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Lambs to the slaughter

I am beginning to think that we should just shut down all of our universities for a period of time. I think we can get along without them for at least a few years. Private labs can offer spots for all that important "research" that supposedly goes on in these places, and all those unemployed academics can do something useful for a while, like get jobs picking fruit (as opposed to giving these jobs to illegals). All the students with "nothing to do" can find something to do, like join the military. All the "learning" that universities are said to provide can mostly be done at home, with a library card. And do we really need more badly-written term papers? As for no more college sports -- excuse me while I bite back my yawns of concern.

Anyone think my idea is a bad one? Do you really think we should let these society-undermining sheep factories continue on their merry way to oblivion, dragging us with it?

(Via a commenter on Mean Mr. Mustard.)

Comments (9)

ricki [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well, as one of those would-be fruit-pickers, perhaps I'm biased, but:

some of the people I teach go on to become doctors.
some go on to become dentists.
some go on to do physical therapy, do biomedical research, pharmaceutical research, etc.

I just wonder - if we did a Cultural Revolution type thing, would everyone be complaining in 15 years that there were not enough medical professionals? Or engineers? Or whatever?

(I don't know about you but I'd rather not have my tooth extracted by someone who'd just read about it in a book from the library.)

(Oh, I suppose there are 'alternate' ways of training them, like letting them be medics in the military, but I do think your solution is rather extreme. And no, I don't' forsee "private research institutes" letting the under-25 set come in to 'train." I've seen people with good degrees try to get post-docs at those places.).

here's another suggestion that's been bandied about: how about, instead of letting people with a 'good sob story' be admitted (under the new "Holistic Admission" practices), only let in people who have the promise to be hard-working, solid citizens? Who have the promise to do something "useful" with their lives rather than navel-gaze for four years and then complain the university "failed" them because they're working at a 7-11 instead of being given millions of dollars to let their "natural brilliance" shine?

How about including a little psychological testing along with the SAT scores (which are PURPORTEDLY used, but I wonder sometimes)

Okay, I will amend my decree (which will be put in place as soon as I become Dictatrix of North Americastan) to allow the medical schools to remain open. But there will be no cutesy "ritual" washing rooms for finicky Muslims -- if they are so worried about praying with clean hands they can use the sink in the bathroom like everyone else.

I was mostly thinking about the Humanities-'N'-Education divisions of academia anyway. As a matter of fact, I am not sure why medical schools are affiliated at all with these piles of Unreason. Probably to lend prestige to said piles of Unreason, which are otherwise mostly holding tanks for dilettantes and dilettante wannabes. And the fad for "core"courses mostly take up time that med students could use to learn to treat boils and whatnot. I suppose it does a doctor good to have read Dostoyevsky, but he can do that on his own, surely.

Jeffro [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'm with ya - maybe our taxes would drop a bit as well. We could use a few less underwater basketweaving degrees.

...a few less underwater basketweaving degrees
Do I detect the sign of another U. of Miami alum?

I just wonder - if we did a Cultural Revolution type thing, would everyone be complaining in 15 years that there were not enough medical professionals? Or engineers? Or whatever?

Hey, we've got more people in in post-secondary, er, education than ever before, and I here people bitching all the time about there not being enough "whatevers" to take care of business. E.g., an acquaintance of mine has to do his own job and the job of his non-existent subordinate, because beginning petroleum geologists and engineers seem to be making themselves scarce. Wonder if he can get an M.A. in "eco-feminism" to fulfill the duties, or get a hand from some "diversity trainers". (Spit, snort.)

I don't think Andrea's complaining about people who actually manage to get educated or acquire respectable skills. But to a significant degree "college" has become a subsidized racket existing to soak cowed middle-class parents and their children and provide a pleasant career to a class of otherwise useless parasites. Some careers do require college and graduate training. But how many successful contributing members of society do I know who had to waste time and money (their own and taxpayers') to acquire a pointless degree, just to be considered for employment? The degree had no bearing on the job, and they still had to go through what is essentially a traditional apprenticeship - only now you have to waste four years and often acquire debt to get to point A. In a sane system nobody should have to present a "communications" or "marketing" degree to begin working his way up from the warehouse.

And nobody, if they could profit from university training, should have to spend time there being indoctrinated by the thought police when they could be acquiring an education. I do see a silver lining when people start bemoaning "oh dear me, boys aren't going to college". On the one hand, that's probably the reason my acquaintance can't find a petroleum engineer - those sorts of jobs were once filled by smart middle-class boys who now perhaps prefer to make easier profit moving other people's money around. On the other hand, it may indicate that they have enough self-respect not to want to go anywhere near a modern college. If the boys stay away, the non-serious girls will bail, too, leaving the medical and nursing schools with some students, but the b.s. programs with empty classrooms. Ah, I have a vision of the beginning of a great middle-class, surgical-strike "cultural revolution". If the middle class won't play, the universities will have to reform themselves.

Hah, wishful thinking. Human beings don't act like that. College-cost is kinda like the family-beggaring dowry system in some parts of India. It's insane on the face of it, and in the abstract it's a simple matter of all parents of daughters refusing to play. But in real life, the cost of being the only opter-outer is punishingly high. So the system just becomes more grotesque and insane over time. It's only human.

prairiecat [TypeKey Profile Page]:

That's very well stated, Moira, & I agree. My KID laments not doing better in high school so she could get a scholarship & go to college...until she realizes she had a vastly more rewarding experience since she "dropped out" & we home-schooled her toward her GED. She DID find a place to get some on-the-job training, now she knows better what she wants to do, & can pick college-level classes & training based on what she needs, not what some academics THINK she needs. I'm a FIRM believer in trade schools & apprenticeships.

I never tried to make her feel bad because she didn't go to college right away. THAT comes with the genetics, I think, as many members of my family got degrees later in life, did complete career changes later in life...or waited till the babies were in school. Some, like my dad, did military service first, some were "common laborers" & some were farmers. Being one of the herd really isn't the way my family goes at things, I guess. It may look painful to others, but it seems to work for them.

I think my future son-in-law is going to the Navy recruiter today...

Old Grouch [TypeKey Profile Page]:
I have a vision of the beginning of a great middle-class, surgical-strike "cultural revolution".
Unfortunately, that won't happen until businesses stop making a college degree the ticket you need to even interview for jobs that really only require (what used to be) a good high school education.
And THAT won't happen until the K-12 part of the education system resumes graduating students whose high school diplomas are something more than an attendance certificate. (Based on the stories I hear from the trenches, I don't see that happening any time soon.)

As I get older, I find the prospect of a "cultural revolution" style re-education of the intellectuals becoming more attractive, a change that concerns me. I don't believe it's because I've turned into a sour oldster. What I do believe is that over the last 40 years our "intellectual" community (especially those in the "anger studies" and soft "science" areas) has moved from being a sometime-nuisance (that could be ignored by productive society) to a pernicious influence that is dangerous to our continued survival as a culture. (I blame in large part the boomers who used the education system as their way of avoiding military service, but others also point to the influence of Gramscian Marxism.) I didn't mind (much) supporting those people when they were off playing in their own sandboxes. I mind MUCH more when their irrationalism starts screwing up my life. And I also resent the fact that their actions and attitudes have pushed me toward the view that something I once viewed as an inhuman horror might have actually included some measure of "just deserts."
The_Real_JeffS [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Do I detect the sign of another U. of Miami alum?

It ain't just the U of M, I can assure you. I learned that term while attending a midwest engineering school 30 years ago.....and we applied it to a near by liberal arts college.

Old Grouch, I'm afraid that I have to agree with you, especially on the state of primary education in this country, and the characters running it. We had a local referendum here a few years back, to buy computers for the school system, to the tune of several million dollars. The state of affairs then was nada, except for a few desktops in some classrooms. They wanted to put in a full network, including computer labs for students.

But when asked what the school district would use the computers for (i.e., what would be added to or changed in the cirriculum), the general answer was, "We'll let them use computers in the classroom".

The referendum failed miserably, by the way, praise be to Zeus!

No wonder businesses require college degrees just to interview. For that matter, the military requires degrees for all officers......which is why you see Marine fighter pilots with degrees in physical education and geography. Just how does a college degree in phys. ed. qualify someone to fly a multi-million dollar death machine? Time was when we had sergeants or warrant officers flying fighters. Of course, that was WWII, but the idea ought to be re-examined.

[Note to fighter jocks: don't take this personally, many of you have serious technical degrees. I know this. I also know fighter jocks who hold teaching certificates.....and not for job security in case of a RIF. I knew many engineer officers in the Army who weren't degreed engineers....including those in charge of major engineering operations, and did a fine job. Dwell on that, please.]

But I do agree that the college system needs a good shake up. One option might be to encourage the use of community colleges for that "high school make up", cut back on the liberal studies, and use the serious colleges for the serious student, not the people who just want four more years to "find themselves". Or whatever.

Well in the UK too many people are going to uni with no real purpose for their being there but a government quota and an excuse to get pissed for three years. Some of the lame degrees are just quite stunning. The people who take these degrees seem to be convinced they will actually get a job after as well.

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