Today at 10am, students gathered on the lawn of the Seattle Central Community College to protest the proposed 11% budget cuts in higher education funding.
According to a release by organizers:
“Our educated workforce is the engine that drives our economic survival, allowing us to attract and retain powerhouse multinational industrial and technological corporations along with local startups and mom-and-pop operations.
Washington State Community Colleges— as we know them— cannot survive these cuts, and neither can our economy. Eliminate access to affordable education, and you eliminate the ability of businesses, small and large, to thrive here.
Slash funding for community colleges, and you slash at the social and economic fabric of the State.”
I watched the speakers for about half an hour, and I was impressed by their spirit. I especially appreciated the young lady who took the microphone and declared that, just because she didn’t have a trust fund like so many of the kids in Washington colleges, she was no less worthy of a quality education.
It was a good point.
Download Video: MP4
Now, personally, I am not a huge proponent of higher education unless it is in highly specialized fields such as medicine or nuclear physics. I’m quite skeptical about whether studying long enough to pass exams makes anyone “smarter” or “better educated”.
For instance, consider the following scenario:
Someone with an IQ of 138 comes to your tech company and asks for a job. They dropped out of school in the 11th grade.
Next, someone with an IQ of 108 comes to your tech company and asks for a job. They have a Master’s Degree in an IT field.
If I owned the IT company, I would hire the dropout without giving it a second thought. It might take them longer to get up to speed on-the-job, but they would eventually surpass the degreed candidate in capability. Intelligence trumps formal education, every time.
As such, I am not a huge supporter of higher education for higher education’s sake. It does not make anyone smarter or more intelligent. Like most things, education is a business. Nothing more, nothing less.
That being said, with so many jobs wanting the pedigree, it does seem that those whose parents can afford to send them to 4 years of adult summer camp certainly have an advantage over those who have to enter real life much sooner. You can certainly make the case that this perpetuates the cycle of elitism and widens the wealth gap in perpetuity.
To be honest, I’m conflicted on this issue personally, but I always have the utmost respect for people who stand up for their beliefs and fight for them.
Kudos to the Seattle Central Students for doing exactly this.