Sunday, October 20, 2013

Don't Send Your Kids to College

Everyone from Occupy Wall Street to those who occupy the White House have noticed the widening of the gap between rich and poor.  It has fueled resentment throughout the country beginning with the TARP bailout of the Too Big To Fail banks and the tone-deaf tendency among its recipients to continue to pay multi-million dollar bonuses to their executives.

There will always be people who get rich on Wall Street. The problem isn’t that bankers make too much money and the solution is not for the government to redistribute wealth. 

The greater challenge is the economic prospects of the middle class.  A new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concludes, “with manufacturing and certain low-skill tasks increasingly becoming automated… the demand for information-processing and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skills is growing”.  Throughout the 23 industrialized economies included in the study, “literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills” are lacking.  By now, we shouldn’t be surprised that the United States ranked 21 out of 23 in these critical skills. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about manufacturing in the United States (The Ford Fusion and How the Media Got It Wrong (Again)).  I cited a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that projects that the US will again be a global center for manufacturing due to lower costs of labor, energy and transportation.  But, it’s not a bed of roses.  Among the risks cited by BCG is the skills gap among American workers. 

But, what skills are we talking about?  Yes, it’s true that our primary and secondary schools are failing us.  But, would fixing that problem solve the larger problem of a skills gap?

Don’t look to the government, the school board or the teachers’ union for the solution.  If you’re the parent of a school aged kid, the place to look for a solution is the mirror.  Start by second guessing an ingrained assumption.  Sending your kid to a four-year college will not guarantee him or her a good job.  College grads now handle our customer service complaints, check us in at the Marriott and help us setup our iPhones in the Apple Store.  None of those jobs are high paying nor are they the first step on the corporate ladder to the executive suite.  And, they don’t pay enough to raise a family or pay off student loans.

To solve the skills gap, we need to expand our idea of what constitutes an education.

Corporate executives can find all the engineers, financial analysts and marketing professionals they need by sending their recruiters to the top universities.  And, they do.  There is a well-established process by which this type of recruiting has been taking place for the last 60 or 70 years.  So, if your kid is an A student, by all means, send them to the best university you can afford. 

But, finding employees with the skills to support computer networks, assist on a medical research project or operate a CNC machine is a greater challenge.  None of these professions truly require a four-year degree.  They require technical skills coupled with a work ethic and personal habits valued by employers. 

The answer to this challenge will spring bottoms up from companies working with local governments and institutions like community colleges. 

In Texas, Houston Community College provides training and certification to work on oilrigs to satisfy growing demand in the energy industry.  In Minnesota, Anoka-Ramsey Community College works with local manufacturers to provide the specific training needed to work in a modern factory -- geometric dimensioning, process control and measuring tolerances.  A non-profit institution, Corporate Voices for Working Families has developed a set of best practices – a blueprint, if you will – for employers to work with local colleges and community colleges with a goal of increasing employment among graduates.

College tuition is increasing 8% per year, well more than inflation and certainly more than real wages, which have remained flat for more than a decade.  Parents are right to question the value of a degree that leaves them or their children saddled with debt.  But, we shouldn’t expect the solutions to come from Washington or the state capital.  Industry will drive the demand for training and education to close the gap.  Competitive enterprises will develop the programs to satisfy their needs.

It all starts with the students, the job seekers.  They must take responsibility for demanding the skills necessary to get a good job with strong career prospects.  They must have the support of those who pay most of the bills for their education – their parents. 

Blaming institutions of government for their failures will not get your kid a good job.  Taking responsibility for the outcome, discovering what employers want and getting the training and education you need, will.



  1. Bradley Johnson
    Solution Architect at GeoDigital International Inc

    Thank you for sharing this post. Being a product of a transition from a 4 year (State University) to a 2 year Technical school, I appreciate your sentiment. I made the move because I saw a glut of engineers coming from the 4 year schools, and this whole "IT" thing seemed to be gaining traction. Sure enough, I am far along in my career, and enjoy what I do. I can lead a lifestyle with more fluff than many of my friends who have BS/BA's, and even many who have masters degrees! But, I am hitting a ceiling. Even if your argument is correct, which I believe it is, those of us who have over a decade of experience, and the aptitude for continued upward mobility are stuck under what I'll call the paper ceiling. Unless you have that piece of paper from an institution indicating you spent 4+ years on a degree, you can't continue to grow, even if you are otherwise well qualified and capable.

