WATCH: Families should embrace traditional education, not brainwashing, congressman argues

Rep. Walberg serves on the House Education & Labor Committee.

He says that colleges and universities should compete to provide the best value at the lowest cost.

Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) tells Campus Reform that higher education has lost its way, and that the free market is our nation’s best hope to get it back on track.

Walberg says that “traditional” education is not necessarily the four-year bachelor’s programs that most Americans might thing of today. Historically, education has been far more practical. 

“Tradition,” he says, “goes back to the fact that we had apprenticeships we had people who mentored people in a trade, something that made a diff in their lives for the future and carried on.”

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Walberg’s family, like many American families, has benefitted from on-the-job training: Walberg’s great-grandfather was a stone mason who apprenticed in Sweden. His grandfather, he says, was a blacksmith who learned the trade from an experienced craftsman.

Today, Walberg sees potential in apprenticeships that take a decidedly different form: Partnerships between businesses and universities. 

He says, “We’re finding now and in my own experience with the local college in Michigan has developed…a relationship with Google that is having Google set in place the courses necessary for people to work in the IT field…It’s almost an apprenticeship program that’s being developed by the industry themselves.”

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In Walberg’s view, education at all levels would benefit from competition and choice. Government funding, he says, has set up adverse incentives.

“What we’re seen in higher education is the fact that when we give more money toward it…all that does is give these univs and colleges automatic dollars that come in. They don’t have to compete. They know that it’s there,” Walberg said.

Walberg also advocates for teaching students the truth about American history. “Don’t brainwash our kids to the negative,” he says. “We’ve come an awful long way, and we are a benefit to the rest of the world because we’ve learned from our mistakes, we’ve fixed a lot of them, and we’ll fix more in the future.”

 Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito