pay and prospects for teachers; countries and societies where education is valued tend to respect those who seek a career in teaching.
     
  10. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I'll add that it's quite clear what is happening here. There's simply an over saturation of liberal arts students. There is WAY too much supply.

    It's unfortunate that we treat public school teachers like crap here in the United States, you can thank teacher's unions for that, however.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe, Jan 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    No, I doubt that the teachers' unions are the culprits, in a country where unions have lo been viewed with suspicion. Indeed, were it not for the teachers unions, I am willing to wager that the position of teachers could well have been an awful lot worse.

    Moreover, the liberal arts aren't the culprit, either, though, in an entrepreneurially minded society with a profound contempt for the very concept of an intelligentsia - they offer an easy target.

    Indeed, with the over-proliferaton of business qualifications - not to mention those much lauded and fiercely competitive MBAs - I would have thought that the business community would have been in somewhat better health, and somewhat better run than is clearly currently the case.
     
  12. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #12
    Love the idea of blaming our generations problems on our parents. But unfortunately, nobody forced us to go to college, much less take out exorbitant loans to pay for it.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2016 ---
    I agree 100%. There's nothing wrong with a literature or history degree, but it shouldn't cost what an engineering degree does. The return on investment is just not equal for these two educational pursuits.

    Treating education like exactly what it is, an investment, would go a long way.
     
  13. Praxis91 macrumors regular

    Praxis91

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    #13
    Those who can't do...teach.

    /pretty sweet gig once you get tenure
     
  14. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    I'm generally a pro-union guy. But in this case, the teachers have no incentive to continue to learn teaching techniques, nor are they subject to the same kind of filtering of underperforming individuals as most other professionals are.

    Well there's not an inherent problem with liberal arts, if we were all able to attend college for free, I'd encourage everybody to at least obtain a masters degree over the course of their lifetime, but as it stands now, you have to have some sort of undergraduate education to get any sort of decent paying job, and then most can't handle or aren't interested in STEM, so they become history majors, (something I'd love to have done), and then say "well I went to college but I never use my degree" and the like. I guess they don't realize the intrinsic value of the education, but it's not really their fault for having to jump through hoops to get a job that they don't actually need a degree for.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2016 ---
    Well our parents went to college (and worked to pay for it, without paying ridiculous sums of money) and so they then expected us to go to college. There has always been an intense pressure to obtain a 4 year degree, and most parents don't realize the costs of attending. While it isn't 100% the baby boomers fault, it's such a significant percentage that it may as well be. They're the ones that created the social pressures.
     
  15. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #15
    Ah, please, that's such a terrible cliché.

    Over and over one can find public remarks from people in all walks of life that they've been profoundly influenced to the good by one or more excellent teachers. Some of the teachers I remember with great respect were "mere" adjunct instructors and some were tenured professors.

    Try doing a search on "the teacher who changed my life" sometime. I am not alone in having been given a leg up into this complex world by some talented, dedicated teachers.

    It's true that since we don't "value" teachers as we once did in the USA at least, that other old cliché of "you get what you pay for" will show up over and over again as well. But let's not get out the broad brush and paint out all those teachers who have patiently made it possible for us to read, and ultimately to know enough to build skyscrapers, send spacecraft to Pluto, restore the psyche of war-damaged children, invent antibiotics and... the interwebz. They're not teaching for love of money. Too bad we get that and so dock the pay of a lot of them for being idealistic.
     
  16. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    Pretty much.

    The instructors and professors I knew were not rolling in dough. Most people who think teachers are probably haven't gone back to school or were homeschooled to live an indoctrinated life (not to be confused with "sheltered life").

    Some instructors and professors are fantastic, others just want students to turn in the bare minimum. Others are incompetent. The only things that have changed over the last 38 years are:

    1. The increased need for a degree since 1980 or so
    2. Cost of college (1120% more since 1978)

    Doesn't matter who backs the loan, the mere concept of supply and demand is responsible for the rabid increase. Try getting a job with no diploma. It happens but it's almost as rare as the token high school dropout that started a company and became the CEO and rolled in dough with the street sign reading in fine print "You can do it too!" Some CEOs did drop out of college, but saw they were in the right place and time. Can't blame them, but that is still exception and not the rule - especially as their companies want people with degrees, and if one gets free training it's (sometimes if not often) an H1B and at the hands of an American to be replaced. Ask Disney and Southern California Edison College, as two recent high profile cases...
     
  17. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #17
    When you look at job offers, most of those offering above minimum wage require a 4 year degree. They don't care what the degree is in, just that you have the degree. People always speculate on why. My favorite theory is that employers want workers who have already proven they can stick with something difficult for 4 years.

    If you are lucky enough to find a job requiring a degree, you will earn more than minimum wage. If you are incredibly lucky and can find a job actually requiring your degree, you will earn considerably more than minimum wage.

