03 March 2009


Peter posted an interesting list of courses offered (for credit) at some universities. Here's the quick rundown:

* Arguing With Judge Judy: Popular 'Logic' On TV Judge Shows
* Underwater Basket Weaving
* The Joy Of Garbage
* Zombies In Popular Media
* Cyberporn And Society
* Far Side Entomology
* Myth And Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, And Lord Of The Rings

He goes on to ask readers if they'd be willing to pay for their children attending such classes. I'm gonna take a slightly different track...

Was discussing the whole college thing with Spoon. Seems a college degree doesn't mean as much, anymore. Hell, I dated a girl that got a degree in Spanish & Latin American Studies... then got a job teaching english in Japan!

We've all heard of folks that get a degree in (insert whatever major), only to find out that for it to mean anything in the job market, they need further education. Not to mention the number of kids in college that seem to dual major in "Binge Drinking" and "Promiscuis Sex".

I'm gonna advance a theory here: I think college has become overly pushed on society. And there are a couple reasons behind this.

First off, we've been given a sense that everybody should be an executive (or similarly physically non-taxing position). What we've failed to take into account is that there are only so many such positions out there. Nobody wants to be a ditch-digger, but SOMEBODY has to do it. Yet, thinking back to high school, the huge push was to go on to "higher education*" to make something of yourself.

Second issue here: many college kids today seem to treat the (however many) years of college as an extended adolescence, with mommy & daddy footing the bill for the search for more excess.

Could it be that, courses such as those listed, MIGHT just point to a needed revamp of our whole education system? That, just maybe, the whole "well rounded education" might not be as good a thing (or as necessary for everyone) as once thought?

Just sayin'...


Sabra said...

You're right, of course.

I've been trying to muddle my way through the "student development" course I'm being forced to take, & about the only thing it succeeds in doing is bringing home many of your points.

I'm not sure whether it's a sign of a poorly put together course or if most students really *are* that dumb, but the video portion has included such gems as "The best way to prepare for a test is to know the material," and "Getting enough sleep will help you feel energetic the next day." If you need these things spelled out to you, then you do not need to be in college. Even a community college.

I'm rather glad it took me 10 years to get around to going to college. It's not that I would have partied at 18, or anything. Just that I'd have been much less goal-oriented than I am now.

The truth is, by the time I was finished with high school, I had had quite enough of institutionalized academia. Trite quotations aside, government schools do not teach you how to think. They teach you how to follow. I found out last semester, in my Ethics class, that the majority of people are completely out of their league when presented with a demand that they apply critical thinking skills.

It's symptomatic, I think, of a much more pervasive phenomenon in our society. Though we're much more sexualized than in the past, we're also coddling our young adults (remember, teenager is a marketing term) & not expecting them to do any mental heavy lifting. No small number of these folks were then unceremoniously dumped into the classroom of a professor who not only was a computer programmer in a past life, but who worked on the Apollo moon landing, and expected his students to be as grown-up as he undoubtedly was at their age...One of the end results of this was my having to explain to classmates that "good" does not necessarily equate to "easy" in regards to professors.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a return to technical schools - perhaps like the German system, where you have multiple tracks for those going to University, those interested in business/engineering/ and a third for skilled trades. Because not everyone is cut out to go to a 4-year liberal arts college. Yes, there are flaws in the German system, but as a possible model it has some merit.


Anonymous said...

The problem is not so much the push for higher education, so much as the push for a 4 year bachelors specifically.

The guidance counselors are right when they say that a Highs chool diploma is just about useless, but instead of pushing all the students toward a bachelors, they should realize that some students need to be guided towards a 2 year Associates, and some need to guided towards a technical cert (Such as welding, machining, or commercial driving.)

Kids come out of High school knowing that they don't have what it takes for four years of college, but not knowing where else to turn. So they end up dead-ending in the workplace; working fast food or grocery stores until they either get a clue, burn out, or get hurt.

either way; their education dead ends, along with their income level.