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July 7, 2022
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I got a comment from a reader arguing that one reason young people fall prey to socialism (aside from being brainwashed by their teachers) is that they feel the capitalist system is failing them. They were told they had to get college degrees if they wanted good jobs, and encouraged to take out huge student loans. Now, they’re saddled with crippling debt, and those degrees aren’t opening the doors to jobs that pay enough to ever get out of the hole.

I admit that’s a serious problem, but electing people who will expand the very policies that raise taxes, kill jobs and wages, and make college ridiculously expensive and degrees useless (is anyone other than George Soros hiring people who studied how to overthrow the US government?) is not going to help.

And promises to pay off everyone’s student loans are just a bait-and-switch. Your student loan debt might disappear, but your tax bill will double or triple. Will that solve your problem? And talk about redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich! People who never attended college will pay higher taxes to pay off the college loan debts of lawyers and others at higher income levels.

We need action on a number of fronts for young people to be able to access the American dream. First, we do need to restructure student loans, so that rates are lowered and terms easier to handle. Government policies need to be aimed at helping grow the economy and encourage private sector expansion, so that jobs are plentiful and wages keep rising. And future generations need to be taught to be more judicious in choosing majors, or that maybe college isn’t the only alternative. There are many good-paying jobs in skilled trades that employers desperately need to fill (just ask Mike Rowe.) There’s dignity in all work, and it’s a heck of a lot better to be a busy, well-paid plumber or mechanic than an angry, unemployed poli-sci or gender studies major (they obviously have way too much free time on their hands these days.)

Besides, as many of our recent political leaders have proven beyond a doubt, having an Ivy League degree is no guarantee of superior intelligence, ability or even basic competence. It might just mean that your parents bought the school a gym. Academic credentials are fine, but they don’t mean as much to me as native intelligence, a strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn.

Before I entered politics, I worked with a fellow named Gary Underwood to build a community TV station on a shoestring budget. Gary had no formal education in television production, but he figured out things, like how to make work lights from Sam’s Club do as studio lights, and how to run lights and a camera off a car battery so we could do remotes. If he’d had formal training, he might’ve told me it was impossible on our budget and given up. But since he wasn’t a "trained expert," he found ways to do the impossible. Later on, he ran media operations for the Arkansas Governor’s Office for me.

There are people with more education than others, and who certainly think they’re smarter than the rest of us. But you’d be hard pressed to find people with more “smarts” than someone like Gary. Have you ever heard it said that someone was “educated beyond their intelligence”? We’ve got plenty of people like that. Washington is crawling with so many Harvard and Yale alums that if they could all get a tuition refund, they could probably pay off the national debt. And frankly, many of them should demand a refund.

As both a Governor and a business owner, I’ve hired a lot of employees over the years. Some would figure out how to get something done, while others would spend more time explaining why it couldn’t be done than it would’ve taken to do it! Give me a smart person with a can-do attitude any day over one with an expensive education who lacks the resourcefulness to solve problems with whatever is available.

Remember the story of the eminent scientist who proved through incontrovertible laws of physics, gravity and aerodynamics that it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly? The bumblebee ignored all his arguments about how flying was impossible and flew anyway. The moral: If you want to succeed, be like a bumblebee and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t fly.

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Comments 1-25 of 43

  • Beverly Paulson

    07/08/2022 04:42 PM

    Please, please tell us that you will run again for President.
    May we please pray to that end?

  • Janice Saccomanno

    07/08/2022 03:18 PM

    Thankyou for the truthful but painful reality of our present state of affairs. You are a trusted resource and I greatly value your newsletter.

  • Steve Hildreth

    07/08/2022 01:16 PM

    This article reminds me of a time when I was working for a plumber on new residential plumbing. I know the '70's was a long time ago but, it was as true then as it is now.
    The man I met on a job site had a PhD in social studies. He was hanging sheetrock. Seems he could make more money in construction than in his college degree. And, he was paying off his student loans.
    I too, have spent my career in a blue collar job and I made good enough money to support my family comfortably and pay for private school education for our children.
    And, in retirement, we are building a big custom home on acreage and living quite well on our retirement income.

