Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So, We're All Hobos!

I keep reading articles lately (especially from the Chronicle of Education, such as: "Many More Students Are Defaulting Than Official Tallies Show") on for-profit universities and community colleges, and how they are preying on low income people who will, it is argued, likely default on loans. Certain percentages are mentioned including: minorities, people living in shelters, first generation immigrants and so on. Now I have my own issues with for-profit institutions, although I work for one (mostly because I am more of a socialist), but what these articles forget to discuss is the fact that projected defaults will be majorly determined by lack of job creation! We are training people for jobs that DO NOT EXIST! We are funneling these folks into re-training and education while we all sit out the recession, but no real effort has been made at job creation.

Where are these students going to go once they have finished their education? What are they to do; re-train again? It was even suggested that I re-train because of the lack of full-time teaching positions and the active effort to do away with tenure.

The problem is job creation. With the government’s lack of understanding of the big picture (this is obvious when we consider that unemployment benefits will not be renewed and so even more Americans will lose their homes, livelihood and hope), we are heading into a deep spiral into Dante’s armpit more than ever before. Working the full-time RV life, I have seen firsthand how this will affect many who are already living out of cars and campers, working one odd job after another and camping where they can. Most people I have met are living in RVs because after years and years of working, they lost everything because of the market. At least by living in their RV, individuals can have a roof over their heads. But the work offered to those in this life style (those who do not have their own businesses) is substandard in regards to pay, overworking hours, working conditions (often but not always), lack of true benefits and the like: working full-time, and overtime, and pulling in only $800 a month per single worker – who can live and eat off that? We are retraining for what?

We need to figure something out as a global community, as well as a national one. What we have is not work and funneling people into education and retraining for markets that DO NOT EXIST is not the answer. As much as I am critical of for-profit universities – the problem of loan default is not simply their fault – look at the bigger picture folks – one that includes the lack of job creation, opportunity, and hope (wasn’t that the bloody idea? Hope?) R

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