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U.S. Education Overhaul

I propose a simple, time tested model to 1.) lower the cost of education and 2.) empower students with useful knowledge. Please give any insights you may have.

The following is the process of gaining a marketable education:

student desires - education - learning - marketable skills - employer desires

In the U.S. this process breaks down at each step. Specifically, the main incentive for students to get an education is to have a financially stable future, however most students don't study, learn, or practice what they want to do until they get into the work place. Therefore they're useless until trained by the employer.

So why do we do it? Today's U.S. education system is the product of our industrial age, but market demands have changed. Education is just slow to catch up.

THE SOLUTION: My proposed method is to take students out of high school and inject them directly into the field they want to be in. This will cut out the 4+ year waste of secondary education, save students from debt, and provide them with connections, experience, and skills they will actually be able to use.

Employers have two incentives to do this. 1.) a young student is more malleable and the employer can raise up this student asset however he wants. 2.) it makes economic sense for the employer; Average college tuition is ~$40,000 / year. Times four years, that gives a student roughly $160,000 that he was planning on spending on his undergrad. Plus four years of time. Instead of paying a school to entertain a student, a student could pay a fraction of that money and time to a mentor, while providing benefit to the mentor simultaneously.

Again, the student here gains connections, experience, and skills.

Thoughts?

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    Dec 2 2012: Instead of taking them out of high school, I would try and get back to the original concept of vocational education. There are some school districts, such as Nashville, which have implemented "learning academies." They have brought companies into the education process and they allow students to move around the school system to partake in those that cater to their interests. I don't believe we should eliminate secondary education, but we should modernize the old concept of "vocational education," now called "career readiness." I don't believe that college is a "waste," as you say; rather, it is not affordable to many families and steps should be taken to ensure that every family can afford some type of college education should they choose to purse it.

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