  • Ted Schnackertz

    07/08/2022 12:12 PM

    A can do attitude is not something you learn in college... it appears the only thing you learn there is why something can't be done... STEM subjects are just too hard! Curiosity is the "mother" of a can do or I can figure it out attitude and it begins at a young age from a combination of your family and the friends you hung out with... my Dad was a welder during WWII making aircraft manifolds and used to take me into the facility he worked at to see the vast array of machinery... the friends I had were car people and we always tinkering or modifying engines and drag racing... in my job, I'm at industry trade shows and have always believed taking kids on a class trip to a show like this would peak their curiosity wondering how did they do that?

  • Tamy Lee Burns

    07/08/2022 12:04 PM

    I want you to know that I read your newsletter every day. It's the only way I can handle the insane news that comes at us at break neck speed. I won't go into the idiocy that surrounds us or the fall of decency in our society but I want you to know that I always find encouragement and hope in your newsletter. In this article particularly I have found courage to go forward with my new project. I to am not a 'school trained' person for this next venture, but I do have a can do attitude and life experience to offer. Thank you Mr. Huckabee. May our Lord continue to bless you as you press on. You are in my prayers.

  • Ronald Bangert

    07/08/2022 12:03 PM

    Mike,

    Many good points. Now retired from teaching high school Industrial Technology (27.5 years), with a 11 year stint in Commercial Printing, Education enjoyed many years in training adolescents for life. Especially in what became Career & Technical Education. Programs reflected state, local, city & rural industries at the direction of local school boards. The Core Curriculum initiative, though good in theory, set standards that not every child could achieve, resulting in a long season of C&TE programs collapsing as budgets were aligned to fund Core/Honors & SpEd programs. Consequently the forgotten middle emerged and the nation saw 1.3 million adolescents drop from school rolls each year. (Where do they go? A very serious question to answer).

    After working five years in the Grant's Office (we had 9,000 HS students w/two campuses) I moved back into the classroom to teach in a three year Academy program based on a career focus (I taught digital graphics & design, architecture) with the same students all three years. We had about 300 students, with the same 8-10 teachers, team teaching as it were, with projects and products across all disciplines. We became the extended family students needed for stability, continuity, and security. I was referred to as the 'Father' of the Academy by the students. Yet all the faculty on our Team were endeared to the students. Fond memories & purpose.

    Communities had changed so much and Education reeled from the 80's forward. By the time of my retirement the district began to get their heads above the confusion created by Core w/a superintendent with a Voc Ed background in place. Now the C&TE programs are a driving force for life/skill preparation and a de-emphasis to college prep only.

    Studies show that 21% of all careers require a minimum of 4 years post secondary education to achieve entry level skills (medical, business/legal, education). The rest 6 month - 3 years. Much to the chagrin of academia. Personally I'm all for kids working for the first two years after HS graduation, nix college. Discover what you like to do. Or find a good apprentice program or community College track. And don't waste your parents hard earned money when you have no career goals!

    On the 21%, about 1/4 go into education. Maybe why they think college is the only way to success.

  • stephen russell

    07/08/2022 11:47 AM

    Getting students OFF socialisim:

    o Probe school stance on issue
    o Focus on Voc/Tech Ed subjects
    o More STEAM, STEM courses
    o ID students real skills
    o Tailor courses to meet student & soceity needs
    o Downsize degrees save Eng, Business, Medical & Sciences
    o Reuse idle schools for Voc./Tech Ed
    o Teach Basics: Civics, ethics, US History, Basic Sciences
    o Expand hybrid schooling
    o More Hands On Vocational training
    o Update courses
    o shutter Yale, Harvard, Rice, Brown Univs

  • Michelle Clark

    07/08/2022 11:29 AM

    Re: stopping students from falling prey
    As a baby boomer in 'flyover country' we had limited access to careers outside of colleges. Jr. College was a blessing in many ways, but even we were being indoctrinated very subtly in socialism. From the dumbing down, to not supporting fine arts, add curriculum decisions made by executives that had never taught a class of children.
    We were coached into send our kids off to college and fracture the family. We didn't see it coming, we trusted BLINDLY, which is another way of saying we were negligent in our children's lives. The swamp is bigger, deeper, nastier and older than I thought!

