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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Monday, June 13. 2016
It is all almost entirely true. However, higher ed still can be somewhat like it used to be if and only if a student and his parents together make a plan to navigate the place so as to get the most out of it. A solid traditional education can usually be designed from their offerings just as a nutritional meal can be designed despite all the the junk in the supermarket. Seeking the most rigorous coursework and diving into constructive extracurriculars are good starts.
When the structure of a school would once make sure the student was a product of which the school could feel proud (literate, well-rounded, and, as they used to say, able to comprehend every section of the Sunday New York Times), now it is up to the paying parents to ensure that that happens.
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skool daze ...
kollege has really changed. back in the Day, USC kept out most of the poor and nearly all the accented foreign trash except for wealthy Saudis and Iranians*, we had a relaxed beer-and-football atmosphere, pre-law, pre-med, engineering and MRS degrees were important to get your ticket punched for a solid upper middle class lifestyle, all was cool. we had our "mick" (i.e., mickey mouse) classes, mostly in cinema and activists of any kind were hounded and water-ballooned. reefer was mellow and freely available for the asking, and girls, of course.
* if we wanted to induce pants-wetting terror in a sleeping Iranian, we'd pick a dorm room lock, burst in yelling "SAVAK".
Back in the day...Science and Engineering--we had Saturday classes and/or labs (generally 3 hours long). Except on Saturday home football game days as we were expected to show our school spirit and attend the game. Studying was not optional as the 800 lb gorilla in the room was the Draft Board.
Animal House was released the summer before my freshman year, and toga parties were the rage all over campus and fraternity row.
I don't know how accurately the movie depicted college life in 1962, but it was dead accurate in 1978, at least as I remember it.
A romantic, but erroneous view of college of yesteryear. College was a place to refine the offspring of the wealthy and upper middle class. Admission was more on the basis of family than ability. They would study economically useless topics, assuming the student did not progress to professor, as a signal of refinement and wealth. The Liberal Arts were never for those who had to make their own way in the world, except for those few mentioned who were to become servants of the upperclass toiling to refine their offspring.
The idea is, of course, that men are successful because they have gone to college. No idea was ever more absurd. No man is successful because he has managed to pass a certain number of courses and has received a sheepskin which tells the world in Latin, that neither the world nor the graduate can read, that he has successfully completed the work required. If the man is successful, it is because he has the qualities for success in him; the college "education" has merely, speaking in terms' of horticulture, forced those qualities and given him certain intellectual tools with which to work-tools which he could have got without going to college, but not nearly so quickly. So far as anything practical is concerned, a college is simply an intellectual hothouse. For four years the mind of the undergraduate is put "under glass," and a very warm and constant sunshine is poured down upon it. The result is, of course, that his mind blooms earlier than it would in the much cooler intellectual atmosphere of the business world.
A man learns more about business in the first six months after his graduation than he does in his whole four years of college. But-and here is the "practical" result of his college work-he learns far more in those six months than if he had not gone to college. He has been trained to learn, and that, to all intents and purposes, is all the training he has received. To say that he has been trained to think is to say essentially that he has been trained to learn, but remember that it is impossible to teach a man to think. The power to think must be inherently his. All that the teacher can do is help him learn to order his thoughts-such as they are.
Marks, Percy, "Under Glass", Scribner's Magazine Vol 73, 1923, p 47
Percy Marks is particularly knowledgeable to comment on the college of yesteryear having left a sinecure at Brown to pen his age's "Animal House" under the title of 'The Plastic Age', which was made into a movie...twice. The first setting off the original It girl, Clara Bow.
Up to the parents? If it's up to the parents then the student should probably still be in high school. A 17 or 18 year old is a grown man and should be paying for his own college education.
having two kids in high school I can tell you that the pressure to go to college is intense. I know they are going to do this to my youngest who is NOT college material because it's just what guidance counselors, teachers and admin's do now.
They push the idea that tech school is also "required". The last 3 kids we hired who went into 40,50 grand in debt to learn "state of the art" diesel mechanics didn't know squat. it's like putting lipstick on a pig if there is no work ethic.
Tech schools get up to the minute equipment (almost everything mechanical is now computerized)
and train kids exclusively on that. Then the kids get out and find out when they work in a shop or work for CAT that hardly anyone in the real world HAS brand spanking new equipment and that "education" was pretty much for nothing. It can't be applied to the old stuff.
It's all on the job experience.
The computer knowledge is about the only thing they seem to be knowledgable in, yet most of them use it to surf Facistbook or social media instead of trying to learn.
The object of education is the generation of power. But to generate and store up power whether mental or physical or both is a waste of effort unless the power is to be exerted. Why generate steam if there is no engine to be operated? Steam may be likened to an idea which finds expression through the engine, a thing? Why store the mind with facts, historical, philosophical, or mathematical, which are useless until applied to things, if they are not to be applied to things? And if they are to be applied to things, why not teach the art of so applying them? As a matter of fact the system of education which does not do this is one-sided, incomplete, unscientific.
In the light of this analysis Carlyle's rhapsody on tools becomes a prosaic fact, and his conclusion—that man without tools is nothing, with tools all—points the way to the discovery of the philosopher's stone in education. For if man without tools is nothing, to be unable to use tools is to be destitute of power; and if with tools he is all, to be able to use tools is to be all-powerful. And this power in the concrete, the power to do some useful thing for man—this is the last analysis of educational truth.
—Charles H. Ham, Mind and Hand: manual training, the chief factor in education (1900)
Sad thing is, as our world becomes more automated, computerized, etc., students need exposure to the manual arts even more. Not as vocations but just to truly understand literature, etc., written at a time when people lived closer to nature.
This understanding no longer comes from daily life. In the last 40 years, few students are exposed to the manual hardships of life lived by all humans before. A bit of time working a forge, or in a woodshop or making anything that has an objective form and utility to judge will open a world of understanding to the student of literature, philosophy, written at time when such was assumed common knowledge.
Thank goodness I didn't need my parents to push me toward ambitious college goals by the time I was 18! I did benefit from my elder sister's help in high school; she firmly worked out my 4-year plan with a view to being ready for college. My parents checked in now and then to confirm I was doing OK, and they were kind enough to support me so I didn't have to work full-time. Also, come to think of it, they rather tactfully steered me toward a more challenging private university rather than UT, where I wanted to follow the object of my amatory interest at the time. They suggested that I give the private school a try for a least a semester; after that, I was hooked. But in a million years it wouldn't have occurred to them to micromanage me in matters of education once I started attending classes. I had a third sister who elected to attend LSU and then UT, and that was OK with them, too.