I’m printing this out and handing a copy to all the young people at work who tell me they’ve thinking about going back to school.
How long did it take you to come up with the word ‘optionality’, though? You’re not wrong, and it’s a well written piece, but it’s very specific. Clearly you are trying to avoid a political debate, but at the risk of dragging it into that arena, I’d argue that there is only a small group that claims that additional schooling expands your opportunities, and what they really mean is that additional schooling provides more opportunities of the type they’d like you to take. Namely opportunities at large corporations and government bureaucracies, where they benefit from you having closed off many alternative paths through earning a degree. The group also probably includes school administrators, because like everything else in this country, the original purpose of school (to educate) has been subsumed by the capitalist imperative to accumulate capital.
Other than that (and admittedly as a high school graduate, the voices of university recruiters, captains of industry, and their mass media mouthpieces are probably the loudest in your ears), I’m not sure who would be making the claim that a primary purpose of school is to expand the pupil’s opportunities.