Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds

The Decaying Evolution of Education...

BlueTrain

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,073
Those who do know history sometimes keep doing bad things until they succeed. But we aren't fighting WWI or WWII now. The Civil War, however, is another matter.

While I believe education is very, very necessary, that does not imply that college should be a requirement. The problem is, that seems to be the way it works now. There is little structure to provide alternative useful forms of education. There is some, to be sure, and here in Fairfax County, high school students studying construction actually work on houses. So-called adult education is also well-organized here, too, because a lot of ordinary trade-type jobs are in fields that are actually fairly technical and covered by a lot of building codes.

I don't think it's that easy to get into college, either.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
"Intelligent people are the rarest things I know " :rolleyes:

I have to say that I know LOTS of "intelligent" people, but I vote for what I call "traction." Many of the super IQ types I deal with have a VERY hard time applying all that horsepower without a lot of wheel spinning. When it comes to a partner in work or a friend I'll take traction any day ... but I would also say that they were the true intelligent people as opposed to the intellectuals who create a hall of mirrors for themselves.
I feel the requirements to get into college to begin with should be stricter than they are. The requirements to pass a course should be stricter than they are now. And while costs could arguably be lower, there is a direct correlation between the quality of education and the vast array of levels of competence that are admitted into any institution (these days) of higher learning.

Components of the primary education system that seem to be the most failing include: Logic, Civics, Economics, and History. And without a basic solid foundation of common sense and historical understanding, a collegiate education will be at best, a furthering of mere rhetoric that can be dangerously misinterpreted. Which is what we are witnessing so much these days...

Most of the colleges I work with are total money junkies, constantly hiring , constantly building, constantly fund raising and constantly raising tuition ... at the same time a true education (what you seem to consider a good primary education) is harder and harder to find in college. The classes are there ... sometimes, but they are hard to find and students don't seem to be steered in that direction. There seems to be a complete neglect of the product, meaning educated students and "market forces" have a hard time applying themselves because there are so few good schools left.
 

BlueTrain

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,073
Thoreau said the most valuable thing you get out of college was associating with the other students, for which there was no charge.

Based on what you say, it's a wonder so many people come here from overseas to go to school.
 

philosophygirl78

A-List Customer
Messages
445
Location
Aventura, Florida
Most of the colleges I work with are total money junkies, constantly hiring , constantly building, constantly fund raising and constantly raising tuition ... at the same time a true education (what you seem to consider a good primary education) is harder and harder to find in college. The classes are there ... sometimes, but they are hard to find and students don't seem to be steered in that direction. There seems to be a complete neglect of the product, meaning educated students and "market forces" have a hard time applying themselves because there are so few good schools left.[/QUOTE]

So is there a way to steer the populace back towards the intent of what education is suppose to be? I believe that may be the salient point. I think there is... But there would be sacrifices, and what is truly concerning is not that the 'market forces' would have to be subdued but that the populace itself may be so drained of substance that it will elect to protect the enemy and not Reason.
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,193
Location
The Great Pacific Northwest
Grammar.

Rhetoric.

Logic.

Arithmetic.

Geometry.

Music.

Astronomy.

Those were, traditionally, regarded as the seven liberal arts. A good secondary school education should present the tools for mastery of all of them- and I'd submit that any decent baccalaureate program (no matter the major- be it engineering, nursing, education, and, yes, one of the modern liberal arts) should reinforce and strengthen them.
 

Lean'n'mean

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,046
Location
Cloud-cuckoo-land
and I believe that knowing history more intimately than superficially is the best way to know history.

History is written by the victors & so always distorted. Prehaps that's why humanity can never learn from history & thus condemned to repeat the same mistakes.
 
Last edited:

St. Louis

Practically Family
Messages
613
Location
St. Louis, MO
I don't believe in hopelessness - I don't think humanity is ever condemned to anything, other than the consequences of our own foolishness. Yet I am still convinced that we can and do learn. I'd like to recommend one of the best & most useful discussions on the uses and misuses of history: Margaret McMillan's Dangerous Games. It's worth a read if you're concerned about such issues.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
So is there a way to steer the populace back towards the intent of what education is suppose to be? I believe that may be the salient point. I think there is... But there would be sacrifices, and what is truly concerning is not that the 'market forces' would have to be subdued but that the populace itself may be so drained of substance that it will elect to protect the enemy and not Reason.

