{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Asked why she doesn’t support free college for “all”, Klobacher said we should be meshing our education system with economy - we’re going to have a shortage of plumbers and home health workers.", "post_id": "5e302f0db46c1d0023fdabf0", "reply_count": 13, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting" }

Asked why she doesn’t support free college for “all”, Klobacher said we should be meshing our education system with economy - we’re going to have a shortage of plumbers and home health workers.

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Absolutely. When these people argue that not everyone should be going to college notice that they're never talking about *their* kids. The people who "shouldn't go" to college should be able to self-select into that group, not be forced into it due to lack of economic opportunity. And I can think of a lot worse things than my plumber having a well-rounded education and my home health care worker being there because it's her passion rather than due to lack of educational opportunity.

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Exactly! Nothing wrong with those professions, but it would certainly be nice if the people choosing those paths had access to quality education - thanks to higher standards, emphasis on STEM and higher engagement/less burnout from those teaching (if we could raise their salaries). That’s the America I dream of!

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There’s plenty of research that supports a position that college for all is unnecessary - look up the research on degree inflation and alternative pathways. Most jobs don’t really require a 4 yr degree (even if the employer asks for it). Better to provide increased options for post HS training and employment pathways (ex apprenticeships, certifications) that are economically more viable and have a long history of being effective. Improving STEM competency will happen by educating and inspiring youngsters earlier and continually so that they persist into high demand careers, some of which may require college, many will not.

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My stepdad runs an HVAC company. He makes a ton of money, but the average guy working for an HVAC non-union isn’t making that much- not when you consider that most cities have an average home price of 250k, 350k, even 700k+. I mean, I guess you can pay a mortgage that size on 60k, but even that isn’t norm for millions of people AND certainly not for home health workers, who are paid between $10-16 if they’re lucky. It’s taking some people years to even to clear that, because of the diminished union presence in this country. Again, nothing wrong with it, if people are being paid a fair wage and they want to do that work - but what’s wrong with offering a quality education as well? People can always choose not to take advantage. I think the idea is to give people the option and access in the first place, whether it’s a community college with a trade program/Associates or a four-year engineering program.

I totally hear you! It’s extremely sad that children have to take on 100-400k in debt for education. I was born in a ‘2nd world’ country where education is mostly free (if you have bad grades, you typically have to do a private college where you pay a small reasonable fee). I have friends from places around the world where education is free despite their country economy being average. It is shocking to me anytime someone argues against free education of its own population, it would be a huge benefit to society. It’s appalling that the richest country in earth can’t figure out how to afford free education.

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I think a counterpoint to Amy is: why not both? Strengthening technician/apprenticeship programs would be amazing for those who feel like they need to go to college to make a decent living. I am all for increasing access to education whatever it may be. I have family friend that’s an electrician and another that’s a plumber and they make almost six figures because they are good at their jobs and have high demand.

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AC1, I agree with you. There is no way we should have people who want higher education, but are forced to go into loans that will burden them for years. But I also think, the idea of merit-based acceptance for free education will perpetuate inequality, if we don’t put equal resources toward early childhood and primary education for all. It sounds radical to some, but we are one the few developed countries not to level the playing field in this way. I’m willing to pay more taxes to see this change.

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No mention of how we’re going to have a continued shortage of math, science and tech professionals. Or how our kids consistently rate at the bottom of the list for those proficiencies, compared to other nations. So weird that plumbing and home health is her top argument. I think I considered her, until now.

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I support Klobuchar and believe she made these comments as someone in the Midwest where students in high school are feeling pressured that college is the only way for them when in reality there are great jobs without college. People ask “where are you going for college” instead of “what are you doing after graduation”. I agree we need more people STEM, but I don’t think free college is the way to do that.

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The question of college is a regional/cultural thing, which is a community concern. I come from a place where everyone asks what high school you went to, even if you’re sixty. It’s a not-so subtle way of determining class and race (if you’re ambiguous). That’s a matter of mentality, nothing more. Nobody is forced to attend college, just because it’s free. That’s a reality today. I know plenty of people who met state requirements for free rides at one of the public universities due to merit and/or need, but chose a private institution instead. I don’t see that changing, as there will always be places which appeal more to someone. Therefore, I don’t think free public higher education will change shift that dynamic for the negative. Instead, it might inspire both public and private institutions to restore the quality of higher education- to maintain or grow enrollment in the face of this new ‘competitive’ factor. We all know that they’ve been abusing TAs and students aren’t getting the support or challenges they pay for. I get what you’re saying about her coming from a Midwest point of view, but that’s alienating to the rest of the country. And even to someone like me, born and raised in the heart of this country. Maybe that’s her persona/messaging for now, due to Iowa and her pandering to the unions (whom I love), but it’s concerning that STEM isn’t top of mind. That’s all I’m saying. She totally lost me.

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