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Trade school or college — What’s the best choice for NJ? (Opinion)

If you went to high school in New Jersey within the last 30 years you probably faced the same pressure that kids are facing today regarding what's next.

High schools are geared toward producing college kids, pure and simple. There is a cultural stigma that seems to be placed on kids who do not want to attend college.

We even have massive government programs to address the "crisis" of not being able to afford college. We now have politicians spending taxpayer dollars to pay for illegal immigrants to attend college for free. And a White House focused on paying off a certain amount of student debt. This is a wrongheaded and misguided policy.

We need to change direction and recognize that young people need options and opportunities.

Why should every kid go to college? Why should taxpayers subsidize the elite academics who are charging families hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education that may have zero positive impact on their future careers? Billions of dollars to these institutions and billions in debt to working families.

We heard stories all morning long about kids graduating from high school, going to a trade school, joining a trade union, and getting to six figures in their 20s.

Perhaps it's time to stop rating high school success based on the percentage of kids who go to college. How about the percentage of kids who buy a house within five years of graduating? Or just a rating of those who are employed after high school? Certainly, a more accurate depiction of real-world success.

It's time for taxpayers to stop subsidizing "Big College" and start investing our resources to help our local economy grow and elevate people to the next level of success. That starts by changing how we rate our high schools.

Let's change the conversation altogether and offer kids better choices.

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