    I would ask you, as the advisor and confidant you are, please coach your execs to instruct their HR departments to remove the automatic language of: BA BS required. It is insulting, and I believe, keeping true talent away.

    Best Regards and Kudos!

  2. @Bradley. Thanks for your comment. I know it must be frustrating. However, I think the world is changing (albeit slowly). At the top of the food chain is the NSA who, we now know, engaged Edward Snowden who does not have a degree. The talent that one needs to be a great software engineer or programmer or systems analyst need not be complemented by knowledge of Shakespeare (as an example).

    When I was growing up, we talked about a liberal arts education leading to becoming a "well rounded" person. No more. The employment community wants qualified technicians in every field. The next step is to break down the entrenched methods of the HR community. If corporate leaders need it to work differently, they'll make it work differently.

  3. Jr. colleges r important for the majority of today’s kids’ you make some great points for young people to think about. I remember from our day BOCES. My kids would not attend do to stigma attached to previous kids attending…. But today they r placing kids into jobs that they can grow in ,if they r inclined to do so…..or a least have a good paying blue color job that they otherwise would not have and no college debt. I’m interested in seeing what my local Jr. Colleges have for their graduates??? Good Job

  4. John – with all due respect, you’re way off on this one! You're citing statistics that beat around the bush and fundamentally miss they factors in income inequality.

    Fact:In 2012, the income gap between the the average CEO and the median pay for an employee at his or her company was 354-to-1. That means that, on average, CEOs took in 354 times more in pay (including salary, bonus, stock options, etc.) than the average worker at their company.

    Fact: In 2012, the Walmart CEO earner 1,034 times as much as the median Walmart worker. At Target, the numer was 597-to-1.

    Fact: In Canada, the average gap between CEO pay and median worker pay was 206-to-1; in Germany, 147-to-1; in Norway, 58-to-1, and in Portugal, 53-to-1.

    Fact: In 2002, the U.S. CEO pulled in, on average, 281 times as much as their median worker earned. In 1982, CEOs took in 42 times the earnings of their average workers.

    Fact: The wealthiest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans. And it's getting worse.

    The outrageous (there’s no better word to describe this discrepancy) gap between the rich and the poor has little to do with education, job training, or college tuition. And it’s a growing gap. If income inequality was truly a matter of education, our CEOs are more than twice as educated as their counterparts in Germany and over six times smarter than those in Portugal.

    It IS about income re-distribution and it IS about our government’s tax policies and minimum wage structure. If we simply returned to the tax rates we had through the mostly booming years of the 1950s and 1960s, retied the minimum wage to inflation, and tightened up on CEO stock option awards, that inequality would right itself. Worker pay would go up, workers would have more disposable income, workers would buy things, companies would make things to keep up with that demand, companies would hire more workers, unemployment would go down, and all would profit – not just the richest, as we’ve seen in the past several years.

    It sounds simple but it really IS simple. The rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten pooer, the middle class has slipped and stagnated, and it has precious little to do with education or job training and a WHOLE lot to do with how the laws are written to favor the very wealthiest.

    Bruce Scottow

  5. @Bruce. I agree that we need tax reform but that is not the subject of this post. Indeed, I touched on that topic in my last post (Hey, Congress! You're Asking the Wrong Questions). I truly believe that free market capitalism offers better solutions than government. Without economic growth, there would be no tax revenue to redistribute. Currently, those below the poverty line pay no taxes and are eligible for food stamps, Medicaid and direct payments that raise their effective compensation to median income levels. There is no incentive for them to improve their lot as they get too much from the government already.

    The key to economic stability is the middle class and there are economic forces that offer opportunity for all with the return of manufacturing to the US and a budding energy boom. The point of this post is that we must address the skills gap to take advantage of the opportunity. A training system similar to Germany's apprentice programs would suffice but it is countercultural in the US. There is already evidence that the community colleges are addressing this issue as I have pointed out in this post. One can find numerous examples beyond the three I have cited.

    We could reduce CEO pay as you have implied. But, it wouldn't address any of the issues you have raise or any of the issues I have raised.

