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College may no longer be necessary, high quality K-12 education is

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Even though psychologists have been talking about a lack of correlation between college degrees, course grades, and job performance for decades, most companies continue to rely on these credentials and marks to make hiring decisions.

In the past couple of years, however, a few companies have broken rank. Google, a Fortune 500 technology firm, and Ernst and Young U.K., part of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, have publicly announced they no longer require college degrees for employment.

Google’s chairman said the company is more interested in an applicant’s skills, ability to think in a logical way, work ethic, breadth of experience, public speaking abilities, and creativity. Ernst and Young said they are interested in talented individuals regardless of background.

This transformation is due, in large part, to free access of information through the Internet. Over five years ago Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft, suggested that traditional university education, especially at fixed-place institutions will no longer be necessary, since most of the content will be available online for free.

The college experience is under additional pressure, because college costs are rising at a rate higher than inflation and a college degree no longer guarantees a solid middle-class income. In fact, the College Risk Report (collegeriskreport.com) suggests that the rate of return on most four-year college degrees is worse than 2-year degrees and in some instances worse than no degree at all.

There is a small group of students who receive full ride scholarships to attend college. For these students, the costs are so low that the four-year degree makes financial sense.

Some people assert that college is an excellent place to make contacts. This may be a valid claim for students who are outgoing and takes advantage of all the clubs, speakers, professors, and research opportunities available at a school, but is probably not the case for most students who meet few people outside their dorms and classes.

Without a traditional college education, strong K-12 schooling is imperative since this will be where kids learn basic skills, hone public speaking abilities, refine creative thinking, and develop logical problem solving capabilities. Work ethic can be developed at school, home or in extra-curricular activities like sports. Breadth of experience can occur at school or through outside clubs and activities.

This new employment paradigm suggests we need to worry more about high quality K-12 education and less about college.

Careers talks ‘boost future earnings’ – research

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“Careers education given to pupils in secondary school can be linked to higher earnings in adult life, according to researchers. A study published in the Journal of Education and Work suggests that better-informed teenagers are likely to make more advantageous career choices…Where there were “higher levels of employer contacts, in the form of careers talks with outside speakers”, researchers found that this was linked to higher returns in the labour market. They concluded that getting careers information and meeting employers in school had a “meaningful and statistically significant impact on later earnings”.”(more)

How to Make a Liberal Arts Degree a Career Asset

Fortune – Anne Fisher

“Plenty of research supports the idea that STEM degrees, although they’re in big demand, are not the only horse in the race. Two recent employer surveys from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, for instance, show that four skills outrank technical knowledge and computer proficiency on employers’ wish lists: Critical thinking/problem-solving, work ethic, teamwork, and strong oral and written communications. Not only that, but those “soft” skills matter more as people progress in their careers…Still worried? Of course you are. So here are three practical suggestions you might pass along to your daughter (if she’ll listen).”(more)