In the name of equity and opportunity Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, has eliminated college requirements for state job positions. It is being hailed as a workforce development initiative that will focus on skills above institutionalized learning. This move comes at a time when progressive college movements are being seen as a threat to American freedom, by some.
It is a bold decision from the republican leader who was re-elected by a large margin in 2018, but by declaring it in the name of progressive talking points it has the potential to appeal to both liberals and conservatives. Biden did announce this week that he will be canceling student loans for some one-hundred thousand college students. But after the pandemic, and with growing mistrust between the American people and schools at all levels, college enrollment is dwindling, and filling jobs has been an uphill battle.
University enrollment was down 7% as of January. Some sources wish to blame the pandemic. Others cite students’ ongoing inability to pay for expensive college tuition rates, but there are also the looming issues of cancel culture and colleges now teaching and promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT has become such a hot-button issue that there is a website designed to track where it is being taught and to what degree.
Whatever the reason, government officials are taking notice, and some are less focused on further taxing the people in favor of “free” college for everyone. Instead of pushing more schooling, leaders like Governor Hogan are taking a different route. His focus is now on skills and giving workers, who wish to work, the ability to do so without having to spend thousands of dollars on a degree that requires electives that have nothing to do with a student’s specific field of study.
It’s truly a new approach that is being branded in a way that appeals to everyone across the board. Instead of perpetuating exclusionary academic focus toward “credentialism,” which many Americans have recognized as harmful because so many people have been silenced for not being “experts” when expressing opinions and concerns regarding a wide range of political and societal issues, skill and work ethic are gaining more focus. The question of whether or not college is truly useful has been asked more and more throughout the years, but especially now that schools have begun removing reading and math requirements, and some colleges no longer utilize SAT or ACT scores when making admissions decisions, for the sake of “social justice,” “diversity,” and “equity.”
This new move will side-step all the higher education politics and give workers the ability to do what they wish to do: work. As college requirements, tuition, social justice rhetoric, and restrictive COVID policies continue to challenge students’ ability to focus on learning, and the economy has less to offer by way of financial stability, skipping college to enter the workforce and learn a trade by gaining hands-on experience is becoming more appealing. Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, is using that to his advantage. What success rates will look like is undetermined, but there is a lot of talk about this new method for hiring practices.