Friday, January 8, 2016

Value of a Degree HS & College - LBC Topic 01/08/16

This weeks topic sprang from the retired mind of yours truly. You see - I have a BA in Political SCience with a focus on International relations. I am recently retired from a 30+ year career at  what was once a major electronics retailer. Political Science. Electronics.

I believe one should constantly be in learning mode and isn't that what school is all about?

I was a 3-sport jock in high school. As such I had no time for the vocational education classes that were then available - stuff like welding, auto shop and the like. I took early morning PE (7:AM) and my afternoons were filled with practices - football season segued directly  into wrestling season which ended a week after baseball practices began. I also worked part time at a fast food joint.

Clearly I was working before I earned a HS diploma. So does that render  a HS education useless? Vocational class students exited HS with a marketable skill,  Regular students exited HS with the required education to work in the early stages of a rapidly growing fast-food industry or a check mark in the "Required to go to college box" in life. Then came the tests which supposedly test the value of one's HS education - the ACT and the SAT tests. Frankly I goofed off the last half of my senior year -  I did very little schoolwork as I had accumulated the requisite credits to graduate and the GPA that calculated your position in your graduating class was calculated after the first half of the senior year.  I did enough work to stay eligible for wrestling and baseball season and made up for being a regular student for the previous 3.5 years.I was accepted to several colleges  including the University of California and had a guaranteed spot in an Ivy League school so my years spent in HS were what I suppose could be called a success. Everyone else I knew that stopped their formal education went on to have happy, productive lives for the most part. A couple that did not complete HS also lived happy, productive lives. At least one friend that barely graduated - he accomplished the   mimimumrequirements to graduate - earned a PHD. Clearly ol' Pete is the exception to the rule.That said, I think a HS education or the equivalent GED is a necessity to survive these days. Add that to a valid vocational degree from a legitimate accredited vocational institute offers the framework for a productive life.

Now college is a horse of a different color altogether.. When I was in school a liberal arts degree was something to be proud of. These days liberal arts students and their degrees are vilified on a daily basis by the right wings here in this  country. Some of that disdain is brought about by the arrogance of young, enthusiastic students - exactly the same thing I went through. Our society is so polarized it seems there is no patience for anyone with an opinion different than our own. While my uber-conservative John Birch Society card-carrying namesake uncle Chuck and I
(he's the tall one) would spend hours arguing about the world and everything in it he never disrespected me - just my ideas. He nearly always ended with a comment that essentially said that businesses only look at a degree as meaning the person was willing to make a commitment to learn something properly. I now realize that with a few notable exceptions college degrees on the surface are simply another step in the direction of life.

 Generally speaking, the better educated one is the better chances for success  one will encounter.Exceptions to that rule are few and far between, though it seems almost to be the opposite in the technology field where great innovation comes from those most often held back by the restrictions of formal education. Think Woznial, Jobs, Gates and the like. But look at the folks that made those ideas work - they were more likely than not formally educated.

So - when those lazy, hazy days of summer are near, and

remember to go back in the fall and finish what you started!

See ya next week, same bat time, same bat channel.


  1. My friend, Now that some more interesting information has been shared by you, I can attest to one thing without any hesitation. You are among the most educated blokes that I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life.

  2. I believe one should constantly be in learning mode… amen.
    blessings ~ maxi

  3. Tough to read this all the way through. I worked with Lynn and Chuck for a number of years in So. California for a quirky kind of company. Lynn one of the all-time-funny-gentle-wise women I've ever known. Good to walk through Chuck's memories and of course a little sad too.