Is there some rule that says we need the Government to solve all our problems?
Anybody who knows Mike Rowe knows he’s been very careful to avoid aligning himself with any political party, because he is more concerned about solving a problem that hurts people across the political spectrum, and he doesn’t want to get frozen out of half the population he’s trying to help by getting pigeon-holed as a partisan guy.
That said, the latest crop of Democrats are charging ahead with a solution that is pretty much 180 degrees opposite of the one he’s been championing for years now with his Mike Rowe works project.
Because there’s such a stark difference, it’s a good time to ask — who has the better plan to fix our broken education system? The 2020 leadership field on the Dem side, or Mike Rowe Works?
The answer to that question depends on what problem you think needs to be solved. Where does the obligation of responsibility reside in the system of education?
Is there a reasonable expectation that EVERYONE can and should go through a college program — whether they have specific and reasonable career objectives or not? And once they have completed those courses — at great personal expense — is it reasonable to expect that society will provide employment on a scale that will properly compensate and reward the time and expense put into said schooling, whether the education you acquire equips you with marketable and useful skills or not?
Key Democrat candidates think that is exactly right. That all education is valuable (regardless of whether it translates into any viable skill sets) and that someone who comes out of school with crippling student debt are somehow victims if they don’t wind up with the sort of high-powered positions sufficient to repay those debts.
Such ‘victims’ need ‘rescuing’ by the State — which means, by extension, by the taxpayer. That means people who have NOT gone to higher education, and probably will NOT be pulling in the high-six-figure salaries (unless they do very well in the trades or other small business) are subsidizing many people who do.
And they can’t possibly comprehend why anyone might possibly object to such student debt forgiveness.
Mike Rowe Works takes a very different approach.
He’s not a fan of the status quo, or throwing more money at the problem.
Here’s his [non-partisan] take on the situation.
America has become slowly but undeniably disconnected from the most fundamental elements of civilization—food, energy, education, and the very nature of work itself.
Over the last 30 years, America has convinced itself that the best path for the most people is an expensive, four-year degree. Pop culture has glorified the “corner office job” while unintentionally belittling the jobs that helped build the corner office. As a result, our society has devalued any other path to success and happiness. Community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs are labeled as “alternative.” Millions of well-intended parents and guidance counselors see apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities as “vocational consolation prizes,” best suited for those not cut out for the brass ring: a four-year degree. The push for higher education has coincided with the removal of vocational arts from high schools nationwide. And the effects of this one-two punch have laid the foundation for a widening skills gap and massive student loan debt.
Today, the skills gap is wider than it’s ever been. The cost of college tuition has soared faster than the cost of food, energy, real estate, and health care. Student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category in the United States with more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe more than $1.5 trillion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 7 million jobs available across the country, the majority of which don’t require a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel. We keep lending money we don’t have to people who can’t pay it back for jobs that don’t exist. Bit by bit, our culture reaffirms the misguided belief that a career in the skilled trades shouldn’t be desired. And that lack of enthusiasm has reshaped our expectations of a “good job” into something that no longer resembles work.
What’s the short version? Simple: “America is lending money it doesn’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.” -Mike Rowe
Rowe is an advocate of hard work paired with a good attitude, as reflected in the twelve pledges he requires of anyone taking scholarship money from his program.
His ’12 pledges’ (and the corresponding videos) give a very different roadmap of how the ordinary student can lay hold on his (or her) share of the American Dream — without bankrupting the country in the process.
Pledge 1: I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
Pledge 2: I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that ‘happiness’ and ‘the pursuit of happiness’ are not the same thing.
Pledge 3: I believe there is no such thing as a ‘bad job’. I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.
Pledge 4: I do not ‘follow my passion’. I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
Pledge 5: I deplore debt and will do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.
Pledge 6: I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being ‘in compliance’ does not necessarily mean being out of danger.
Pledge 7: I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.
Pledge 8: I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy at work, I will either find a new job, or I will find a way to be happy.
Pledge 9: I believe that my education is my responsibility and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning and understand that library cards are free.
Pledge 10: I believe that I am a product of my choices — not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I did not do.
Pledge 11; I understand that the world is not fair, and I’m ok with that. I do not resent the success of others.
Pledge 12: I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.
Rowe encourages students to consider a career path in the trades, where millions of jobs are going unfilled for lack of skilled workers.
What’s the point of completing an arts degree and slinging coffee at a Starbucks when you could save a lot of time and money by learning a trade and actually get paid for what you studied how to do?
He even points people to ‘jobs that actually exist‘ on his page, so you’ll know you are making an informed choice.
Needless to say, we’re big fans of Rowe over here.
Here are a few from the Archives: