The unemployment rate for Liberal Arts bachelor’s degrees is 9.4 percent, according to Georgetown University Getting a STEM degree is the only safe route seeing that unemployment for STEM degrees is only 2.5 percent, according to the Department of Commerce. Additionally, for individuals who have only a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is 5.1 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The education system is not just failing the youth on an employment front, but also in principles. The Communism Memorial Foundation found that 34 percent of millennials look favorably on socialism. The foundation claims “millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and towards socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.” The growing acceptance of socialism and communism signals a dire need for education reform based on two necessities: skilled labor and American exceptionalism.
With the number of routes available after primary education, it is absurd that the education system is so vehemently dedicated to college. If the success of young Americans is truly the ultimate goal, then there should be a focus on training high school students in skilled labor. The president of the Utah Manufacturers Association Todd Bingham explained to the New York Times that, “a 3.1 percent unemployment rate is fabulous unless you’re looking to hire people.” Businesses have grown to create jobs, but the education system is not holding up the other side of a good economy by supplying the workers.
If we outfit our schools with the equipment and staff needed to teach students trades, like plumbing, electrics, welding; America could see more than just lower unemployment, but a growing and more diverse market. But for this to happen the education system must be willing to turn away from the narrow view that college is the only route to success.
The second pillar of education reform must fix the crisis in principles taking place in young Americans. The education system needs to teach students about American exceptionalism, as explained by President Ronald Reagan. In Reagan’s Evil Empire speech, he suggested that students be taught “a positive view of American history, one that takes pride in our country’s accomplishments and record.”
If the education system told a positive view of American history, more young Americans would see the great deeds of the United States, like the Revolution, to World War II to charitable aid given around the world. In addition, students would have an opportunity to see that some of America’s greatest enemies, like the Nazis and the Soviet Union were proponents of socialism and communism. The fate of the two regimes would also be case studies of the dangers of these ideologies.
Of course, the crimes committed by America would also be a necessary part of historical education. On this issue we can refer again to President Reagan: “our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past.” Reagan understood that the good deeds of America would outweigh its evils and that American goodness would win over its people for generations.
The realization of America’s potential is stunted due to a flawed education system. The solutions are simple but hard to accept. However, we can no longer subject our citizens to uncertain futures based on misguided ideals.
– Hunter Mabee is a philosophy senior