Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame is not a big fan of pushing everyone toward college and the student loan debt that comes with it.
On Facebook yesterday, he posted some harsh words on this topic in response to a December 13 Bernie Sanders tweet. His post went viral.
First, here is what Sanders tweeted:
Rowe was particularly incensed because he saw the tweet as “imply[ing] that a path to prison is the most likely alternative to a path to college.” His specific reaction: “Pardon my acronym, but…WTF!?”
He then expounded on what he considers the “cautionary tale” of the “college for all” mantra:
“Historically, universities have promoted themselves at the expense of many other forms of ‘alternative education.’ The implicit suggestion, reinforced daily by a generation of well-intended guidance counselors and misguided parents, is always the same – get yourself a four-year degree, or accept one of the many ‘vocational consolation prizes’ that result from all other forms of ‘lesser knowledge.’
It’s a cautionary tale as predictable as it is false. But now, as people are slowly starting to understand the obscenity of 1.3 trillion dollars in student loans, along with the abundance of opportunity for those with the proper training, it seems the proponents of ‘college for all’ need something even more frightening than the prospect of a career in the trades to frighten the next class into signing on the dotted line. According to Senator Sanders, that ‘something,’ is a path to jail.”
Rowe allows for the fact that Twitter’s character limit does not allow Sanders to provide a more nuanced position, and that Sanders may have been “misunderstood or taken out of context.” But, he said, “The damage is in the headline.”
As a final salvo he offers the statement below, in which he is careful to distinguish between “education” and “college”:
“The truth, in my opinion, is this: There is no alternative for an education, and no hope for a person who doesn’t want to learn something useful and apply it. But there are many, many alternatives to college. And none of them come with a prison sentence.”