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On his Facebook page, former Dirty Jobs host and prominent blue-collar trades proponent Mike Rowe was asked to respond to Howard Dean’s comment that Scott Walker’s lack of a college degree makes him”unknowledgeable” and that we should require presidential candidates to have a bachelor’s.
Rowe’s response is well worth a read. It’s hard to quote it without ruining the great story he tells about how he landed his first job in television, but here’s a bit toward the end that circles back to Walker and the election:
Look at how we hire help – it’s not so different than how we elect leaders. We search for work ethic on resumes. We look for intelligence in test scores. We search for character in references. And of course, we look at a four-year diploma as though it might actually tell us something about common-sense and leadership.
Obviously, we need a bit more from our elected officials than the instincts of a home shopping host, but the business of determining what those “qualifications” are is completely up to us. We get to decide what matters most. We get to decide if a college degree or military service is somehow determinative. We get to decide if Howard Dean is correct.
…I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.
Photo Credit: Flickr user Tom Roche.Published in