While it seems impossible, except when I take a half dozen pills each night and look in the mirror, fifty years ago this month, I was completing my junior year of high school and launching into the catalog of choices following commencement.
While fifty years would seem to bring very different decisions, families today confront the same challenging questions: "what am I going to do?" and "how will I pay for it?"
My parents ran an appliance dealership, and I had been trained by Whirlpool to work in the business. My brother and I learned valuable lessons about economics: if we didn't "make" Friday, the weekend was tough.
Despite challenges our parents wanted us to go to college…the "Great American Dream".
If my brother, a surgeon for many years, and I had changed our minds, we could always return to the skills that we were taught by our Dad. His working principles included: don't lean on the merchandise, keep moving, fix before replacing, and don't try to make it all in one place at one time.
Congressman Eric Cantor recently published a piece in U.S. News and World Report about the House passage of legislation that would generate more data about higher education. With the increasing cost of college, significant numbers of graduates not working in their fields of study, and half of the students failing to graduate within six years, parents and students need more information in making good choices; choices that include an analysis of their "return on investment".
Congressman Cantor led the way in developing the Virginia "college savings" program; he now leads the creation of federal policy of equal importance. Beware! The "Great American Dream" of fifty years ago may have become the great American nightmare!