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.
What is a "college education" in America, these days? Seems to me that there is no such unitary thing, and that it can mean almost anything. As I have mentioned here in the past, I have interviewed college grads who could not do calculus or even explain basic statistics, read a foreign language, or write a grammatical, well-structured formal essay. These basic skills can be achieved in high school, by those who want to learn stuff.
Or easily achieved in the library or on the internet. Not everybody is driven to learn things.
There's a debate going on these days about the notion of "college for all," and Robert Samuelson has been scoring points.
College for All, of course, entails extensive remediation for kids who are not prepared for, or capable of, "higher ed" as we older folks think of it. It also entails lowering expectations and standards. I don't blame the schools - I mostly blame the students. There is no such thing as "getting an education," because all learning is ultimately self-education. Without drive, curiosity, discipline, determination, and IQ nothing valuable will happen.
The education industry, naturally, markets itself and wants to fill all of their seats with warm, paying bodies even if they are not capable of serious high-school level achievement. Here's a summary of the current debate on college-level remediation.
As I see it, the primary mission of all education is to inculcate the knowledge that ultimately people must become their own teacher; that to succeed in life, one must become an autodidact.
In that, most unfortunately, public schools have clearly failed, since teachers themselves seem resolutely ignorant of the fact.
P.R. Jim ... Love the phrase "resolutely ignorant." This describes many primary and secondary teachers in today's world. They got bored with teaching grammar to students in grammar schools, so we have folks claiming to be educated who don't know sentence structure, verb tenses and how to help them agree with the subject, how to do algebra, calculus and all that other "dumb math stuff," as well as world history, American history, basic economics, etc., etc., etc. But they want good, demanding jobs nonetheless.
In a down economy like ours, I would not be hiring someone like this, even if he/she threatened to hold his breath until he fainted.
Remedial education is "necessary" because they are not taught sufficiently in grade, middle, and high schools. Or they are not allowed/encouraged to learn by their parents and school systems, or possible the society within which they dwell.
Whatever the fix is, it's going to take time to accomplish.