Almost exactly a year ago, Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe noted that many Americans are dissatisfied with their lives because they no longer appreciate the intrinsic value of work.
Additionally, Rowe previously concluded, millions of reasonable people – Republicans and Democrats alike – are worried that our universities are doing a poor job of preparing students for the real world. They’re worried about activist professors, safe spaces, the rising cost of tuition, a growing contempt for history, a simmering disregard of the first amendment, and most recently the so-called ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal of systemic elite cheating into prestigious schools.
And on the heels of that, Mike Rowe slammed the system on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last night, blasting Americans, and the American establishment for being “obsessed with credentialing, not education.”
“I think because stuck in this binary box, this or that. Right, blue-collar or white color, good job or a bad job. Higher education or higher alternative education.
When you only have two choices or you think you only have two choices, then you do one thing at the expense of the other.
So for instance, you know we have talked about this before, but it just seems so clear now. When four year degree universities needed a P.R. Campaign 40 years ago, they got one.
But the P.R. Came at the expense of all of the other forms of education. So it wasn’t hey, Tucker get your liberal arts degree because it will give you a broad base of appreciation for humanity. It was come if you don’t go get that degree, you will wind up over here turning a ranch or running a welding torch or doing some kind of consolation prize.
So we promoted the one thing at the expense of all of the others.
And that one thing just happened to be the most expensive thing. And so, look come I don’t think the skills set is the mystery. A reflection of what we value.
7 million — 7 million jobs available and they require training. Yet we are obsessed not really with education, you know. What we are obsessed with this credentialing.
People are buying diplomas. They are buying their degrees. It is a diploma dilemma, honestly. And it is expensive. It is getting worse. It’s not just the kids holding the note. It is us.”
All of which confirms his recent Facebook post, directing his frustration at the exorbitant cost of attending college, especially the elite schools that were involved with the scandal:
You don’t have to be rich or famous to believe your kid is doomed to fail without a four-year degree. Millions of otherwise sensible parents in every tax-bracket share this misguided belief, and many will do whatever it takes to get their kids enrolled in a “good school.” Obviously, those who resort to bribery are in a class by themselves, but what about parents who allow their kids to borrow vast sums of money to attend universities they can’t possibly afford? What about the guidance counselors and teachers who pressure kids to apply for college regardless of the cost? What about the politicians and lobbyists who so transparently favor one form of education at the expense of all the others? What about the employers who won’t even interview a candidate who doesn’t have a degree? Where’s the outrage?
The cost of college today has almost nothing to do with the cost of an education, and everything to do with the cost of buying a credential. That’s all a diploma is. Some are more expensive than others, but none of them reflect the character of the recipient, none are necessary to live a happy and prosperous life, and none of them come with any guarantees. And yet, the pressure we put on kids to borrow whatever it takes is constant, and precisely why tuition is so costly. It’s also why we have $1.6 trillion of student loans on the books along with a widening skills gap. That’s a bigger scandal, in my opinion.
Rowe has long been an advocate for trade and blue-collar skilled jobs. In many cases, these careers can earn similar salaries to those earned by college graduates.