    Redistribution of wealth is a non-sustainable method of addressing any of societies problems. Europe's high tax, high benefit systems of government are unsustainable. It was intuitively obvious before and now it is empirically obvious.

    1. John,

      Please don't use what has become a highly loaded term: "income redistribution." Right wing activists love to toss this around as if it symbolizes a rising socialist or communist plot of some sort.

      First off, we have been engaged in "income redistribution" since the dawn of time. A healthy mother nurses her (or even another mother's) helpless baby. A father sees to his fathers comfort in old age. For almost one hundred years our country has operated with a sliding income tax scale whereby those who earn more, pay in more. For most of us, the concept isn't arguable, it's that sliding scale that is at issue.

      Second, it implies that the poor want to steal from the rich and obtain something that is not theirs. You certainly implied as much in your claim that the poor somehow achieve economic parity with the middle class through non-payment of taxes (though no mention of sales taxes, etc.), food stamps, and Medicaid. Wow, somebody hasn't spent too much time talking to people on food stamps! That "they raise their effective compensation to median income levels" is a startling statement and roundly false.

      And I am not "implying" that we reduce CEO pay. I'm stating that we reduce it, certainly more in line with other first world nations, particularly those in Europe.

      Which, by the way, also brings into question the very tired and very false belief that Europe's high tax, high benefit system is unsustainable. Please explain what Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands are doing wrong and how their economies are crumbling as a result. England, France, Belgium, and Switzerland are hardly suffering, either. (Have you been to any of these countries lately?) I will grant that the economies of Spain, Italy, Portugal, and certainly Greece are suffering but most economists place those faults in the laps of very poor government management, unproductive workforce, and questionable banking operations - not specifically a high tax/high benefit cause.

      Sorry for the rant, and I apologize if I was off-topic (though I DO see tax reform as the root issue - not job training); I just have to chime in on some of these inaccuracies I see bandied about.


  6. Jason G. Ramage, MS, MBA, RBP
    Staff Scientist

    John, I 100% agree that we should not be telling every high schooler that s/he needs to attend a four year college. All that has done is devalue the baccalaureate degree. A technical or trade school is very appropriate for those with certain interests and/or ambitions.

    In other areas, this is untrue. Skilled engineers will still require a solid four year degree; you can't rush your way through Calculus 1 - 3 and Diff EQs after all. Likewise with the sciences. Even a four-year degree in life sciences, for instance, will only qualify you for certain entry-level bench positions. I didn't even get my job (as a research tech) until after I earned my MS, and certain types of positions in my field (principal investigator, professor at a four-year school) are beyond my reach because I don't have a Ph.D. The same is generally true for psych majors. At the same time, I've known plenty of PhDs who couldn't find suitable employment at their expected level.

    One needs to determine what exactly it is s/he wants to do in life, and then figure out the best option for doing so. It may still require a four year degree (or more). In other cases, as you point out, other paths make a lot more sense.

  7. @Jason. I agree with all that you have said. But, I think we are on the verge of a sea change in the higher education industry. The combination of high cost and lack of job opportunity will allow MOOC's and other remote, non-synchronous methods of training to flourish. Indeed, if you think about all the courses you took that had nothing to do with your technical training, you could find a way to get the same training without the same cost.

    Another factor will be the need for ongoing training and certification. A colleague of mine whose company owns content for college texts thinks that "point in time" certification will soon be a thing of the past. In other words, your four year degree will lose its value. Your younger colleagues may have to get the same initial training in your field but they may be required to continually update their certification through continuing ed. This is already in place for doctors, lawyers and even real estate agents.

  8. Jason G. Ramage, MS, MBA, RBP
    Staff Scientist

    Absolutely. Those who fail to keep current will rapidly be left behind.

  9. Phillip Parker
    Senior Computer Scientist at Orbital Sciences Corporation

    It's not that a four year degree is necessarily bad, it's that too many kids are going to four year colleges and choosing non-marketable majors. A four year engineering or other technical degree or pre-law, pre-med is still a pretty good investment.

    We need a few people to major in the humanities and be historians, artists, authors, professors, etc, but not many. A lot of the people in those majors would be better off in a 2 year vocational program or apprenticeship. If we had an industrial policy, like Germany, we might have more of that kind of training.

