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Saturday, March 19. 2011
What are your parental academic requirements?
While I do not believe that a parent owes a kid a free college education, I think it can be a heck of a nice present for a kid who is eager for it, and can use it. Those without an avid hunger to learn things in a formal format need not apply.
Nothing is more costly, or more over-priced, than education today. At the same time, knowledge has never been more available and accessible - few people remember more about Plato from college than they can read as a refresher on Wiki. (I always believed in reading an encyclopedia entry on a topic before studying it, to get oriented.)
With some gracious grand-parental assistance, we have paid for private college 2 1/2 times thus far - one half to go. Prep-schools too, but that's another story. (Like the Obamas and Clintons and most Dems, we are not huge fans of government schools when it comes to our own kids. It's an investment - we expect them to take care of us in our old age when we are broke or broken-down - and will be happy to do the same for our parents if and when they want it or need it.)
Because most colleges and universities today have relatively few standards about what a college-educated person ought to know, I had to do it myself. Re-inventing the wheel, you might say, because Socrates and Aristotle might have made a comparable list.
Here are Bird Dog's Basic, Minimum Requirements for payment for his kids' "higher" educations, whether in school or outside of formal schooling (high school AP counts, as does a serious approach to a Teaching Company course):
I put "higher" in quotes because this doesn't sound very higher, does it? My requirements leave plenty of room for a major in Underwater Basket-weaving or Female Studies. (When I was in college, we did our studies of females mostly on weekends with beer, and usually flunked the quizzes.)
My kids have mostly kept to this. In my view, if you don't know this basic stuff, you are not fully schoolin'-eddicated and not fully and cushily prepared, as the cliche goes, "for a lifetime of self-education and informed citizenship." After all, this stuff is just foundational and all of it could be self-learned, but college makes it more likely to happen, and a good guide is always helpful.
When you think about it, a decent high school ought to be able to do most or all of it. After all, they take four years to do two full years' worth of hard work. Why else did they call it "high" school? (My theory is that they slow it all down to the pace of the stragglers and slackers.)
I also advise them that any random course with a great teacher who knows everything about everything is worth many courses with ordinary profs in subjects they think they are "interested in." How do you know whether you are "interested in" something until you dig into it? Everything is interesting, in my opinion.
Finally, I expect them to earn their spending money. Jobs during college. (My lad bussed tables at the B-school faculty dining room while being reporter, editor, then Editor in Chief of the newspaper and running a softball team. My middle pupette was a restaurant receptionist, then a part-time assistant at Merrill-Lynch - while playing Div. 1 Tennis and majoring in Econ and Math. I don't know how they did it all. I admire their energy and initiative. My little one would too, but there are no jobs in a tiny college out in the lovely woods and fields of central Ohio. She works hard in the summer, though.)
What do you require of your kids?
(Pic is an old one-room schoolhouse in Westport, CT. Those kids could learn more than our kids do, as witness Abe Lincoln, John Adams, Tom Jefferson, etc. Of course, exceptional individuals who were highly motivated.)
Posted by Bird Dog in Education, Our Essays, The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:04 | Comments (48) | Trackbacks (0)
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I agree that the 16 minimum requirements should be taught at least as introductory/prep classes in high school. I regret not taking a classic language (I only took Spanish) or becoming fluent in 1-2 additional languages. I have no regrets of not taking Physics or Calculus though. The part of my brain that requires understanding advanced science and math is a gaping blackhole.
However, high school Bible classes would be instantly shot down (maybe a Koran class would be a big hit) and American History is already some watered-down Social Studies course. I would love a massive reboot of American History curriculum without the political correctness/revisionist slant.
I had a bible-as-literature class in a N.E. US public high-school in the 80's. Also some bible as part of "world religion" core requirement at a secular university. In both cases the point was that the Bible was important in the development of our language and culture.
So did I! In 1980-81, in fact. It may even have been the same (very liberal) town just past Cambridge.
Catholic High school in the '50's took care of most of this.
Am. history, World history, 4 years Latin, 2 years French or German, Eng Lit, The Sciences, the Calc, some Western Civ, Logic, Comparative Religion (½ year), and a good asskicking if you didn't learn. The Nuns had every intention of getting everyone including the slackers (me) into college.
BD, this is why I enjoy this site. Makes me stretch.
I'm going to have to think about your list. Off the cuff, a second language should be started ASAP while the brain is atuned to such. Marianne, with her background in music, can probably address the bio-chemistry on this better than I can.
Some of those courses should be covered in high school (9 - 12), leaving the ones that are constantly evolving for recaps in college OR a certain maturity to better appreciate the innuendo. Basic econ and accounting are definitely high school courses. But, then again, I'm an advocate of life-long learning. As ypu pointed out, knowledge has never been so accessible. And cheap.
Work? Get rid of the miserable minimum wage laws and put the kids to work as soon as they can walk, but at an appropriate hourly. I had some 15-16 year olds come by the other day responding to my ad for fence painters. They wanted $15/hour because the gov't was paying them $13/hr to do nothing over at the local park (a program to get kids off the street after school hours). Gimme a break.
I'm spending the 3-day weekend with a text book rep specializing in AP and college-level books. This promises to be very interesting; i.e. the dumbing-down of America.
#1 Son is a sophomore at Berklee College of Music. Ear Training, Harmonics, Arrangement and a spot in the Eastern European Folk Ensemble are enough to earn my occasional financial support.
Also, at least one paying gig per week and a minimum 3.75 GPA is nice to see, followed, of course, by Pop being on the Guest List for the remainder of his born days...
I would add debate. You have to know how to organize your thoughts and support them. Communicating effectively is not a given.
Debate or public speaking, yes. It's essential to be able to get up in front of other people and be able to inform, educate, and/or entertain.
Learn to play a musical instrument well enough that someone besides your immediate family enjoys listening to you.
Learn to program a computer, and we're not talking "web design" here. Understand the basics about how a machine processes information.
Me cain't credence all three fella's attended yall's litl' school house, Bird Dog.
Goes to show what higher eddicated folks will profer.
That is a good list. Unfortunately for engineers, it would probably mean more time. I added the credits above [estimated 75 from that list, not counting foreign language], added the engineering courses+ math and science courses I took not in your list, and I would have needed up to 150 credits to graduate.
I do not see the necessity of a classical language. I am fluent to proficient in Spanish, and very few college grads in my age group are fluent to proficient in a second language any more.
The language could be done in high school.
A good list.
I notice that much of whate I demand from my kids depends on mood and recent experience. 5 years ago, liberal arts. Today, nothing but math, science and technology. Latin? No way. I'm more interested in software languages today.
Hopefully my attitude will improve and things swing back to the liberal arts. I've got a couple of years to go, the oldest is a junior in high school.
Bird Dog is almost entirely correct. (The almost in a moment.)
This was the required academic curriculum I experienced in high school and college. All of it has been of continual value.
Now, for the "almost." It didn't require a private school or expense. I gained it at the NYC public schools and college.
Another "almost": Above I used the term "academic curriculum." There were also tracks for commercial (mostly secretarial) and vocational degrees. Forcing all into a strict academic curriculum does not serve many, and disserves many whose curriculum is degraded to help those less inclined.
And, another "almost": The academic curriculum should include more "shop" classes and other practical courses, to better link the more academic to practical needs. (For example, in high school, I took a Business Law course, aside from making tie holders.)
There is much to commend in your list. But I'd scale it back a bit.
1. not every kid "gets" language. I certainly don't. English, sure - I can speak and write better than the average man. But other languages are a mystery to me. I can "read" some Spanish and French because I studied both. But I can't speak either, nor can I really READ them. I can read street signs and menus. Enough to get by.
2. Shakespeare is useful in small doses. He's confusing and out of date. I am always impressed to see something that updates his work effectively. "10 Things I Hate About You", for example. Sure, it's Shakespeare, but without the annoying Iambic Pentameter and put in context. Very approachable.
3. I think music is very important. My kids took it, and it definitely helps with Math. Only one is particularly good at Math, but the other is better because he played an instrument. Otherwise, he'd be hopeless. Music slows kids down, makes them think logically and forces them to use their minds AND their hands.
4. The Bible is far more important than Shakespeare. From an areligious standpoint, its value exceeds all other books. It is great story telling, a tremendous history, and has strong social value from an ethical and moral standpoint. One doesn't have to believe in God or the JudeoChristian ethic in order to understand and appreciate the value of the Bible. It has many uses on many levels.
5. Calculus, like Shakespeare, in small doses. It's more useful to spend time on Economics, the market and MORE IMPORTANTLY - PERSONAL FINANCE. Too many kids graduate today not knowing how to balance a checkbook, let alone knowing that risk and reward are typically inversely related. It's better to teach kids the value of compound interest and reinvested dividends than it is for them to learn the Pythagorean Theorem. Both clearly have uses. One is going to be used MUCH MUCH more.
My wife and I were discussing college yesterday. I pointed out to her that college was originally designed to be a place where the wealthy send their children to get an education. Back in the day, MOST degrees were "vanity degrees". Today, however, getting a vanity degree can be very costly. Graduating with $200k in debt and a degree in post War Irish Female Poets is not a particularly useful way to spend your money.
Back in 1880, that was fine - if you graduated, that counted for more than the degree you got.
To that end, colleges themselves need to reformat for the reality of what people view them - job preparation factories. Personally, I'd rather hire a kid who followed his/her interests and got a rare but difficult degree - it shows effort, thought and individuality. The 1 kid with an A in MBA studies is just 1 kid of 500,000.....whereas the kid with the post War Irish Female Poets is 1 of 1 or 2. That speaks volumes to ME - but not most people.
So we have to reformat the college experience to match modern needs.
I see some colleges that should be redesigned as "Career Schools" - spend 5 or 6 years studying and come out with a better preparation to be an architect, lawyer, doctor, Physicist, Chemist, Engineer or accountant.
Other colleges could shift and be "Interest Schools" - where the softer sciences could be taught.
Finally "Art Schools" - where fine and liberal arts are stressed. Obviously, costs would vary since the needs of each would be less technical and materialistic.
As it stands, poetry students today are paying a boatload of fees that are currently really paying for the material needs of Physics majors....and let's disabuse ourselves of the notion of "Student Athletes". Turn the NCAA into a Minor League for the professionals. Students can get their degrees when they realize they can't get to the next level....why continue the charade?
#1 - Language. My son nearly flunked out struggling with the language requirement before we figured out it was a genetic inability. He was trying to memorize all the words because the sound of them was an aural blur. And of course, he couldn't understand the teacher's talking.
#5 - Finance. The one thing I learned in college that I used the first day out, and almost every day since, was the "present value of money" - how interest works.
Statistics. Without a basic understanding of statistics, including sampling and testing, you have no way to know how much you're being lied to.
Amen, Diane...statistics is so very important to understanding the world. I think that once you learn stats, it becomes something you intrinsically understand for the rest of your life. Stats, physics and chemistry have done the most to shape my understanding of the physical world.
Bit short on math and science, calculus is pretty basic. The list looks like a good liberal arts list, not any sort of preparation for engineering, math, one of the sciences, or medicine. And where is composition?
Both my kids got engineering degrees. All those things on the list are good for people to learn, but my kids would never have gotten their engineering degree if all of that had been added to the course work.
Of course, much of that should have been handled in high school. But then you'd have to get rid of all the "Let's feel good about ourselves" courses. You'd also have to find teachers who could teach the above courses, which would be hard (especially Calculus).
Let me add one suggestion for one's Junior year in HS: at least one semester of formal Logic. It would help you pick out all the crap in advertising and political campaigning.
1) Hebrew is a Classical Language - may not overlap as much with English, but it'll help with Arabic...
2) To understand anything in Physics/Chem/Bio you need some serious math. The math-less classes are worthless.
To sift the "Unpleasant Truth" BS from real science takes statistics.
To budget or plan a business venture requires algebra and bookkeeping (including putting formulas in a spreadsheet program).
Your list is seriously deficient in these essential maths.
3) Programming or some kinda lift-the-hood computer/media course is becoming more and more essential - especially if the goal is instilling healthy skepticism. Otherwise computers and other gadgets come to resemble magic boxes.
Basic math taught without calculators. Most High school and college kids get blown away by long division and decimal numbers.
Geography, knowing world capitols and American states capitols.
Maybe a course in basic civility and good manners, not to mention common sense which is not so common.
My old (1965) chemical engineering degree required 147 credits, and it had maybe 3 credits of fat in it. Adding two languages, Shakespeare, Bible, biochem, Western civ, art history, music history, another econ, geology, and European history adds 36 credits or another two years.
I guess if you're majoring in something that doesn't already require three physical chems, organic chem, analytical chem, heat transfer, thermo, fluids, engineering econ, separations, a couple of design courses, and a few major labs you have time for that stuff.
The well-rounded man (now woman as well) has been the American ideal for a century. Ten years ago, and certainly twenty, I would have entirely agreed with your list. I am less certain now, believing that specialization is increasing in value. I would rather see a science student with many courses in some related sciences now (they don't divide them up into the neat categories we used to know anymore) than a broad spectrum. I loved the calculus, but if you're not going on in the sciences you won't use it much. Statistics would be far more valuable for 90% of the population. Foreign language, classical or modern, less important than it was, and if you're going to wait until high school and/or not teach conversation it's ornamental. That is a complete turnaround for me, learned from having sons from Romania who were fluent in their own language, passable in Hungarian, and having studied French and Latin as well. They took Spanish here. I can't see the multilingual benefit in their lives since they got here. Overrated.
I see the benefit of the broad sweep of Western Civ because you learn something from seeing development and change. But I am increasingly leaning toward learning a great deal about a few times and places than a little about all - it's more likely to be continued after formal schooling stops, for one thing. Ditto literature, philosophy, the arts - better to learn one thing in some depth. The broader sweeps of the subject will attach themselves to the specialty better than the other way round. (Alan Bloom recommended a focus on one author, to be mined for greater meaning throughout life.) Personal finance, basic economics, composition - all those things retain usefulness throughout the lifespan. As we had lots of Bible for religious reasons, I can't separate out the value for cultural ones.
And to go back over that one-room schoolhouse thing, forget the romantic myth about them. The readers here are a thoroughly unrepresentative sample of the population, so anecdotes about their great-grandfathers don't tell us anything about the quality of those schools. Which you would know if you'd remembered your statistics. Intelligent folk, especially autodidacts, thrive in many situations. Education in 19th C America was terrible, and this continued well into the 20thC.
Finally, while g-factor intelligence will continue to be important, adaptability will pass it as a survival skill in the 21st C.
Scrap the languages. I had tons of german, it added nothing to my life. Languages may be valuable as a option but they are an uncertain value add.
Shakespeare, Western Lit, and english lit all go together. In twelve years it ought to be possible to cover all the good stuff.
i would add modern western political and economic though, Adam Smith, Locke, JS Mills, Bastiat, even Hayek, Rand and Friedman. I would be happy to include Marx and company to get in their theoretical critiques. Basic Accounting is useless if you do not understand the difference between money and wealth, debt and credit, and that free markets are not a zero sum game.
It is so helpful to us that are venturing out into this parent-of-a-college-kid world to read/hear the been there/done that stories. I have a book called Choosing the Right College that discusses schools that have not strayed so far away from the traditionally educational classes, but it also lists strong classes and professors at each of the schools it covers.
I've got a polymath sort of kid, really. Really good at a lot of things, but loves to learn and is sick of high school, where much of learning has ended for him. Bad case of senioritis, but still doing well. Has no idea what he wants to "be" when he grows up. Loves history, literature, languages, logic, music but "gets" math and science and economics. I wish he would just branch out and read on his own, but he is also 17. He is looking at state schools where he can get a good scholarship and study a wide array of the classics. One of the schools he is interested in has a "classics" major, but the others don't. It is a concern that he will graduate with a useless degree, but heck, there are lots of jobless degrees out there right now, and he knows he will probably need to go to grad school anyway. He is the kind of kid that, I think, will make his own way.....probably start his own company or something. It is a strange new world. I definitely agree that adaptability will be a quality to be desired.
> 1. Calculus
> 2. A Shakespeare course
Part of 6.
> 3. The Bible
Part of 5., 6., 13., and 14.
> 4. Physics, Chem, and Bio. I would have liked to see some > Organic and Biochem in there too, so they
> could understand what's in the newspapers. These are > not "difficult," but require some
> simple discipline.
Would be 4 different topics at least in my curiculum.
> 5. Western Civ, Hammurabi thru Plato through Nietzsche
> 6. Western Lit, The Book of the Dead and Gilgamesh thru > Homer and Hesiod through Melville
> 7. Art history
> 8. Music history
Combine 5-8 into 1, cultural history
> 9. English Lit, minimum of 2 courses
> 10. Econ, macro and micro
> 11. Intro Geology
> 12. Intro Philosophy
> 13. American history (not from Zinn or some Lefty nut, but > the real deal)
> 14. European history
14a. World history.
> 15. One classical language - Greek or Latin, plus one
> modern language
And your own language too... Where's the English language instruction in your list?
Or are you content with kids using 1337 zp33k instead of English?
>16. Basic Business and Accounting (unfortunately, most of > my kids' schools are too elite to offer such mundane and > practical courses, but they need to learn this somewhere.)
Would be part of 10., as well as part of the math curiculum.
Statistics! You need to understand why most scientific literature is bunk and what they put in the newspaper is worse. And it can help you win at poker!
I suggest that the economics courses order be reversed.
Then watch the prof squirm as he tries to convince the class that macro is anything other than a Keynsian (sp?) fairy tale.
School was a great bore.
The trick is to get the kids to pick up something anyway.
Probably the course that's most unexpectedly come in very handy was Latin. It gets you English etymology, and the ability to diagram sentences.
rhhardin... Glad to see someone recommending Latin -- not because you plan to go backwards in time and want to order lunch before going to the Colosseum to see the Christians eaten by the lions, but because the language itself is the foundation of the Romance languages of the Western world. Having taken five years of Latin gave me some unexpected benefits [beside a reading knowledge of French]. When I did finally travel to other countries in the Western world, I could finally figure out some of the street signs and [roughly] what people were saying, in French, Spanish and Italian, and how to reply. And, in a strange way, Latin helped me think more clearly, showing me how to put my thoughts in order.
I would add to the list of valuable courses above, at least one course in Logic and Semantics, which teaches you how to debate and how to parse out what the politicians are trying to put over on you. I got fascinated with Semantics and took a couple of night courses in it when I was in my 30s. I had been reading, and was fascinated by Hayakawa's Language in Thought and Action [another vital book which teaches one how to think] Now we are at the point where almost no child knows how to debate, and thuggery has become the substitute for reasoned argumentation [yes, indeedy, I'm thinking of the mess in Wisconsin] Hayakawa and semantics have become more important than ever.
Did you know that, like Latin, English puts subjects of nonfinite verbs (verb forms without tense) in the objective case?
"I don't like him doing that."
"For him to deny it is absurd." ["For" is a subject marker with a to-infinitive]
Somehow that never came up in English grammar lessons.
The curriculum resembles closely the high school I attended in western MA in the 60's, with the exception of calculus. I loved the idea of all that stuff, but didn't do very well. However, it opened my eyes and ears, so that when I was funneled into kollege, I had a fundamental idea of what I should have learned. Still catching up today . . .
Never thought I'd lean this way, but this college-educated, law-school-educated son-of-two-teachers is looking at his own kids (kids - ha! - 22, 18, 16) and thinking how much better off - financially, security-wise, mental-health-wise - they'd all be if they skipped college and went to a high-quality vo-tech and learned a trade.
So many of the better-paying "professional" jobs (especially in the legal field) pay well not because of your technical expertise or your people skills, but because of your ability to absorb and handle high levels of stress. Once you've moved up from primarily handling the duties of a line attorney and start managing people or projects, you can quickly find that you're managing way more stuff than can comfortably be handled competently, and, in fact, your typical days turn into explorations of just how far over the "malpractice" line you can go before either flaming out from 24/7 worry, or crashing a huge case. (Think "the deadline was . . . when?")
When you're in charge of too much, and a slight mis-step or lapse of attention can hit your bottom line to the tune of millions, you start feeling the effects of the sort of stress and anxiety that makes your hands shake and causes you to yell at your kids a lot.
So I started rebuilding old trashed muscle cars as a stress-calming hobby, and found out that I could make just about the same money if I quit my profession and rebuilt and sold cars full time.
And, instead of gorking out with a stress-induced stroke sometime soon, I'd be relaxed and calm and happy, and I'd not be thinking about work at 2:00am in bed, or as I watched a kid's sporting event, or as I ate dinner, because the work of rebuilding cars involves few roll-the-dice pressure traps.
So, vocational school is looking better and better. They can read shakespeare at home.
I'd love to have been able to send my kids to a High School that offered half of that.
My eldest Son graduated with the Charter Class of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences, and I promise you he didn't have access to that much.
The local High School? Applied Basketweaving, mostly. They did have a good Journalism program, and my Daughter was the Editor of the School paper for two years.
Hammurabi? Cicero? Plato? (Or for that matter, Franklin and Hamilton. other than that they have their pictures on money?)
If they got that, I did it, the schools didn't.
They did manage to get a foreign language each, but Latin or Greek? Once again, their old Daddy shoved enough Latin at them to let them know it exists. (They know that "All Gaul is divided into three parts, if nothing else.) I never had the chance to take Greek even in my day.
If you find me a High School within range with that Curriculum, I'll pay to send my Grandsons to it.
...a decent high school ought to be able to do most or all of it......(My theory is that they slow it all down to the pace of the stragglers and slackers.)
I'll admit I'm a bit weird when it comes to this (and that my opinion is based on my own educational journey), but I don't honestly believe that a purely "classical" education as described is all that effective. It takes some intellectual horsepower to put all of that into context and be able to properly absorb the lessons being taught.
The way I look at it is basic lessons in readin', writin' and 'rithmetic are the most important. There is no real reason to go beyond those subjects. And frankly that should be enough education for the average person (unless they want to go on that is). I think back on my maternal - paternal grandparents and that was all they had and were quite successful business and tradesmen with just that basic education. You really don't need much more than that to be a plumber, carpenter, machinist, electrician, auto body repair, truck driver - what ever. Accounting (unless you are into cooking books and even then it's pretty simple) is nothing more than high order arithmetic.
Most people don't use half the education they have anyway - why clutter it up with crap they won't ever use?
Having said that, my kids were capable of handling a course similar to that described and they reveled in learning new and exciting concepts and ideas. And they did just fine with it.
It wasn't for me though.
what's interesting is how much your list impresses with the progress of specialization. I had most of what you mention...not quite all.
what seems important 30 years later is how unformed many of us are at 18-22 and how likely it is that, while one may be good at all of it, one will end up growing into either a science/math/engineering world or into something more akin to the humanities.
at the college level, it seems to me that you should encourage specialization to that extent; that is, focus either on one world or the other. Your list is rather full of both, especially if you were to insist on the next level of chem, which you only suggest.
the important point should be what the minimum is of the humanities for the science person or of the sciences for the humanities person. I suspect that the sum in each case ought to be somewhat less than what you suggest.
as someone who turned out a humanities person but whose education emphasized the sciences I can second the recommendation of statistics over calculus. And i would regard organic chem and biochem (both of which i took in spades) to be completely superfluous.
im more sympathetic to your languages/Shakespeare/etc recs in the interests of general knowledge. I would question intro geology and, perhaps, business. Accounting sounds more useful.
All that matters in public high schools is what gets spit out onto the answer booklets of State tests. I'll assume that I don't need to type that twice here at the farm but I feel an urge to.
No other measure of accomplishment is given credit, thus, many of the fine suggestions above are of no value to finance boards and by extension, school boards. So, terrific discussion but too fucking bad; education that is scripted to the individual needs and incredible talents that young people have will likely never return.
