Glenn at Instapundit has some thoughts posted about our changing society, and 'Dirty Jobs'. This video talk by Mike Rowe goes a long way towards describing the reality of it:
I teach in a career and technical school. I teach about a dirty job. I teach students who have looked at their choices and decided paying $50,000 for an education that allows them to flip burgers, badly, is not a good path to follow.
In fact, the enrollment at my school has gone up 50% in the last few years, and we now occupy every conceivable square foot with class space. There are no more 'faculty' rooms, and the school lobby has been subdivided into office space. We graduate almost 600 students a year, most ready to begin their careers at the tender age of 18... ready to work, ready to support themselves, and hopefully..... willing to do so.
My school (three campuses) serves an entire county, and sixteen sending schools, with career education. The $8,000 it costs to give a high school senior nine months of training with us is hands down the best value in education available. Our 'product', a technical education, stands shoulder to shoulder with post secondary education costing $40,000 per class seat per year. I know this, as I serve on an industry team that evaluates these schools for certification.
I won't sit here and write that we have no problems. Of course we do. Like many schools, we have our own battle between administration and faculty.... one of goals and perspective. We (teachers) demand the ability to teach our students, and administration demands we use the copiers less, or something like that. We fight for tools to teach with, and the people with ties fight to fill binders with sunlight and happiness. So be it... instructors regard it as part of the price we pay to do our job.
Our students come from a large cross section of society. City, rural, black, white, hispanic, male, female.... every shade and 'type' you can name. Smart, not so smart, and barely functional. We get them all..... and we give every single one a feast of opportunity.
Why are our walls bursting at the seams, as we pack ever more students into our technical school? I think.... it's because parents are still parents. They still want the same thing parents have wanted since time began. They want.... their kids to have a better life than they do. I think we have so many students because.... parents love their kids.
See.... a LOT of the parents made their own decisions as young ones, and went to college. They got liberal arts degrees, and MBA's, and became past masters at underwater basket weaving... at the college level. Now they look back and see what they really got; a huge life crushing loan debt and a mediocre job they hate (if they have a job at all).
Parents with those experiences are now guiding their children, and as a result my technical school is overflowing.
Take it for what you will......
Oh, and I'm not kidding about the copier thing. Admin recently took half our buildings copier capacity away from instructors. If anyone has a good laser jet printer they would like to donate to my program, I'll happily take it off your hands. Something that can handle 30K a month on a steady basis. I have a big class :-)