Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bankrupt Educational Strategic Thinking

Some smart guys sat down and did something amazing with data collection.  They basically added up what it costs to get a degree via some university systems, and how this relates over a twenty year period to an average.

There are eleven university systems in America....where after four years...you've got a degree.  And after twenty years.....your net situation is actually greater than $30,000 on the loss column, compared to the efforts of other folks, with other colleges.

An example? If you attend Fayetteville State of NC....after twenty years, you would lost $95,700 compared to some of your buddies who attended other colleges.

The general scenario?  Gus talks Dad into paying for the first year at Fayetteville State, and borrows the rest necessary....getting himself a degree of some type.  For whatever reason....Gus does OK, and gets himself a job in the region.  Gus works hard to pay back what he borrowed.  His friend Jimmy?  Jimmy went onto a different college in the state....borrowed some money....paid it back....and Jimmy after twenty years.....is in the plus column, owns a house, drives a Buick, goes to Aruba every other year, and his wife wears $2,000 earrings as she shops at Piggly Wiggly.

The University of Montevallo of Alabama (Bama's only liberal arts college....meaning nothing related to engineer or science or such)....sits down in central Bama, in Shelby County.  Being a liberal arts college means that you really have a limited future once you graduate.  For 2,000 students in the system.....it's a tough future.  This college also made it on the loser list.

After twenty years, compared to folks who attend other colleges....you basically have lost $60,200.  That's enough to buy a house in the local area, two new F-150 pick-ups fully loaded, or take the whole family off to Hawaii for a month-long vacation at a five-star resort, doing first-class travel.

What's this mean?  You took four years....a fair amount of money....and bought yourself a 2nd-rate degree, and will not measure up at the same level to some other folks.  When I suggest a fair amount of money....I'm not talking $15,000 or even $40,000.  In this case.....you were stupid enough to take Dad's $80,000 and twenty years later.....you are in a marginal situation with a limited future.  No capital gain in life....so to speak.

But wait....this only gets better.  The statistical guys did one more survey.....about the degrees involved.  If you went to Murray State and got an arts degree.....you are in the hole to about minus $197,000 compared to other folks with art degrees from other colleges.

An educational degree from Bowling Green State State University?  After twenty years.....you got on the loser situation with a minus of $152,000.  Your associates that went to better or finer schools in Georgia?  Way better off than you.

So, for a brief moment....consider this.  Karl decides to skip college....does two years with some community college program learning air conditioning repair and installation.  Today, Karl, by avoiding attending Bowling Green State and avoiding a degree in education.....Karl is already $152,000 ahead of his dimwit cousin who went to State for four years.

Some of the better colleges with a twenty-year return?  Harvard made the list.....with a $821,000 positive gained back (NO LOSS).

When you come to the end of this discussion....the weight of the degree mattered.  If you got into business, computer science, engineering, medical or anything related to science itself.....you got something worth a good bit in life.  Arts degrees and educational degrees?  Well....it's best not to bring up the topic.

It Was a Cold Morning, on a Thin Pine Branch

Well, this is what we know.  Down in Bama....in Arab (in the northern part of the state), there was this guy....Micheal Howard Long.

Micheal is a nibble guy of sorts, and I'm guessing that he's kept himself in pretty good physical condition, and he's probably taken some medications and drugs.  Illegal stuff?  Well, that has yet to be determined. (note: photo by Arab Police Dept)

Cops got a call over the weekend....early morning....someone reporting a guy up in a tree in their yard.  Cops come, and note this naked guy....up on a limb.  They "encourage" him to come down.  He won't come down.  They ask nicely, to please come down.  Nope....just can't do that.

Bama folks are usually patient.  A guy like this?  You'd just pull up a folding chair, open up a beer or just start munching on some saltine crackers, or chow down on a burger.  It might take an hour or so, but usually....guys have an urge to come down.  That was the old fashioned way (1970s) of handling a situation like this.

In this episode?  Cops of the modern era don't have patience.  The cops called up the fire department and asked them to come out.  The guys inspected the situation....making a determination to just start cutting branches below him, until they came to this remaining branch.

There's a bit of talk then between Micheal and the cop at this point.  Micheal came to some senses, and agreed to dismount the tree.  Cops hauled him away, after covering his nudity with a blanket.

Charges?  Initially, two charges.  Public Lewdness and disorderly conduct.  The disorderly conduct got tossed out....I'm guessing because they never did a blood test on him and no way to make such an option stick.  The public lewdness?  Staying there.  What it might get you in Bama?  Well....a good lawyer would just say you had a drug problem....he signs you up for treatment, and the judge cuts the jail time down to seven days or less.  If you didn't play along.....you'd likely get a month in county jail.

Naturally, you'd think about this.  Bama in the evening hours of March.....gets down into the high-30's usually.  So it's pretty chilly at night.  This guy hanging out in some tree at 5AM?  For maybe three or four hours?  Nude?  Yeah, he had to be on some awful strong drugs.

The thing about Bama, which my brother would tend to say....is that each and every morning....brings some new and interesting episode.  Chicken houses catch on fire....bulls take to chasing you in your own field.....the dog bumps the pick-up gearshift lever and takes off without you....neighbors call you up at 8PM to talk two hours over septic tank replacement ideas.....the neighbor's wife runs off while dumping her husband to New York City after watching a Seinfeld episode....or your local minister shoots his wife with the intention of marrying his male lover in Russia.  Stuff happens.

In this case, someone hears someone up in his pine tree, looks up, and there's some sickly thin guy all naked and squatting on some limb.  You call up the cops and they suggest that you must be all doped up.  Finally, they come out, and readily agree....you got a naked guy in your tree.

In Bama, you just can't make this stuff up.  Sadly.

College Union Status

It was probably the biggest news of the day, and maybe of the year.....a lawsuit brought on by a college football player was decided....and yes, members of his team can organize and unionize.  This was brought up in Illinois.

The Big Ten came immediately out....as did the NCAA....expressing some disappointment and bitter feelings.  It opens the door to a number of potential changes.  A team that is unionized....will be able to stand and make certain demands.

I'd expect the medical package during a player's four-year period to be strongly discussed, and some package to exist after the player leaves the school.  Cost?  Over a ten-year period.....they might add up to another twenty million dollars for eighty-five average players on a yearly team.  Who will pay for this?  Well.....you could increase ticket prices or deduct it from the TV rights package....but for some schools....that was the only way that they could pay for nifty stadiums or high-priced coaches.

Strikes?  Well....yeah.  You might be standing there and suddenly in late summer...as the season was to start....suddenly four teams from one league would launch a strike.  Games would be cancelled and TV networks miffed over the opening suddenly appearing on the schedule.  NCAA fans would angry over arranged air tickets and hotel reservations.

My humble guess is that over the next five years.....a dozen schools across the nation will make the decision to dump football from their agenda.  It's too expensive and takes up too much time to deal with union complaints.  By 2024, I'm betting on twenty university teams being gone.

It's a big business now with some NCAA teams.  Count up the travel costs, the support staff, the uniforms, the fitness center at each university, the trainers, and the scholarships.....it's an enormous package.  Now?  You'd best add a full-time lawyer and union negotiation specialist to the team, and figure your budget requirements just went up ten-percent overnight.