Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
From my kids' graduating classes almost half are engineering majors. I know engineers with Masters degrees who are out of work. It makes no sense for these kids to pursue this rigorous programs if they don't love it. Too many of them are doing it because somewhere down the line someone told them they could make alot of money. It was the same with computer science engineers in the 90's and business majors in the 70's. Sure, you could major in something and make alot of money. Or you could end up a disillusioned 45 year old who finds out that you have wasted talents and skills working in a job you hate. Case in point-I went to school with a girl whose parents groomed her to be a doctor from the time she was small. All through junior high and high school she pushed herself though science and math programs, taking away time from the music she loved. She went through college with honors, went to med school and the first day of residency, she called me and said she was quitting. She hated it. All of it. And it was all proposed to her as simply a get rich quick scheme. I am not against money. Or wealth, or being a doctor. But I personally would much rather have a doctor or professional working on or with me, who is passionately excited about his or her job. I don't want a disgruntled surgeon working on my heart or a discouraged engineer designing my building. That's what is wrong with the high stakes testing. It ties into the concept of programming kids to be what they are not and to ignore skills seens as worthless over skills that are marketable. I predict we will see some very discouraged and disillusioned college grads with tens of thousands of dollars in debt to pay back who will seriously consider chucking it all. Watch for the counterrevolution.
The problem with this kind of thing is that "experts" take whatever is hot and project it out into the future, ignoring the evidence of other, different things that will in fact be hot.For example: it should have been obvious in the late 1990s that there would be a shortage of chemical and petroleum engineers, given the demographics of the current workforce. No one in media was interested in telling this story: they were all too busy telling everyone to get into "computers."
People forget that one of the reasons that Engineers are always highly paid is that the degree is hard to get. Most freshmen who start out in engineering do not make it. It has one of the lowest completion rates for any undergraduate degree.
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