Mike Rowe called out the “misguided” views about college in the nation, suggesting that the real scandal in the wake of the recent bribery scam is the exorbitant cost of higher education.
The “Dirty Jobs” host weighed in on the scandal that unfolded last week as dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were implicated in a nationwide college admissions scheme that involved bribery, fraudulent test scores, and qualifications.
Rowe admitted he was “disgusted” in response to a question on Facebook about whether he was “nauseated” by the racketeering scam that involved more than nine coaches and 30 parents as well as some of the nation’s top schools, including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas.
“The cheating is galling, as is the scope of the scandal. But every time I try to articulate my contempt, I wind up sounding like a scold, and there’s no upside in piling on. I will say this though – I wish we were as outraged by the cost of college, as we are by the wealth of the cheaters,” Rowe, whose current show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” airs on TBN, said.
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 eye-popping amount of student debt in the country points to a system where the cost of tuition has very little to do with the actual education being received, Rowe argued, noting how the value of diplomas from elite schools have been overvalued by today’s culture. One year of undergraduate study at Yale University, including room and board, is currently $72,100, according to the school’s website.
“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,” he wrote.
“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,” he added. “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, who turned 57 Monday, has been a vocal advocate for skilled workers for years and, through his mikeroweWORKS Foundation, awards scholarships to students looking for a career in the skilled trades rather than pursuing the four-year college track system.
Earlier this year, before his no-nonsense take on the college bribery scam and the idolatrous worship of colleges and universities, Rowe spoke to The Washington Times about the “crazy” idea that a four-year college is the only path to getting a secure, good-paying job.
“We’re lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to educate them for jobs that don’t exist anymore, and that’s crazy,” he said.
“If you think about the impact of removing shop from high school, you can’t look at it simply as a budget thing. You have to look at it in terms of, ‘What better message could you possibly send to a kid who’s trying to figure out what’s important than by simply removing the entire discipline from consideration?” Rowe added.
His own path of higher education and his refusal to get into a lifetime of debt was shared by Rowe in a video on YouTube last month.
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