Yes! But I fear that the only way that would work would be to start at a few select schools, the ones most likely to be motivated to accept a new program and then create a school that only teaches self education. Absolutely no subject content whatsoever; no history mathematics, science or anything else. All testing to be done by anonymous outside sources. Basically, just teach students how to teach themselves and be extremely rigorous about it. Many of the subjects you and others have mentioned would be appropriate but everything, everything, with the intent that when you emerge you are not "educated" (none of us ever will be) but you know how to further your ongoing education, an education that will never end. This would deliver the best result in our fast changing world. It would, hopefully, create objective minds (which our schools seem bent on destroying). And it would set an example to be followed more or less by other institutions.

Of course the students would hate it ... we'd have to do something to make it seem like there was some immediate gratification in it. Most professors would be utterly unqualified to teach in such a program but hopefully it would attract those who were. My most challenging dream would be to create some sort of gentle weeding out process and then accept students with all types of scholastic records. Some couldn't continue to stay but it would be different enough so that maybe kids who didn't have a rigorous formal education up to that point could flourish. I'd like to say that only the basics of reading and math would be necessary but that might be a bit utopian. The idea is that a wide variety get a shot, but if you don't make the grade , out you go.
 

dnjan

One Too Many
Messages
1,685
Location
Seattle
Most of the colleges I work with are total money junkies, constantly hiring , constantly building, constantly fund raising and constantly raising tuition ... at the same time a true education (what you seem to consider a good primary education) is harder and harder to find in college. The classes are there ... sometimes, but they are hard to find and students don't seem to be steered in that direction. There seems to be a complete neglect of the product, meaning educated students and "market forces" have a hard time applying themselves because there are so few good schools left.
Perhaps the best way to re-focus higher education on education is to eliminate federal funding of research and to also eliminate television coverage of college sports.
At far to many universities the actual education budget is in third place, behind funded research and intercollegiate athletics.
So "higher education" is just an excuse to run tax-exempt research businesses and sports franchises.
Faculty are hired for their research prowess and the greatest efforts in student recruiting is towards student-athletes.
Without outside-funded research and athletic department empires, the most important people on college campuses would be the actual students and the faculty who teach them.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
Perhaps the best way to re-focus higher education on education is to eliminate federal funding of research and to also eliminate television coverage of college sports.
At far to many universities the actual education budget is in third place, behind funded research and intercollegiate athletics.
So "higher education" is just an excuse to run tax-exempt research businesses and sports franchises.
Faculty are hired for their research prowess and the greatest efforts in student recruiting is towards student-athletes.
Without outside-funded research and athletic department empires, the most important people on college campuses would be the actual students and the faculty who teach them.

You are right! Actual teaching (especially of undergrads) is FAR from the highest priority and, in reality, sports programs only make a tiny percentage of colleges any money ... they like to keep that a secret, however.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
31,085
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Perhaps the best way to re-focus higher education on education is to eliminate federal funding of research and to also eliminate television coverage of college sports.
At far to many universities the actual education budget is in third place, behind funded research and intercollegiate athletics.
So "higher education" is just an excuse to run tax-exempt research businesses and sports franchises.
Faculty are hired for their research prowess and the greatest efforts in student recruiting is towards student-athletes.
Without outside-funded research and athletic department empires, the most important people on college campuses would be the actual students and the faculty who teach them.

You'd also need to ban corporate-funded research, or you'd end up with a world where science is bought and paid for. Oh, wait...

I'm all for abolishing intercollegiate sports altogether. Let the NBA and the NFL start their own damn professional minor league systems like baseball does.
 

dnjan

One Too Many
Messages
1,685
Location
Seattle
You'd also need to ban corporate-funded research, or you'd end up with a world where science is bought and paid for. Oh, wait...

I'm not sure there would be that much corporate-funded research at universities if the federal government (NSF, NIH, etc.) had not already paid for the equipment.

However, just to make sure, perhaps it would be best to remove any tax credits/exemptions from all forms of outside-funded research at University's.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,031
Location
Joliet
Most of the colleges I work with are total money junkies, constantly hiring , constantly building, constantly fund raising and constantly raising tuition ... at the same time a true education (what you seem to consider a good primary education) is harder and harder to find in college. The classes are there ... sometimes, but they are hard to find and students don't seem to be steered in that direction. There seems to be a complete neglect of the product, meaning educated students and "market forces" have a hard time applying themselves because there are so few good schools left.
Which is why I'm glad I quit one college for another. I spent a year at what was supposed to be a great academic college out in Rock Island Illinois, but it turned out to be a bit more party than I was expecting. Ended up wasting so much money on a $45K a year school where people partied in the dorms almost every night. So, I quit, and went and got my associates at a cheap community college, and then transferred to Columbia in Chicago. No sports teams, they spend all of your tuition right on the education, and it truly shows. A much better education, in a much more interactive and academic environment. The best part is that it costs half as much as my old college. I've found that, for the most part, sports tend to swallow up colleges, as the college spends more and more money focusing on their sports teams and less on actually educating people. It's all a front for parents, too. Shiney sports stadiums, and sparkly new buildings built to impress parents, but don't actually help anybody. At Columbia, I might as well be entering any other building in Downtown Chicago as they use retrofitted office buildings (one of the buildings I'm in, my aunt used to work at in the '80s) and don't have to spend money impress the parents. The contrast is astounding.
 
