Perception is critical
I believe that cooler heads on the left and right are frustrated that this debate devolves into the exclusive question: “How should we pay for four-year college?”
An obvious but less discussed issue is the lack of acceptable variety in occupations and training. Kids are described as college-bound, or… we have no description.
When faced with moments of confusion on this matter, Americans appear to prefer to look backward in our economy, instead of looking overseas. The German job market is a great model, and their attitude may be the key to a shift in perception.
Occupations are a big part of culture. Until we change our cultural binary around college-educated vs. non-college0-educated, we’ll fall deeper into this trap of adverse outcomes for the people we were never helping in the first place.