From Alan Weiss’s newsletter:

There are many in the education profession concerned that these students are still not adequately prepared to enter college. I have a different concern.

I don’t think a four-year degree (or the five and six years some students crawl through) will be de rigueur in the years ahead. I don’t think college should the default destination for high school graduates. We need tradespeople and craftspeople. We need people in transportation and public safety. Do they all require four-year degrees? Can’t two-year programs or even licensing or certification courses fill the bill?

Do we need brick and morter universities that park, feed, clothe, and house tens of thousands of students who will be burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt? Remote learning and home schooling have made huge, quality inroads against the “system.”

I’m not suggesting we home school medical students (whose days with no sleep and harsh conditions is an artifact that ought to be eliminated, by the way). I’m just wondering why, in 2016, we’re still engaged in warehousing students within an educational infrastructure from 1916. Whose vested interests are being met by marching students from high school through an arbitrary learning process to collect a degree that may not matter at all in terms of their competence and contributions? Certainly not the students’.

Yep. The concept of traditional college is so deeply seeped in Societal Programming that, like with most other sacred cows, people will not make the painful admission that the way we do it doesn’t apply to modern-day realities any more.

It’s the same thing as lifetime employment (vanished since the 90s, barring the unusual exception to the rule), lifetime marriage for those getting married now (vanished since the early 2000s, barring the unusual exception to the rule). We can’t fix the college system until we admit the entire concept needs to be overhauled to reflect the new era in which we live. Specifically:

1. The way we’re doing it no longer works for the majority of people.

2. The way we’re pricing it and funding it is horrifically destructive to both the students and the economy.

3. The way we’re doing it isn’t for the benefit of students, but rather for other entrenched interests (administrators, teacher’s unions, politicians, left-wing pressure groups, etc).

2 thoughts on “Why We Still Have It All Wrong On College – Part 346

  1. At the root of the problem is really government interference. In days past parents used to save up for college, and consequently had a vested interest in seeing that a quality education was being had. However, now it is funded by a bureaucratic mess of loans and grants and all sorts of other things where the payer is different than the customer. Consequently, college costs have gone up drastically, and quality of education has gone down drastically (measured by utility anyway.)

    Really, it is clearly paralleled by the medical system where a similar situation of the payer and the customer being separated makes for dramatic over use, Cadillac everything and a total disregard of cost with the mantra of “we don’t economize on people’s health”.
    There is a growing movement where many parents send their kids to a junior college for a couple of years (costing a tenth of the equivalent) and then finish with credit transfers to a larger college. That seems to make sense to me, especially since it means the students miss the big college’s gen eds, which is where most of the nonsense takes place.

    However, just one other comment, the greatest abomination in the modern college is the fact that these places, designed to be bastions of free speech, with such things as tenure specifically to foster free speech, have become the most politically correct, anti free speech institutions in America. OMG, where else in America are there speech codes? Where else are there unofficial judicial bodies with powerful punitive powers and little in the way of due process? Perhaps the only place is in workplaces, but there it is vastly less extreme than in college.

    At least when they sent you to the gulag they didn’t leave you with a six figure debt to pay.

    Here is an idea — have colleges offer an alternative payment system, in which you go for free, but the college receives payment by a contract you sign to send them 10% of your net annual income for the ten years following graduation. Get the college to have some skin in the game as to what benefit they are really bringing to your life.

  2. At the root of the problem is really government interference.

    That’s the root of most societal problems. But left wingers and right wingers love government interference so this is a problem that will never be fixed.

    OMG, where else in America are there speech codes?

    Haha! Oh, just wait. The left wingers haven’t quite consolidated their power in the US yet. Guaranteed there will be speech codes in the US outside of college campuses in the next few years/decades. Left-liberals hate free speech more than conservatives, and that’s saying something.

    have colleges offer an alternative payment system, in which you go for free, but the college receives payment by a contract you sign to send them 10% of your net annual income for the ten years following graduation.

    I’ve heard variations of that idea before, and I love it, and it would work great, which is why it will never happen.

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