Jael Calloway says no, and I agree. Before you cast Jael in a bad light, he is not against going to college. In fact, he is attending the University of Oregon to gain knowledge and technical skills that he believes will help him attain his future goals. But just like a size eight pair of shoes, they are not a fit for everyone.
Teaching the gospel of going to college is not a bad message in and of itself, but it can become destructive when it is heralded as the only path to happiness and success. As an example of this, Jael used a 6-year-old girl attending Johnsonville Elementary School in North Carolina. A Times reporter asked what college was and she responded, “It’s someplace where you go to get your career.” Well, she is only six… Who would expect her to understand all the steps between first grade and a career? Her response is not the destructive part, but her family and her schools will do her a disservice if they allow her to graduate high school thinking that she will be a failure without completing a four-year college degree. Jael believes that after being exposed to the idea of college at a young age and only hearing about the virtues and rewards of going to college that it becomes the only option in the life of a child. All other avenues begin to fall by the wayside because no other options are explained or explored. So, what happens to this little girl when at age 18 her foot has not grown to fit into a size eight shoe?
One more little tidbit that Jael mentioned in his article forced me to read it a second time to make sure I understood. He found that a 2020 a New York Federal Reserve Bank report stated that recent “college graduates — those aged 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree — have a higher unemployment rate than the general public.” The last time I checked, no one was giving away college degrees. If earning that degree does not give the holder a leg up on the competition, what good is it? Like Jael, I am not anti-college, but our young people should be encouraged to pursue things that they enjoy in which they have innate skill. If the career they envision does not require a formal, four-year education, why would we push them into college?