P. Cipolloso: Addressing the issues

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Forty percent of college-educated millennials are working in jobs not requiring a college degree, according to a survey by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization educating students about the importance of fiscal responsibility. The survey also determined that 42 percent of students pursued degrees in soft social sciences that do not have great value in a tough job market.

Charlie Kirk, TPUSA founder, concluded, “We are giving away money we do not have to have students study things that don’t matter to find jobs that don’t exist.”

Anecdotal evidence indicates that employers are unable to fill many skilled jobs. Visas to import skilled foreign labor are in very high demand.

With federal student loan liability exceeding $1 trillion (Forbes Magazine, 2013), it is time to look hard at refocusing the mission of the publicly-supported education system. Economists have great concern that student loan defaults could seriously endanger the nation’s economy.

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Therefore, should guaranteed students loans be phased out, thus lowering college costs and capping taxpayer liability? Should the University of Maine system offer only programs that have a reasonable chance for employment? Should the number of UMaine campuses be downsized, and allow different schools to jointly use facilities while promoting online instruction? Should the Department of Education and public school districts equally emphasize and increase technical programs, leading to graduates with needed job skills? Should work force needs be the prime focus of reforms?

Will federal and state government officials have the fortitude to address those issues? Probably not.

Peter Cipolloso, Oxford

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