  10. Chuck Rosselle
    Portfolio Manager at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    There is a national policy and state partnership aspect to this. I'm familiar with both the Maryland and California Community College systems and both are superb, doing much of the educating you espouse. I presume the majority of states have credible if not exemplary systems. These schools are very cost effective and as Phillip noted above are designed to be feeder schools to the state college system. This is not only a great way for outstanding kids to get exposed to learning and making good decisions for their future, but also a very cost effective way to get a four year degree. It's important, however that local business work closely with the Community College Boards to ensure curricula are designed to meet real world needs and that there is guidance in the form of longer term policy so that we are educating not just for tomorrow, but also for the years ahead. This need not be expensive government supported programs, more along the lines of consistent coordination with credible NGO's. I think I'm parroting what Phillip said.

  11. Jim Schwab
    President, Pallet Logistics of America

    "The response to this challenge will spring bottoms up from companies working with local governments and institutions like community colleges. "

    Bingo - but specialty trade schools will also fill demand in a market-based response - not just the government and community college system.

    I think you make a pretty clear case on who will (needs to) lead.

  12. Chuck Rosselle
    Portfolio Manager at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    Good point Jim. Schools like DeVry already come pretty close to that model.

  13. Mario De La Ossa
    Derivatives Specialist

    @Calia: "There will always be people who get rich on Wall Street. The problem isn't that bankers make too much money and the solution is not for the government to redistribute wealth."

    Or... There are people who get rich largely due to government redistribution of wealth through preferential access to capital at close to zero interest rates, gaping tax loopholes, and aggressive lobbying to rewrite regulations. Nothing new there, just a recent gap up in magnitude.
    CNC Machinist: Avg. Annual Salary 40k/yr.
    IT Support: Avg hourly pay: $22,24. U cite these as specific paths?
    U'r question merits discussion but your examples suffer on cursory examination. Medium and high skill jobs are subject to automation, 2nd inning of this process+global leveling of intellectual capital means we are just getting started...the STEM shortage is quite debatable, see
    I have several friends who were not "A" students that have achieved remarkable post bachelor's degree success later in life that your thesis suggests should have sought out the equivalent of Hauptschule or, for the "brighter", Realschule earlier in life. The establishment of a viable vocational model implies heresies along the lines of access to universal health care, a state welfare mechanism and other unspeakable items related to job security that one finds in primitive countries such as Germany.

  14. Christopher Smith
    Senior Consultant at Deloitte

    My wife's German, and, while there are plenty of positives to note about the way things are done there, the whole Bismarckian welfare system is very much on the ropes, and not necessarily worthy of emulating. No matter what our NE liberal friends care to claim.

  15. @Mario. I impose an 800 word limit to my posts which is rather long by blog standards. That limit also imposes limits on the depth to which I might explore certain aspects of my argument as your thoughtful reply points out.

    Disclaimers aside, my point about the wealthy is meant to imply that the policies debated in Washington (no matter your political leanings) does not address the economic future of the middle class and by extension the nation.

    I submit to you that the brevity of my argument counterposes the courses that might be taken by either A students or C students. B students might be said to be in no man's land, at least for the moment. The salary data you present suggests that an IT support person earns the median income which supports my POV. A graduate of a no name university with a 4 year business degree and no skills won't earn that.

    Like you, I know many B and C students who have had great success. I am projecting that one can achieve that same success without a four year degree in the future. Indeed, there are easy examples of this phenomenon in the IT industry -- from Edward Snowden to Bill Gates. Moreover, the IT support person of today can be the IT entrepreneur of tomorrow. His technical education will start him on that path. A business degree from a weak college at great expense will likely not.

  16. Ray Wach
    Sales at Silk Way Cargo

    It seems to me that we are talking about this issue sideways, and missing the real point (unless I am the one missing the point.) To summarize in a single sentence: we are saying that many graduates of four-year colleges won't find the type of jobs they are expecting. But it seems to me that the problem is that we aren't training people for the technical manufacturing jobs that we need. Sure, we can say that there will be young people who will need to work harder than they expected to have the careers they want, but that is a smaller aspect of the issue. Our lack of skilled manufacturing people is limiting our ability to produce, and therefore limiting all of us economically.

    And the solution isn't to build more technical schools, either -- schools will teach what people want to learn. The solution has to include making manufacturing more appealing to high school kids.

