America: Abandon Your Reverence for the Bachelor’s Degree

Source: Mary Alice McCarthy, The Atlantic, October 5, 2015

Many high-school graduates must choose between two bad options: a four-year program for which they’re not academically or emotionally prepared, or job-specific training that might put a ceiling on their careers. … For reasons that are not entirely clear, in the United States training is widely understood to be the end, not the beginning, of an educational journey that leads to a particular job or career. Undergraduates are supposed to get a general education that will prepare them for training, which they will presumably get once they land a job or go to graduate school. Any training that happens before then just doesn’t count. …. While few would challenge the importance of general education, both to students and to a well-functioning democracy, there is good reason to question why it has to come at the beginning of a B.A.—and just how general and theoretical it needs to be. …. State and community colleges in the state of Washington figured this out years ago and offer a variety of options for students who want to begin their college career with technical training. ….