  • Jeanette Hart

    07/08/2022 10:56 AM

    Governor Huckabee,
    I am an Arkansan now living in Georgia, a retired teacher. I see two huge problems in education today. First, children are shuffled through the lower grades without learning to read or do simple arithmetic. They are socially promoted and graduated with no real education. Colleges are expected to pick up the slack. We need to forget the great injustice of Age Group Segregation and keep a child with his Acquired Skills peers. Students should be able to pass a general-knowledge exam before being promoted or graduated.
    Second, teens are sold the “College Experience.” The Georgia Lottery generously sent thousands of unprepared freshmen to state schools, where they enjoyed drunken parties, increased freedom to do dumb things, and no class attendance policy. With money running low, the Hope Scholarship has tightened requirements. Unprepared students should not be admitted even to trade schools, and higher education should have value.

  • Ron Ciccone

    07/08/2022 10:52 AM

    Quick story about formal education. My son has always been curious about how things work. He learned math, electronics, and programming all on his own. With a letter for the governor recognizing his math skills, first place in several engineering design and robotics contests, and a scholarship offer from BU, he declined college and went to work. As his mentor, I encouraged him to follow his dreams. His mother disagreed and our marriage ended. My son turned 33 yesterday. He is a very successful engineer earning a substantial living. Clearly, the college degree does not prove intelligence or ability to solve problems.
    Thanks for reading.

  • Carol Papso

    07/08/2022 09:24 AM

    Why didn’t you endorse Kari Lake in Arizona?
    Why did you endorse the super RINO that the other super RINO, Ducey, endorsed?

  • Susan Meyer

    07/08/2021 08:56 PM

    Gov. Huckabee, I was an educator for 38 years, retiring when a 'woke', 'progressive' administrator decided that caring about each of your students and their present and future successes was not being a good teacher. You had to follow the systems in place and your students must pass statewide standardized tests. But I digress...for years I told students to be sure that their post-high school education was in an area that jobs were also available. Go to a college you could afford, etc. Just recently I was talking to a high school student about what I had paid someone to trim my evergreen trees, and he commented that he could make a good living doing that work. I told him, sure you could, and if nothing else, make some money, save some money, and THEN go to school. Students who can work with their hands can become master craftsmen and create things that become family heirlooms.

  • Helen Collette (Coco) Ellenberger

    07/08/2021 07:02 PM

    Excellent solutions to 'Helping Student not fall prey to Socialism. Great article!

  • Cyndi Ross

    07/07/2021 08:54 PM

    Absolutely spot on!! My husband and I have 10th grade educations ( not proud of that for sure.. but it is what it is)… and it doesn’t mean we are stupid. We have owned companies, managed other’s companies with over 40 employees, did billing, accounting, managed personnel, customers, etc…all by on the job training. My husband can fix ANYTHING, cars, home electrical issues, plumbing, appliances, built computers, you name it he can figure it out. I often wonder if he would have had a higher education would it have made him smarter.. no, just differently educated, and may have opened other doors for employment… but definitely not smarter. An intelligent go getter is far more employable than some “better than thou”schmuck with some meaningless degree in some obscure subject matter, with no chance of making a decent living at.

  • Michael T Youngblood

    07/07/2021 07:53 PM

    We as Americans MUST get the Federal Government out of Our Classrooms, Return control back to the States as soon as possible.

  • Tracy Quinter

    07/07/2021 01:07 PM

    What an EXCUSE!! They knew going in to college and signing those loan forms that they'd be in debt. It's THEIR choice and they need to stop blaming others. Get the government OUT of it and tuition prices will go down.

  • Charlene Dixon

    01/25/2021 05:55 PM

    Universities need to be held accountable for over selling the benefits of a degree. Counselors, much like military recruiters, make promises that are nearly impossible to come to fruition. Young people are gullible. They need to be told the truth and compare the risks of high student debt compared to the possibilities of not finding a high paying job with nothing but a diploma to offer.

  • Janice Higdon

    01/25/2021 09:25 AM

    Ok, reducing student debt is an important topic, but that (long term correction) doesn’t get to the heart of the manipulation that we are seeing on campuses. The focus has gone from teaching our youth critical theory to manipulating their input messaging to spur them to hate and disavow anyone that espouses any other idea. Part of the problem IS the cumulative effect of dumbing down and omitting logic training, but they seemed to have mined social media responses by conservatives to develop and deploy counter takedown/shutdown/ignore your parents to the point of canceling family relationships and input.
    Kids can’t tell when they are being manipulated. Actually, I can honestly say that many adults can’t either! Parents need help deprogramming their kids and those around them.
    With the apparent rapid demise of freedom of speech and rise of AI censoring capabilities, this task is going to be increasingly difficult. Who can help?