  17. Phillip Parker
    Senior Computer Scientist at Orbital Sciences Corporation

    Maybe kids are different now, but in my high school class ('67), there were a lot of kids who would rather work in a machine shop than go to college. I think manufacturing jobs are still appealing, but the kids need to realize that they will need to have more modern skills to land them.

  18. @Philip. Interesting comment. My high school was the opposite. (Same year, BTW) But, I think Ray is on to something. Colleges are simply responding to market demand. If parents want their kids to get business degrees that's what colleges will offer. I am surprised they would be surprised when their kids can't find a good job with a decent salary.

    I wrote about this a couple of years ago in a post called Is the Education We Want the Education We Need;

  19. Phillip Parker
    Senior Computer Scientist at Orbital Sciences Corporation

    Your older post was very good, John. I think the education industry (and it is an industry!) has convinced the public that any degree from any school is a ticket to middle class security. It's not true, of course, and the people making the hiring decisions know better. The public also seems to want every kid to go to college, even if he or she isn't college material. Colleges shouldn't be teaching remedial math and writing. Some tougher admissions standards might push more young people into vocational training or apprenticeships, but the education industry will resist that because it means fewer college students and less revenue.

  20. A friend, who is on the Board of Trustees of the Univ. of Miami Law School, told me that they are providing remedial reading and writing courses to students who matriculate to the law school. Imagine that!

  21. Phillip Parker
    Senior Computer Scientist at Orbital Sciences Corporation

    John, that is truly amazing. I assume these law students already have bachelor's degrees and yet they are still illiterate.

    Consider the example of Germany again, this time in higher education. Admissions standards are high, entrance exams are tough and far fewer people attend universities. Those that do, however, incur far more modest expenses than US students and their families.

    Some years back, I tutored a young man in the shop math he needed to pass a written exam in his steam-fitters apprentice program. He passed, he completed the program and now he is a foreman, paying taxes and supporting a family. Apprenticeships work. This one was a cooperative effort between his union and a local community college.

  22. Chuck Rosselle
    Portfolio Manager at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    I think it's difficult to educate kids today for the jobs of the future because those jobs are still evolving. It's an educated guess as just what types of skills a future worker will need. I'm likely biased, but the only thing certain seems to be that more technical skills will be required. When I was doing Systems Consulting in the early nineties, I was consistently surprised at the low level of technical understanding of most senior managers. Interestingly, the Financial Services industry has been way ahead in promoting senior managers with strong technical backgrounds. As a result it's been incredibly effective at using information for competitive advantage, both in good and bad ways.

    Germany has been successful because they have a pretty stable view of what they are good at and both protect their industry and train workers at all levels accordingly. I believe we have a tougher job because we need to both innovate and train workers for the future. To John's initial point, we seem to be evolving a pretty flexible educational infrastructure. The primary problems seem to be at the Primary ans Secondary level of education and in the entrenched Corporate view that business or legal skills are more important than technical skills. If technical skills are valued, they will be sought and taught.

  23. Phillip Parker
    Senior Computer Scientist at Orbital Sciences Corporation

    On a related note, sometimes hiring managers are too focused on a candidate's past and not their potential. I've known a couple pretty good programmers that were English majors.

  24. @Chuck. I would refine your last point a bit by adding the perspective of the market -- the students and their parents -- causes top students to be attracted to business and law because of the money. An A student who goes to Harvard Business or Law School has the potential to make tons of money. An A student who goes to MIT to get a degree in engineering doesn't have that same potential (aside from the top software engineers and tech entrepreneurs).

  25. Chuck Rosselle
    Portfolio Manager at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    I don't disagree at all. I would just lobby for adding more technology to the Business Curricula of the top schools ( it may be a stretch to include Law) and opening up the opportunity for folks who traverse a lower level technical path to be candidates for the top jobs in business. As Citicorp did with John Reed.

    If, as I perceive, we're on a path of significant new business innovation a la the 90's and the dot-com, technical salaries will run up due to market demand anyways.

  26. @Chuck. Agree 100%. In fact, I worked for John Reed at Citi.

  27. Lynn Thomas
    Instructor of Physics at Marian University Indianapolis

    Chuck's comment above about what's not happening at the primary and secondary levels is important. I'm teaching college physics at a primary university, and way too many of my students come in lacking the math background or thinking skills to do well in my class. But I don't hang all of the blame on their school teachers - those [mostly] worthy souls have to spend way too much time doing things that properly belong to the children's parents, and what teaching they do manage is often very driven by a high-stakes test.

