Should Everybody Go To College?

Should everybody go to college? A new report questions some basic assumptions about the best path for American kids.

Students walk through the UMass Amherst campus. (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

Students walk through the UMass Amherst campus. (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

Libya’s ablaze. The Arab world’s in revolt. Wisconsin’s in turmoil. Unemployment’s still sky-high. The world, the future, looks so up for grabs.

Meanwhile, a new, young generation of Americans is trying to figure out what to do with their lives — where to aim their careers. The big strong message to high school students has been “go to college.”

But is that really the answer? Should everybody go? A new report says no. It says we need to develop much stronger, prouder paths in vocational education.

This hour On Point: Questioning “college for all” calling for something new.

– Tom Ashbrook


Robert Schwartz, leader of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Pathways to Prosperity Project, which has released a new report on American education strategy.  He’s also academic dean and professor of practice of educational policy and administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Matthew Crawford, author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.” He’s a research fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Paul Harrington, labor economist and director of Drexel University’s new Center for Labor Markets and Policy.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »