NPR: Lack Of Education Leads To Lost Dreams And Low Income For Many Jehovah's Witnesses

by silentbuddha 4 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • silentbuddha
  • darkspilver
  • neverendingjourney

    I was a good Witness boy and shunned college in favor of a 6-month trade school. I responded to an ad in the paper for a welding school. I was supposed to graduate with the skills to make an above-average wage.

    The cost was something like $10,000 in 20-years-ago money. I borrowed most of it using federally backed student loans.

    In reality, I didn't learn half of the skills I needed. When the six months were up, I got a pat on the back, a cheap diploma and none of the skills I needed. I'd been conned. I couldn't get a job with what I'd learned. But what mattered, I guess, is that I didn't go to college.

    I naively told this story repeatedly to Witnesses and people usually got very uncomfortable when I did. It went against the grain of what "Mother" was teaching. With time, I realized that this was a common experience, but one most people didn't openly talk about. The fact is, most of these trade schools are there to make money for the owners who take advantage of the federal student loan system to make money off the gullible.

    The welding school went out of business about 5 years after I attended. I later went to college and graduated from a real university. The money I'd borrowed to go to the welding school got added to the mix of loans I took out for going to college. It all got consolidated into one big pot that I finally paid off last year. The loans from that school followed me for 20 years. Since they were federally backed loans, I would have never been able to outrun them.

    But the Society didn't care. The men in the ivory tower thought pushing people into trade schools made a lot of sense and weren't going to be bothered investigating the ramifications of that message.

  • Magnum

    neverendingjourney, Interesting. I actually considered one of those welding schools in the last year or two, and I know what you mean about the "$10,000 in 20-years-ago money." It's a lot more than $10,000 now. Anyway, I read reviews and found exactly what you stated.

    "But the Society didn't care. The men in the ivory tower thought pushing people into trade schools made a lot of sense and weren't going to be bothered investigating the ramifications of that message."

    And they still don't care; they rob lives. Even if some had acquired some kind of decent trade, they might have regretted it later in life. I did "trade" work for a good while and it gets hard when you get older - especially when you see your peers retiring from very good jobs and you have no retirement prospects and are doing manual, dirty work.

  • neverendingjourney


    Welding is not unlike painting. You either have a skill for it or you don't. Some people who don't have a natural talent can learn techniques to help them become adequate and some people will never be able to draw anything more elaborate than stick figures.

    There was a student there (ex-con) who had an incredible talent for welding. Within 3 or 4 months he was welding every alloy they put in front of him on every kind of surface imaginable. I was just so-so at it. There was another guy there who was a janitor during the day and was going to the school 4 hours a day, every day, after work. He could never get to the point where he could string together a bead on the easiest flat surface. The teacher bullied him and made it seem like it was his own fault. The poor guy appeared to have an IQ just north of mentally retarded and I don't mean that in a mean way.

    A lot of young JWs from my generation got taken in by IT schools that promised to prepare you for professional IT certifications yet were unable to deliver the goods. There was usually weasel language there where they didn't guarantee results. There's a whole industry out there of schools that receive accreditations required to participate in the student loan program although the results just aren't there.

    I remember reading that the Obama administration had begun efforts to crack down on these institutions, requiring that they meet certain post-graduation employment standards in order to continue being eligible for the student loan program. There was a huge backlash and lobbying effort against it. I'm not sure where those efforts ended up.

    With respect to the trades, that's what I'm seeing now with JWs from my parents' generation. Men who never thought they'd grow old still working in manual labor. These jobs typically don't offer health insurance, much less a 401(k) or a pension. My parents subsist on social security alone. It's sad.

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