Mike Rowe Blames Failing Public Schools for Giving Kids 'Crazy' Ideas about College


In 2007, I graduated from high school, and I also completed school with my certification in Film and TV Production. My last two years as a junior and senior, I attended a vocational-technical institute.

Now when I look back, I could’ve used the skills I learned straight out of high school. My vocational course taught me all that I needed to know, and attending a four-year college was just a step up from that.

I already had connections through an internship, and yet, I figured I needed a post-secondary education. Obviously, certain careers in law or healthcare require a college degree, but there are good jobs that don’t.

As long as you have the passion, skills, and experience to do the job, why not avoid college altogether? It may just save you the time and money years to come.

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For many years, TV host Mike Rowe has shared this same view and more. The former host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” has advocated for more vocational training and less academic learning.

He recently blamed the failing public school system for giving kids crazy ideas about college. His theory is that anyone can secure a profitable career without a four-year degree.

The only problem is, schools aren’t doing their part to teach students the necessary skills to gain interest in these opportunities.

Rowe said there are six-figure jobs that can be acquired just from vocational education.

“That’s what happened when vocational education got pulled out of high school,” he says. “We made it crystal clear that all of the jobs that votech [vocational-technical school] presaged were not worth having.”

According to Rowe, students now perceive “college-to-workforce” as the only option.Yet, this path doesn’t always “recognize the real opportunities in the workplace and the real needs of society.”

Plus, a college education can be pricey for students, especially when unemployment is high in their field of study.

“We’re lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to educate them for jobs that don’t exist anymore,” he said,”and that’s crazy.”

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Rowe has stood behind less favorable jobs in welding and plumbing. His foundation,, has awarded nearly 1,000 scholarship awards in these trades.

“People don’t want these jobs because they are under a lot of mistaken assumptions about what they pay and whether or not they’re good or bad jobs and all this other nonsense,” he said. “And meanwhile we’ve got 1½ trillion dollars in student loans.”

As Rowe strives to alter beliefs on what a “good job” really is, he has also turned to congressional lawmakers to make the change. Forgetting college and learning a trade may just make “America great again.”

Ultimately, how do you feel about Rowe’s views? Do you believe college is necessary in order to land a good career? Share your own views on this topic by sharing this story!

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