Mishpacha Magazine has always met the needs of its readership with high quality articles that are thought-provoking and highly informative. This is why Mishpacha’s Parnassah Poll article in its expanded Sukkos edition was particularly disappointing. This is not just my opinion; virtually everyone who I came across that read the article expressed a similar sentiment.
The sub-text of the piece, the design of the questions, and the carefully edited selection of what data to leave out subtly suggests that attending a college program just isn’t worth it.
What follows is a point by point analysis of the poll and article:
On page 245 the article has a pie chart of the level of education of the poll data respondents. On the very same page is also a bar graph of how much income is made by individuals and by total household income.
Yet nowhere is the information correlated. Let me repeat that. The data as to how much college-educated people are making versus the income of those who were not educated in college was not reported.
COLLEGE GRADS MAKE MORE MONEY: WHY WASN’T THIS REPORTED?
According to the February 2014 US News and World Report, the income gap between those people with a college degree and those with only a high school degree is a whopping $17,500 per year. $17,500 per year is significant, by any standard. Indeed, the gap is probably higher in the Jewish world than in the rest of the United States.
Mishpacha clearly had that question in their survey, and yet they apparent chose not to report the results of that question. This is very disturbing and demands both a response and a release of that data.
Also, the US News and World Report article on the topic shows that this is not only true now, but has always been true. The data in the article goes back to 1965 where the gap was $7500. Indeed, it is true all across the globe. Why is this information being repressed?
Instead, the bottom bar graph showed a comparison between personal income versus household income. Huh? Of course, families make more money than individuals. There are more workers when dealing with a family. What in heaven’s name could this bar graph possibly show?
COLLEGE DEGREES HELP IN RELATED FIELDS AS WELL
The question that appears on pages 246-247 also calls into question the design of the survey. It asks: Are you currently employed in the occupation for which you trained post-high school? The results are 54.2% said “yes” and 45.8% said “no.” The sub-text of this question is: “Look, college is not worth it because nearly 46% don’t go into that field anyway.” This ignores the more relevant question of: “Would you have gotten this position were it not for your college degree?”
There is no question that college degrees help in fields related to one’s original training, and even in a completely non-related field employers are more likely to hire college educated candidates than not. The stand-alone question is therefore quite misleading.
NO DEGREE = GREATER POVERTY
The statement that appears with the question on page 249 states: No Degree, No Problem! It is followed by a statement that Frum owners have no problem hiring candidates whose education ended at high school (at best). No problem? What about the problem of poverty? Or the problem of being recipients of various government programs? Shouldn’t we be “givers” instead of “takers?” Certainly this is the understanding of the Michtav m’Eliyahu of the pasuk, “Soneh matanos yichye.”
NOW WONDERFUL PROGRAMS EXIST FOR BNEI TORAH
Now, more than ever, there has been a proliferation of wonderful college programs for Bnei Torah. Touro College, for one, has been at the forefront of giving Parnassah opportunities to Bnei Torah in an environment that is free of the problems that plagued frum students in the early part of the twentieth century. FDU also has a program that fits with a Yeshiva schedule. Yeshiva University graduate schools also offer remarkable opportunities even for those who do not attend their own programs.
Mishpacha Magazine should rise to their well-deserved reputation of the past. It should release the actual results of the income gap that they collected in their own survey. It is a disservice to Klal Yisroel to suppress this information.
A Concerned Individual
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN