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.
Of course, current colleges (at current rates!) are not necessarily delivering much bang for the buck either: According to Richard Arum and Josipha Roksa, authors of the 2011 book Academically Adrift, 36 percent of college students fail to “show any significant improvement over four years” as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment.
In my view, expressed frequently here, the higher ed bubble is a result of the democratization of the higher ed industry. Colleges, designed for scholars, compete for "customers," standards drop, and prices rise to whatever level the market, subsidies, and student loans can bear. A degree is a mass market product, which means that the customer must be kept happy. That represents a complete reversal of historical approaches.
I spoke with a recent state college grad who told me that he never read a book in four years. He told me he mainly got by on what he had learned in high school. I think many people are not aware of how low expectations have dropped outside of the elite schools and non-elite STEM programs.
There must be thousands of profs out there who are teaching well-below their levels of competence due to the requirement to dumb down their efforts.
Underlying all of these issues is a simple fact: learning is not something that can be "delivered," something you "get" or can buy. The life of the mind cannot be bought. It can be ignited, but not bought. A degree can be bought today, but its economic value today as a mass-market product, and its price, are out of sync.
Years ago a friend of mine, frustrated with trying to teach those not interested in learning said, "Education is the one thing people less of than what they're paying for," or words to that effect...they want the benefits, without the effort.
I spoke with a recent state college grad who told me that he never read a book in four years. He told me he mainly got by on what he had learned in high school. I think many people are not aware of how low expectations have dropped outside of the elite schools and non-elite STEM program.
There is no indication in the above passage that the student who didn't read a book in four years was a STEM graduate.
You know a $10,000 degree is a good deal if the kid learns something. With our current system, it might also be a good deal as a credential without learning anything. If you have to have the credential to get a job that used to require a HS diploma, you might as well get it as cheaply as possible.
I hate what our higher education system has become.
I earned my degree back in '82. With honest reflection this crap was going on even back then. It just didn't cost as much, so the parents weren't paying as much attention.
First realize that the universities are not selling an education. They are selling a credential.
Secondly, realize that the universities do not exist for the students, like the Medieval universities, they exist as a place for the professors. Sadly, unlike the Medieval universities, few of these professors are scholars.
The medieval university differed in many respects with our idea of a modern university. It was primarily a guild of teachers and scholars, formed for common protection and mutual aid. It was a republic of letters, whose members were exempt from all services private and public, all personal taxes and contributions, and from all civil procedure in courts of law. The teaching function was secondary, and often entirely overlooked. The Scottish university from the beginning, however, emphasized the teaching function, and created an atmosphere academic rather than civil or political.
Thirdly, realize the universities need "students" to pay for the professors community and they need to politically stay in the sovereign's good graces to maintain their privileges. So they dumbed down their efforts to increase the number of "customers" and please the state's "education" efforts. Of course, reducing quality eventually damages the brand.
Fourthly, we must get past the unsupported idea that one must attend a university and be taught by professors to become educated. This has never been true and is even less so now. The exception being Medieval times when there was only one book the professor saw many years ago. But with the advent of printing and now the internet, the knowledge is out there for those who seek it.
True, those less interested can benefit from being forced to seek knowledge but that is no longer what universities do. Either in requirements or increasingly even in skills taught. University is
more and more about networking. In which case, reinstating the draft, ensuring real mixing of the social strata, doing real work and learning real skills could be offered to better create future networks and even earn a little start up cash. Surely, that would appeal to the future socialists of America?
I blame HR. In too many instances, if your resume doesn't have some kind of degree, they just weed it right out. All other things being "equal", a degree (in anything) trumps not having one.
I was also once told that I'd never be promoted beyond the point where my degree would be less than those I'd theoretically be promoted over, regardless of experience, successful completion of projects, etc.