New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told “so-so” high school students to skip college on his weekly radio show Friday. The soda-banning, salt-busting, cigarette-stomping mayor said kids who don’t perform at the top of their class are better off at trade school than going after an undergraduate degree.
“The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren’t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class,” he said.
“Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College - being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal.”
The mayor’s reasoning is that workers saddled with student loan debt face an even steeper uphill battle when they finish school. Plumbers, he said, make a good living without having to pay off student loans.
“You don’t spend ... four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income,” he explained.
The mayor said plumbers don’t have to worry about being outsourced or replaced with computers. “It’s hard to farm that out ... and it’s hard to automate that,” he said.
He cited a “number” of studies that allegedly showed plumbers begin their careers with less debt and higher wages than kids out of college.
College financial planning expert Mark Kantrowitz told the Daily News that the mayor’s logic is not far off base. While he said college is a good investment “not everyone has to go to get a college degree to get a good job.”
As of April, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 7.5 percent.
He added “The only schools that cost $40,000 or $50,000 like the mayor said are elite schools.”
Bloomberg is famous for a number of “progressive” public health measures in the New York City, including expanding the smoking ban in every commercial establishment and even city parks. He banned trans-fat in city restaurants and made calorie counts on foods at chain stores be posted. He also advocates low-salt diets.
According to the Project of Student Debt, the average college student is $26,600 in debt.
Sources: NY Daily News, Daily Mail http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/education/mayor-bloomberg-skip-college-and-become-plumber
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses Kenyon grads
Bloomberg told the graduates that their capacity to learn is the greatest asset they have. (Kenyon College)
Gambier, Ohio — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg emphasized three characteristics that young adults need to succeed in life — courage, curiosity, and hard work. He made his remarks in a commencement address Saturday at Kenyon College, during which he referenced the shootings in Chardon 15 months ago.
Bloomberg told the 410 graduates on the Knox County campus to “Have courage to act on your hopes. Don’t be paralyzed by your fears. Have the courage to think for yourself and to believe in your idea.
“That kind of courage is at the heart of human invention and progress — and the lack of it lies at the heart of our political problems today,” he said.
“Last year, about 125 miles northeast of this campus, a 17-year-old student opened fire in his high school cafeteria, killing three people and seriously wounding others,” Bloomberg said in a quick reference to when T.J. Lane shot students at Chardon High School.
The three-term mayor then ran off 13 other places in the country where mass shootings occurred after that, punctuating the list with Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six teachers were killed in a shooting last December.
Finally, Bloomberg said, President Obama and some congressional leaders decided something had to be done.
The mayor was outspoken in his support of their plan that would have required background checks before gun purchases. He said in the speech Saturday that the proposal was backed by 90 percent of Americans and 80 percent of the gun owners. Yet the measure failed in Congress.
The reason for the defeat, Bloomberg said, was lack of courage.
“Many of them feared that voting for a common sense policy would lead to someone challenging them in a party primary or hurt their chances to win their party’s nomination to higher office,” he said.
“I’m saying: Take risks — and take charge. Don’t let others decide your future for you. And don’t wait for opportunity to knock.
“A former Kenyon student — the comic genius Jonathan Winters, who died last month — once said: ‘If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it’.”
Bloomberg said the current generation of young adults is starting to reshape society in fundamental ways. For instance, he said, the voices of young people played a crucial role in passing a law in New York that legalized same-sex marriage. And, Bloomberg said, he anticipates young adults in Ohio will eventually help abolish a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.
Bloomberg told the graduates that their capacity to learn is the greatest asset they have.
“Never give it up and never sell it short,“ he said. “Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. The most powerful word in the English language is ‘Why’.”
He said the world is full of people who have stopped learning, and whose favorite word is “No.”
“Don’t listen to them, don’t be deterred by them, and don’t become one of them. Not if you want to fulfill your potential, and not if you want to change the world for the better,” he said.
“The future of the country is in your hands,“ Bloomberg said. “We are counting on you.“
Bloomberg, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School, apparently did his homework. His address was sprinkled with many inside references that reverberated with the students, including a joke about Gambier’s notorious shortage of parking.
He listed a host of things he had wanted to do before commencement, but “I spent the whole morning looking for parking,” he said.
New York City’s 108th mayor received an honorary doctor of laws degree at the ceremony.
“Your early success as an investment banker led to still greater success as a purveyor of that most valuable quantity, expert information, to the financial industry,” Kenyon Provost Nayef H. Samhat told him.
Six others received honorary degrees, including a doctor of humane letters degree for Gary Knell, president and chief executive of National Public Radio.
Kenyon College President S. Georgia Nugent also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for her scholarship on classical poetry and tragedy, and for her service to higher education in general and to Kenyon College in particular. She is the 18th president of the school that was founded in 1824.
Three years ago, Forbes Magazine listed Kenyon one of the 13 most beautiful college campuses in the world.
It is nestled among rolling hills dotted with prosperous farms and other forms of agri-business, the economic engine that drives Knox County.
The parking lots on Saturday were filled with cars from all over the United States, a testament to the college’s status as a destination school. Mark Ellis, a Kenyon spokesman, said only 14 percent of the 1,600-member student body are from Ohio. Others are from across the country and 44 other nations, he said.