  • Norma J Kilbride

    01/25/2021 06:01 AM

    Loved reading this and it is spot on. Thanks. I have a son who just didn't like school and it seems like he can do anything without instruction or books. Why? A gift and a need.

  • Jacquelyn Holmes

    01/24/2021 11:09 PM

    Since the article had in it that the younger generations seems to be open to socialism, I thought I would add something else we should consider. Many of these young adults were affected by the 'great recession'. I'm sure they have heard on more than one occasion that they will be paying back 'our' debt, as the national debt keeps getting bigger and bigger. So why would they not listen to the socialist ideas! Maybe we need a different way of explaining about debt rather than saying, "Hey it's all going to be on you what we are spending today."

  • Debbie Weathersbee

    01/24/2021 08:54 PM

    thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  • Ronald J Bangert, Jr.

    09/09/2020 04:56 PM

    Governor,

    As a high school I.T. instructor (1974-2012), this article hits many hot button issues. In the 1960's were under the Practical Arts Dept, before that, The Commercial Arts Dept., and by 2012 Career & Technical Education. Still, all taught basic job skills and training curriculum, with the goal of entering the workforce upon graduation. (Back when a high school diploma had VALUE.

    Academia along with C.O.R.E Learning Standards have all but destroyed education by establishing a false narrative on Careers. Under Carl Perkins Funding, I was employed in the district Grants Office where I had to oversee program development and implementation of approved grant initiatives. For 4.5 years we were able to deliver to the classroom a variety of technology opportunities to archaic approaches, bringing curriculum and teaching practices into current contextual and applied studies.

    Yet, the trend was to promote college at all costs, and overlook encouraging students into post-secondary training programs and apprenticeships. Though we had dovetailed some coursework into community college credit, not all students were interested in the classroom. When F.A.F.S.A. enrollment was in season, the announcements would blare over the loud speaker, "Come and get FREE MONEY". It was so misleading. I encouraged students to work for a year or go to the community college which was paid from their folks Tax Dollars, this way, after two years, with certificate in hand, they would be debt free! Gee! What a thought! DO you know I was reprimanded for that? By the Principal, who was really a good friend.

    The governing idea was that with a 52% graduation rate for a school of 5,000, they wanted to promote excellence in higher learning, hoping it wear off on some. A Blue Collar Community with a Median Head of House Salary of $28-32,000 (c.2010), I get it. Yet trade jobs in Cook County were anywhere between $35-52/hour! Academics had funnel vision. They would make a big deal of one senior getting accepted to Harvard, while 73% went to the community college! Where 2/3's would only make it one semester then drop out. Not to mention, what happens to the 49% who never finish? Where do they end up? Enough said.

    Your article is spot on, yet only is the tip of the iceberg!

  • Renee Kendrick

    09/09/2020 01:09 AM

    I took out student loans to attend college, both undergraduate and graduate fulltime, while holding down multiple part-time jobs. I obtained both bachelor's and master's degrees. I paid back all the interest and all the principal, with exception of about $330 - the final payment, to my surprise, that was forgiven by the education authority. I had to defer payments for several years, which added more interest to my debt. Finally, I found a job that allowed me to pay my student loans at a monthly amount greater than the amount due. It took me 18.5 long years to pay the debt but it was paid. Why? Because it was owed! So guess what? PAYING BACK STUDENT LOANS CAN BE DONE!!! What is wrong with the younger generations is that their parents handed them everything on a silver platter! Some of them never had to work! So now that they are adults, they want everything handed to them on a silver platter by the government. Guess what? The government handouts will be far less than mom's and dad's! So, younger generations, get off your lazy keisters and find jobs! They are available! More pay comes with experience, the gaining of knowledge, and the development of skills!

  • Mike Manoogian

    09/08/2020 07:21 AM

    Teachers often teach history by Zinn and the 1619 Project. One solution is school choice and to open more Charter and private schools that teach history based on facts, maybe from the 1776 project.

  • Nancy Jones

    09/07/2020 10:14 PM

    I would love to see our entire educational system be revamped to include some basic smarts, like the three r's and common sense. Our higher education providers have gone so far to the left to promote their own agenda, that they no longer teach our country's history and on what is was founded. It is sad that today's younger generations can't read cursive, let alone write it, and don't know how to research a topic so they can make better Decisions and choices. They just seem to believe what someone tells them. Very sad.