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, July 9. 2021
Story at Quillette: How All My Politically Correct Bones Were Broken:
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A disappointed liberal who discovers he is not the educational messiah. His mere existence will not lead all students to the promised land. Most attendees are in college for a piece of paper. Most who are not true students, but by government standards are qualified for scholarships. "You paid me to go to this school; you must give me a passing grade."
You're more cynical than I am. I read the story and I believe that the writer really wanted his career to continue without all of the crazy progressive contradictions. He said that early in his career he was proud to help make higher education available to first generation attendees.
Back in the early 1980's when community college was young and computers were just coming on the scene, there was a huge cohort of kids coming out of my high school who benefited from the community college model and were quickly settle into careers in that emerging industry.
As a faculty wife who had come to pick up her husband from work, I once stood witness to the following scene:
The academic dean helped a street person up off of the curb and escorted her into the "university". This street person was clearly stoned--not out her mind--but enough to be confused: "where am I? Am I in some kind of school?" The academic dean then escorted the street person up to my husband in his office (he was department chair of an MA program). The academic dean then introduced street person to my husband--"this is Ms So and So--she has a social security card--sign her up!" The intent and the meaning of course was to simply sign this person up for school loans of which the university would receive a large percentage. My husband then escorted street person over to the department chair in charge of the "BACHELOR'S COMPLETION" program where she was very attentively enrolled as a student. How much of this crap do you people need to know before you stand up in a way that really makes a difference?
Unfortunately, the solution to this problem is to have done something about it 20 years ago. By the time a problem has become big enough to be easily seen, it's become too big to be easily solved.
Unfortunately, too, there are too many people who refuse to see the problem. These are the people with a cargo cult mentality who see that people who have college degrees do better than people without college degrees and deduce that it's that piece of paper that accounts for the difference. No, it's the willingness to do the hard work necessary to earn that piece of paper that makes the difference. They are determined to push even more people into going to college when the problem is we have too many going now. Instead of spending four years and a hundred grand trying to teach some kid to appreciate Elizabethan poetry, maybe everybody would be better off if you paid some plumber 20 grand to teach him how to install water heaters and toilets and kitchen faucets.
The truth is, this is not new. It is just these days the colleges don't even help the students learn how to organize their thoughts. Instead of forcing minds to bloom "under glass", the colleges now create hot house flowers that wilt in the real world.
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
A few days ago, I got into a discussion with somebody who was pointing out that, thanks to government subsidies, college in Italy is very cheap compared to the US. I pointed out that the US has about 5 1/2 times the population of Italy but 11 times the number of students in 4-year colleges, which suggests either that the average US citizen is twice as smart as the average Italian, or that Italy has much higher standards for who they will allow to go to college. The US basically allows anybody with a pulse and a checkbook to attend college and there's no reason the US taxpayer should be asked to subsidize people who are so ignorant they can't recognize a scam when they see one.
Here in Georgia, they do offer government subsidies to college students via the HOPE scholarship program - they merely limit it to those students who maintained an A/B average in high school and maintain an A/B average in college. If you're a good student, you get cheap college just as you would if you went to Italy. If you're not a good student, well, you don't get cheap college, again just as if you went to Italy.