The State of Connecticut is marching toward (by 2017) a mandatory 4 years of English 4 Math and 4 Science. Are these subjects important? Sure but the fact remains that not every student is prepared for or in need of that( We still value family farms, right?). In my school, 90% of the kids already take 3 or 4 years of these subjects. The 10% who don't are the ones as described in some of the above posts. Their interests and talents are in arts, music and applied pursuits. Now, instead of Technology Education classes, those students are to be remanded to be placed into yet another year of formal science instruction. Instruction for which the school must staff. When the boards cut programs, they may legally cull from non academic courses only. There goes Technology Education out the window.
....and here's your high achieving graduate. Smart on the bus, dumb on the sidewalk.
Specialization is great for insects and the lower orders. They require it for survival.
Today The basic core that Bird Dog laid out is the best. Humans are meant to be a Jack Of All Trades (JOATs); the recent debacle of Proggy economics proves the adepts will find work, even by self-employment before the vertically trained can break out of their boundaries.
Education is the key; it needs to horizontal, not vertical.
I am paying the lion's share of two college educations for my children, but I don't have the experience to recall what courses served me best. So I will comment on what I do know: work.
One thing I require of the kids is work experience. Not Dickens workhouse stuff, but part-time and summer jobs. Many of my children's peers were and are consumed with extra-curricula activities, prep courses, internships and forced community service that they have no paid work experience.
The trouble I see with this list is that while the science, finance, math, and economics components are desirable, these days it's pretty near impossible to fulfill the humanities requirements you list without having to endure a lot of lefty fluff. It is darn near impossible to find any literature classes where a left-wing theoretical approach doesn't dominate, and it's the same way with history.
Dang! I'm only 7 for 16, but may parents haven't asked for a refund yet. The deal was that they pay for undergrad and I pay for grad school. I've made that same deal with my son, essentially.
There are a number of classes here that I would have wanted to take, but the pre-med prerequisites prevented this without taking an extra year or so. There are even more that I wouldn't have considered back then, but crave the luxury of time to take now.
And I agree that statistics and computer programming are missing.
Vermont woodchuck said:
"Catholic High school in the '50's took care of most of this.
Am. history, World history, 4 years Latin, 2 years French or German, Eng Lit, The Sciences, the Calc, some Western Civ, Logic, Comparative Religion, and a good asskicking if you didn't learn. The Nuns had every intention of getting everyone including the slackers (me) into college."
True dat. I was forcibly educated in a Catholic school. Four years Latin, gestapo nuns, the works. Mrs. Smokey just retired as a middle school Principal. I'm just a H.S. grad, some college. But I can out-spell, out-write, and out-figger not only the Mrs. with her Master's degree, but also 95% of her California-educated teachers.
This graph shows where the problem lies:
I was going to comment yesterday, but was in the middle of chores and had to think about you list.
My courses, for my children, will have a more practical nature. Only new language will be something like C++ or Ruby or some such.
I go off in another direction with a rant over at my place, in case any one is interested.
If you think you don't owe your kids a free college education, think again.
In many countries at least the gov. decides otherwise.
Either their education is free of cost to them because it's all paid out of your taxes, or they have to pay tuition fees out of the student grants they get from the government which are paid out of your taxes (in some countries, those grants being not only paid out of your taxes but dependent on your income as well, and you're by law required to make up the difference, so if your income is higher you're paying their grant twice even if they only get it once).
What our eductaion system lacks the most are trade schools at the high school level. HS graduates are generally unemployable except at fast food outlets.
I would like to see some instruction to all school children about debt, budgeting, balancing a checkbook, the value of a nest egg/emergency fund and achieving a debt free life.
Cooking for both genders with emphasis on affordable eating. A decent 1st aid class that actually produced people capable of saving a life and providing meanignful 1st aid to someone with serious injuries. At least one required class where each student plants, tends and harvests a variety of foods in a school garden. More essential life skills not less.
For the reasons I stated above, nothing on your essential list is valued anymore.
Bravo!! Love this site. This is a fantastic post, very informative, I love anything about education. I have an eight yr old and I know its important for me to be well informed when it comes to education.
Tracked: Mar 20, 20:39