Headlines Tell All-What’s a Job Got to Do With It?

” Get Rich U” in the April 20 New Yorker; “Questioning College” – a letter in response to New Yorker piece by VP, Student Affairs of John Tyler Community College; “Vocation of Exploration? Pondering the Purpose of College, ” NYT, 6-5-12; ” Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships,” NYT, 6-6-12; “The Human Disaster of Unemployment,” NYT, 6-13-12; and finally, “A Generation Hobbled by College Debt,” NYT, 6-5-12 [this article resulted in a major embarrassment for the Time when it was pointed out that their statement that “ninety-four per cent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree borrow to pay for higher education” was not true—it’s actually “only” 66%].

What are these stories telling us? What’s the relevance for us international educators?  Simply that the transformation that has taken place in our economy since 2008 has led to a questioning of one of the singular assumptions of American life: get an education–get ahead–get a job–be successful.  None of these assumptions can easily be made now…nor are they as true, perhaps, as they once were.

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