Messages
15,822
Location
New York City
Question History.

Yes, the older I get, the more I read, the less history I am sure of and the less I believe the accepted historical narrative. It's unsettling, but forces you to really think and study.

...I'm all for abolishing intercollegiate sports altogether. Let the NBA and the NFL start their own damn professional minor league systems like baseball does.

Yup, could not agree more. And it would stop the stealing of wages from the college athletes for the schools' budgets.

Which is why I'm glad I quit one college for another. I spent a year at what was supposed to be a great academic college out in Rock Island Illinois, but it turned out to be a bit more party than I was expecting. Ended up wasting so much money on a $45K a year school where people partied in the dorms almost every night. So, I quit, and went and got my associates at a cheap community college, and then transferred to Columbia in Chicago. No sports teams, they spend all of your tuition right on the education, and it truly shows. A much better education, in a much more interactive and academic environment. The best part is that it costs half as much as my old college. I've found that, for the most part, sports tend to swallow up colleges, as the college spends more and more money focusing on their sports teams and less on actually educating people. It's all a front for parents, too. Shiney sports stadiums, and sparkly new buildings built to impress parents, but don't actually help anybody. At Columbia, I might as well be entering any other building in Downtown Chicago as they use retrofitted office buildings (one of the buildings I'm in, my aunt used to work at in the '80s) and don't have to spend money impress the parents. The contrast is astounding.

I went to Rutgers University, which is a state school that, when I went, was very modestly priced to in-state students (still is a good deal today, but not as good as when I went), had plenty of partying and plenty of sports nonsense (the shame was, it wasted a ton of money on sports and rarely fielded a good team), but if you wanted to - and I did (I was working and paying for it myself, so I cared) - you could get an outstanding education. You had to not party, not waste time on nonsense and had to learn which were the good courses, professors, etc.

I availed myself of some of the best course / professors the school had to offer. I came out of college meaningfully more educated mainly because of a few really engaging and talented professors who helped make me a better thinker / analyzer / conceptualizer than I was before. More so than any facts or information I learned, it was the skill to think / analyze / conceptualize better that I am grateful for. That said, college also showed me fields of study that I didn't even know existed.

I have no idea why, but most kids chose to waste their time and money (or their parents' money) and partied, took "gut" courses and coasted by with poor grades, but they did - and the school offered them so much if they had just wanted it. That's a long way of saying kudos to you as it seems you took a different path than I did, but you got an affordable education without incurring insane debt.

Last point (that could be a book), I think the entire college / university model is broken from its budget priorities, research focus, tenure dichotomy, lack of focus on eduction, standardized four-year model, etc. Equally broken is many parents' and the government belief that all kids should go to a four year school - our economy has changed and we need to tailor post-highschool education to those changes and not stay with an outdated model.
 
Last edited:

Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
... and then transferred to Columbia in Chicago. ..

I went to UIC off the CTA Blue Line near Greektown-check out The Parthenon restaurant. Boni Vino on Van Buren is a good collegian budget bite stop.
Last but not least, The Art Institute is the best place in Chicago to meet girls.;)
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,031
Location
Joliet
I went to UIC off the CTA Blue Line near Greektown-check out The Parthenon restaurant. Boni Vino on Van Buren is a good collegian budget bite stop.
Last but not least, The Art Institute is the best place in Chicago to meet girls.;)
Hehe, thanks for the advice. I've actually wanted to try Boni Vino since I was a child.
 

ChiTownScion

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,193
Location
The Great Pacific Northwest
Question History.


Well, that really is part and parcel of a serious study of it. As anyone active in certain threads in the FL can attest. Of course I try to keep a wary eye for crackpot conspiracy theories and such, and avoid dead end bunny trails that the lunatic fringe seems to wallow in. But even keeping it objective and arguably worthy of academic inquiry, good original sources are always coming to light. This- to me- is why history is a fascinating study.
 
Top