President Obama recently introduced a proposal to make two years of community college free nationwide. This is a bold effort that might not have been necessary twenty years ago, but today it is sorely needed.
While free community college has its plusses, it seems to me that what's needed are different KINDS of life-training programs. Chief among them should be those that emphasize back-to-the-earth organic farming practices and hands-on applications. Other programs might include how to use existing materials to build homes or shelters, and teach all sorts of repair trades--from auto mechanics to electrical wiring--to prepare youth from both genders.
Whether the metric used is the pending collapse of much of nature and formerly predictable seasons and the harvests they gave rise to, or that of the U.S. dollar--a currency turned into a massive fraud due to greed and malfeasance in high places, both the natural world and the manmade world of economics are in stages of collapse.
Teaching tomorrow's adults how to repair bodies, vehicles, homes, and schools is vital as is teaching people how to grow food and perhaps work with livestock.
Degrees will mean very little if the former manufacturing base is shipped to Asia, the U.S budget allots little to maintaining domestic infrastructure, and climate chaos disrupts millions of peoples' lives.
A different paradigm is beginning to take shape and the old measures and educational goals may not fit, or fall into synch with it.
Forward thinking is needed now. The undeveloped skillsets of the young do need cultivation; the question is, for what future (collective) life model are they being cultivated?
If careers are selected "for the money" and money ceases to flow where it formerly did, what then of investing in such previously respectable careers? THAT type of question has to be faced and answered.
Have an entrance exam (or baccalaureate like in Europe). Make it free for the best and brightest. Most civilized countries do. Also saves money by not having to teach first year students what they should have learned in high school.