Either some people whose blogs I read must be reading my mind, or there's something unsettling folks here in the SFBA. (Maybe it has something to do with the poor performance of the tech-laden NASDAQ lately.) Lynne Jolitz recently posted an article on the Silicon Valley middle class dilemma that touches on some things I've written about recently as well. I find it most interesting that she notes the risks people out here over 40 have getting a job that pays as well as previous jobs (if they're lucky enough to get a job). There are exceptions, of course, but she's a fairly influential and connected figure in BSD Unix computing circles; most likely many others are thinking what she is thinking.
So this is one reason why I don't fault anyone who decides to do something else besides science or engineering (especially software engineering). Even if it isn't always, or mostly true, that people over 40 are in danger of being forced out of the profession, the perception is enough to make people think twice about entering the profession in the first place.
I also found it interesting that her seventh-grade daughter is taking classes at Ohlone College now. Yet another example of an informed parent who knows what kind of education her child needs and where to get it if it's not offered through the standard channels.