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Critically Speaking

Sep 22, 2021

Should everyone go to college? Well, for years, this was considered an important goal in life - a college education. The idea being that with a college degree, a better paying job would result. There are so many college majors from art to business to engineering to language arts, among others. How does one know, besides what they happen to be interested in, if the degree they get is actually going to yield the expected employment benefits? In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Richard Phelps discuss what a college degree signals to employers, inefficiencies in the current US elementary and secondary school systems, the struggle that today’s school counselors have with traditional career guidance, as well as looking at how college systems work in the United States and around the world. 



 Key Takeaways:

  • On average, college grads have higher lifetime earnings than non college grads, but there is overlap. Certified technicians in robotics or computer numerical controlled machining probably have higher lifetime earnings on average then college grads who majored in poetry or fabric art.
  • Shorter programs can provide a career credential to students who would otherwise drop out with nothing to show for their time served
  • The best career tech programs are found where career tech courses are offered in dedicated regional vocational schools. This can vary from state to state are more easily done in states, such as in the Northeast, where there is a denser population of students. 


"Supporters of the one size fits all US system, often label the European and East Asian systems as elitist...And they'll say that our system is a more democratic Second Chance system. That contrast may have been valid 67 years ago, but I don't think it is anymore." —  Dr. Richard Phelps


Connect with Dr. Richard Phelps: 

Twitter: @RichardPPhelps

Website: &

Research Gate: Richard P Phelps

SSRN Scholarly Papers: Richard P. Phelps

Academia: Richard P Phelps

LinkedIn: Richard P Phelps

LinkedIn Learning: Richard P Phelps


Connect with Therese:


Twitter: @CritiSpeak




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