    Of course, no one can actually come out and say publicly that too many parents aren't fulfilling their responsibilities to their kids, and that's a primary cause of our education woes in this country. Please note, I said "a" primary cause, not "the" primary cause. The issues are way bigger than a combox.

  28. Hey John, I enjoyed reading your post and agree with your observations that we are failing. For the past 20 years, as I travel to Central America to visit my in-laws, I am struck by a couple of cultural differences that might be a factor. I don't see attitudes of entitlement or guarantees of success. For example, there is no mandatory education level. If a person decides to drop out of school in 6th grade to work in the fields, they do so with the understanding that it is their choice and responsibility. I also observe, that a great majority of the young people learn foreign languages (on their own time) to be able to contribute to the local tourism and global economies. My 21 year old nephew speaks fluent English and Chinese. He makes a very comfortable salary working in a call center. My mentality is that working in a call center is lowly work, but he has figured out that working in a call center while speaking three languages is a market discriminator that commands high compensation. I believe, the difference might be that, unlike my kids, many other kids have internalized the need to personally provide value to the economy. As a teen, I remember thinking that going to the Naval Academy would be a guarantee of a solid future. Perhaps this frame of mind is the root of the problem. There are no guarantees, in this day and age of exponential change, each person should have an entrepreneurial mindset that they need to constantly hone their skills for whatever the market is demanding.

  29. Neil Jurkovic
    Financial Reporting Manager at Olin Corporation

    Good article. I think we can all agree that college costs are increasing faster than inflation and the value of most of that education/degree is declining relative to the past or other countries. What I find refreshing are your implied solutions:

    1. A work ethic valued by employers.
    2. Personal habits valued by employers.
    3. Personal responsibility for demanding the necessary skills from educational institutions.
    4. Supportive parents and family environment.
    5. Taking responsibility (accountability) for the outcome.
    6. Don't look for government, school boards or teachers' unions for the solution.

    I fully agree with these points, unfortunately these values are being de-emphasized, mocked, and pushed out of our culture by our more "progressive" friends.

  30. John W. Stevens, Jr.
    President & Principal at Synergistic Services, Inc.

    Some of the comments have touched on one of the keys to success, but did not really emphasize it. That is personal and parental responsibility. It is the parent's responsibility to appropriately guide and advise their children in terms of both their education as well as their chosen vocation. It is the child's responsibility to consider carefully his or her strengths and interests and to then choose an educational path appropriately. Far too many enter college with absolutely no idea of what career they wish to have, and thus achieve a generic education of little value to themselves, industry, or society.

    For example, one of my sons demonstrated both the interest and the abilities needed to succeed as a lawyer and that is the direction I encouraged and guided him to that also determined what education he would pursue. He is now highly successful. As others pointed out, colleges and law schools do an excellent job in giving the appropriate training for the chosen vocation.

    My other son's strengths were far different, showing strong leadership and personal skills but lesser academic abilities or interests. After a stretch of home schooling to give him the basics, to instill in him interest in learning by more person and direct, hands-on means, and providing him with organizational and problem solving skills, I helped him choose a vocation he enjoyed but never considered as a career -- professional cooking and restaurant management. After attending and excelling in a culinary education program, he now, at the age of 37, he is General Manager of a large successful restaurant.

    The irony is that, as a college educated parent, I spent the first 18 years of my sons' lives preaching to them the important of getting a college education. My youngest refused to give up trying to achieve what I had preached, until I sat him down and helped him figure out what direction would actually be the best for him -- and that was not the conventional academic college education.

    We as parents or individuals cannot just throw bodies into an education system that is designed and run by academics. Certainly, most academics are passionate about their chosen specialty and degrees; But, how many jobs are their for graduates with a degree, for example in "Wymyn's Studies," and what are their career options beyond possibly managing a McDonald's? Further, what use is it to "Liberal Arts" students to be required as part of their core curriculum to study "Ebonics," as was the case in many colleges a few years ago?

    Neil hit the nail on the head with his list of six solutions and one through five must be taught and learned in the home, well before a child reaches college age.