Does Schooling Lead to Happiness?
The saludatorian at Bunche Middle School (where I taught) said that it's "important to do all your work, so you can keep your grades up, get into a good college, and get a good career. It's important to get a good career because then you can be happy."
I thought it was a good summary of the big lie our society buys into. The public school system, and society in general, preaches the idea that every kid should go to college, and that failure to do so translates to overall failure in life.
A blue collar job doesn't equal failure or unhappiness, nor do other alternatives to the officially endorsed professions. Higher education provides exposure to new ideas and immersion in intellectual exploration, and we should defend this essential part of the public sphere. That's far different from insisting that everyone choose the academic path.