We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, August 28. 2009
The case against college
From Prelutsky's The Case Against Mortarboarding:
Most people agree that the meaning of a college degree has degraded over the years, and is certainly no longer an indication of scholarship or advanced learning. With the commoditization of higher ed, colleges across the country have become glorified high schools. It cannot be otherwise, because most people aren't scholars. Just think about it: Does a college degree today guarantee that a person knows anything about anything?
Of course not, and employers know this.
I agree with Mr. Prelutsky that more people need training in trades, whether in apprenticeships of trade schools, whether in computer programming and software development, or in farming, carpentry and gunsmithing. A serious high school education ought to be a good start for anyone's life-long learning - if they want it.
Posted by The Barrister in Education, Our Essays at 10:14 | Comments (14) | Trackback (1)
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Barrister ... I'm right in agreement with you here. If I had kids, which I don't [except for surrogate children] I would also refuse to pay for a class which is designated 'studies' -- like Gender Studies etc., because they are usually a laundry list of so-called abuses selected by the instructor to complain about. They're easy courses, because all the student has to do is listen to the complaints, copy them down, and parrot them back to the instructor on exams.
But young people do need instruction in essential trades, like plumbing and electrical work, woodworking. Other countries, like Germany, still show evidence of a healthy respect for trade schools and those who graduate from them. Our country does not. And we are the poorer for it.
By the way, Barrister. Another blogger who agrees with you is Betsy Newmark [Betsy's Page]. She is a splendidly dedicated high school teacher of Civics, who devotes many weekends to shepherding her students to debate contests with student teams from the surrounding high schools. I cannot think of a more valuable thing to do for young people than to teach them to think rigorously [and politely] about difficult subjects.
I wholeheartedly agree. Life skills should be at the top of any course of studies. And these days, personal finance should be required.
Nursing is NOT a trade.
We weighed the required books and materials for our
first semester of nursing school (2003), 77 pounds total.
Nurses do today what doctors did years past. The amount
of knowledge required, the incredible responsibility and the literal life or death decisions made, minute to minute, hour to hour, over a 12+ shift, is staggering.
If you want to keep the "trade" school comparison, think of a doctor as an architect and the nurse as the general contractor.
We are expected to know if the orders are correct, make sense and are safe. The RN is where the buck stops. We make the final decision to implement your care. Ask any nurse if he or she has ever countermanded a doctor's order, and saved the patient's life.
Most people have no idea what a nurse does, until they are in their care. And then find out why it is the single most trusted profession.
Well, I guess my four years getting an Electrical Engineering degree was a waste of time, huh?
Especially since I now make more a year (after expenses) than a Pediatrician I know who is older than me.
It seems like the Maggie's Farm staff needs to add some scientists and engineers to counter-balance the apparently crooked perception of "college". Engineering and science degrees are rigorous and difficult. One semester of Vector Calculus and Differential Equations will put the hair on your (intellectual) chest.
Maybe you should be more specific, and say, "A college degree in liberal arts is a waste of time."
Surgeons say, "I want $200k a year."
Engineers say, "I want $100k a year."
Liberal Arts majors say, "Do you want some fries with that?"
I paid for my son and daughter's college education on one condition - it was a course of study for a specific job. The boy is a mechanical engineer, the daughter a high school teacher.
Bubba and David ... Hold your horses, guys. I don't see where advocating more respect for practical trade school training denigrates your personal achievements in college. The point that Barrister and Prelutsky were making is that not all people are suited to the same kind of life skills training. And what we have in this country [I've watched it happen over the past 50 years] is an increasing disrespect for 'trade schools' and 'vocational schools' and what they can offer a young person who needs practical training. We're not all Electrical Engineer material. Some of us are 'shade tree mechanics.' And damn good ones.. Some of us are square pegs and proud of it -- and we can make a damn good living out of it.
P.S. I was a Liberal Arts Major at Columbia University. Made a pretty good living out of my writing and editing skills too. But I still took some night courses at the local vocational school, which were very valuable.
I suggest those of you who can't help yourselves from denigrating all forms of education get U.S. News & World Report's September issue. Read it cover to cover. Start with the cover and note it states "Diplomas Mean More Than Ever".
What is with you hosts at MF? Does it make you feel smarter to put down teachers, professors, and all forms of learning? You use 'Ivy League' as an adjective and preen and prink every chance you get that you all attended one of the Ivy Leagues. Is that it? Get over it. Just get over yourselves because in your smug pride is YOUR specialized educations and an obvious certainty that you just might not know something about everything.
Very wise...very wise!! Prelutsky's point on 'nothing with "studies" at the end is also VALID...
But Black Hispanic Lesbian Studies are still ok, right?
I've got a better idea as far as college goes. I say we still have college for anyone who wants to study law or political "science" or history or whatever. But we create some institution superior to "college" for people who want to study math, physics, chemistry, etc., where they can study real knowledge and not have their lectures interrupted on a beautiful day with classroom windows open to hear a bunch of sociology, polysci, and law students marching and chanting "Reagan, Begin, You Should Know We Support The PLO"...just a suggestion...
I disagree with one sweeping statement of the article. By the time the students in my two course senior chemical engineering design sequence reach the spring they will have used thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, reactor design, and engineering economics. Those topics sound like "advanced learning" to me.
Heck, all courses with a calculus pre-req sound like advanced learning to me.
Heck, math isn't the only requirement for advanced learning.
Howard Gardner initially formulated a list of seven intelligences. His listing was provisional. The first two have been typically valued in schools; the next three are usually associated with the arts; and the final two are what Howard Gardner called 'personal intelligences' (Gardner 1999: 41-43).
Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.
Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner's words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.
Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity as related.
Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.
In Frames of Mind Howard Gardner treated the personal intelligences 'as a piece'. Because of their close association in most cultures, they are often linked together. However, he still argues that it makes sense to think of two forms of personal intelligence. Gardner claimed that the seven intelligences rarely operate independently. They are used at the same time and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems.
I agree that education should impart skills that can be used in making a living but i think David's declaration that all liberal arts degrees are useless was extremely biased and quite untrue.
The two-and-a-half weeks of summer we've experienced came to an end yesterday, with cool temps and heavy rain that started early Saturday morning. At least today is supposed to be warm and sunny, meaning there's a possibility we might...
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