    Is it really a good investment? Sometimes.

    Is it a good investment if you're going to be an educator? Yes and no. Teaching is a calling. You can't teach without at least a 4 year degree, and most states require a graduate degree within 5 years.

    Let me rant for days on this topic....

    We have to have teachers. Without teachers we have no doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists...you get the idea. Yet we pay teachers poorly, offer no incentives to teach at "bad schools," and no longer respect the profession as a whole.

    I just watched minimum wage go up. Yay. Yet as a teacher with a graduate degree, I haven't had a raise in over 7 years, and my insurance has risen several times during those 7 years, so I've essentially had several pay cuts. This doesn't happen in other "professional" occupations.
     
  18. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #18
    The boomer's dads, many of them anyway, went to school on the GI bill. When you look at what we do now, for example with college loan deals where interest rates can float... it's clear that as a nation we no longer view public investment in education the way we did after World War II. It's also clear the business model is pretty much running the store.

    But to me it's mainly a prime example of a group of people, in this case the boomers, having forgotten where they came from. Their parents went to school in a country where the taxpayer said yes, this is an investment in our future that we will spring for.

    The boomers (I'm a pre-boomer but I'll throw us wartime babies in there too) benefited from their parents' education, and yes then we went to college and many of us worked our way through and got scholarships and some federally subsidized loans.

    But then what happened??? We forgot to get for our kids what we ourselves had gained by investing enough taxes in education. And we HAD the money to do that as a country at that time, but not the will to spend it that way. I think about past paystubs w/ extra withholding specifically for the Vietnam War.. Why not a surtax for underwriting education so our kids don't graduate owing $60k while looking for a part time job. Why? Because we discovered funding wars with emergency appropriations. I blame my generation for that, big time.

    And as for education and job skills, we need more options for kids who aren't born scholars but can use some liberal arts exposure while learning to be good computer-guided-lathe operators.

    To be sure, times change and so do situations. No developed nation has yet figured out how to accommodate job loss due to automation. That doesn't excuse burdening our next gens with such high education costs just because the banks realize that the college loan market is ripe for bundling derivatives and making a mint.
     
  19. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #19
  20. Praxis91 macrumors regular

    Praxis91

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    Oh get over yourself! There is no match for the smugness from those in academia.

    Who is docking their pay? Have you see the cost of college tuition?

    The average teacher makes 44k/y.. but that's 44k not for 12 months, but for 9. Not too shabby!

    The average college professor makes $98k, while associates make about $68k.. again not full-timers... not too shabby to get paid to be a theoretician!

    I had some great teachers, but ultimately, we're just there for the piece of paper so that we can go out into the real world, away from just theory.

    Today's teachers are glorified babysitters. They don't teach anything real anymore (where is shop and home-ec?). It all makes sense though... our public education system is designed after the Prussian system. The ultimate goal is to create mindless drones and remove all individuality.
     
  21. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    I would point out they work their rear ends off in those 9 months, 44k is a freaking joke .
     
  22. NT1440 macrumors G4

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    #22
    I've never met a single teacher in my life that didn't have either a second job, or didn't work throughout the summers (for K-12) on the job training they need. Don't forget that many states require a teacher obtains a Master's Degree to continue teaching. I **** you not I had a gym teacher who was always haggard looking because he had to get his Master's done in 4 months to keep his job...as a middle school gym teacher.
     
  23. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #23
    They can also easily work for 12 hours a day for those nine months and eat up entire weekends grading essays and tests and other things.

    Many teacher spend their own money buying supplies for the school. They manage extracurricular activities and clubs for no pay.

    They are constantly threatened with job loss. The teachers I know (northern Illinois school districts) work on one year contracts. They can be retained or let go for any reason at the end of that year.

    I have never in my life met a wealthy public school teacher.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2016 ---
    Yup. A friend recently got his master's degree so he could teach. He makes 40k-something a year, has a lot of debt, and is constantly on the verge of burn-out because he has barely any free time during the school year. He also loves the job, though.
     
  24. bahndoos macrumors 6502

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    Prostitutism ;)
     
  25. TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    "The federal system of higher education student financial assistance grew from good intentions but has become a disaster. Some critics of financial aid claim that, because schools are assured of receiving their fees no matter what happens to their students, they have felt free to raise their fees to very high levels, to accept students of inadequate academic ability, and to produce too many graduates in some fields of study. About one-third of students, whether or not they graduate or find jobs that match their credentials, are financially burdened for much of their lives by their debt obligations, instead of being economically productive citizens. When those former students default on their obligations, the burdens are shifted to taxpayers. Lastly, the proportion of graduates who come from poor backgrounds has actually declined since 1970."

    http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/research/studies/harmful-effects-of-federal-student-aid/
     

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