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Good news: Study confirms that college is pretty much a total waste of time
Hot Air ^ | January 19, 2011 | Allahpundit

Posted on 01/19/2011 8:24:36 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

You don’t even need to read the article; just follow the link and check out the graph in the left-hand sidebar. What’s tuition up to these days at private universities, parents? About $30-35,000?

Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don’t make academics a priority, a new report shows.

Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift:

Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students’ critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills. After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.

Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows. Despite learning a little bit of jack and a whole lot of squat, students in the survey nonetheless managed a 3.2 GPA on average according to the study’s author, which tells you most of what you need to know about grade inflation and the rigors of modern higher learning. Another fun detail from the same study via McClatchy: Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn’t determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin…

The study’s authors also found that large numbers of students didn’t enroll in courses requiring substantial work. In a typical semester, a third of students took no courses with more than 40 pages of reading per week. Half didn’t take a single course in which they wrote more than 20 pages over the semester.

If you think false media narratives are easily absorbed now, wait until the Leaders of Tomorrow graduate and take their place in society. I keep thinking that the combination of a poor economy and ludicrous higher-education costs will solve this problem to some degree by re-normalizing the idea of entering the labor force after high school. If you’re a kid who’s unenthused about incurring a mountain of debt for the privilege of four more years of study with no guarantee of finding a job afterward to fund the repayment, why not pound the pavement for an entry-level/trainee position somewhere instead? The pay will be rotten to start and the lack of a diploma will make some future employers think twice, but in the meantime you’re debt-free and building skills — and if I’m right about re-normalization, the “no diploma” stigma will fade a bit culturally over time. The one flaw in my theory: Er, there are no entry-level jobs out there for kids, are there?

Something to inspire you while you ponder. Mild content warning.

(VIDEO AT LINK)


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education
KEYWORDS: college; economyeducation; unemployment

1 posted on 01/19/2011 8:24:42 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Reaffirms what I have been saying for a few years now. We need a mindset change in this country. We need to restore honor to the trades professions.

Some of my dumbest coworkers are college grads, including those with advanced degrees. And BTW, some of them feel high and mighty because they have their kids enrolled in the International Baccalaureat program. They sicken me.


2 posted on 01/19/2011 8:30:49 PM PST by tunedin
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They’re going to the wrong colleges.


3 posted on 01/19/2011 8:31:40 PM PST by madison10
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I suppose fixing the typo “baccalaureate” would be helpful.


4 posted on 01/19/2011 8:32:07 PM PST by tunedin
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Co-worker just graduated from Ohio State Engineering program with little to no knowledge of engineering. She filled up her electives with business classes. She told me she didn’t buy a technical textbook throughout her combined bachelor’s and master’s degree.

I asked why she even bothered to go to engineering school. She said she wanted the college experience and social life.

She started in a technical position and just changed to a marketing position, which several of us told her she was more suited to do.

Ans she was an international student, from India. College paid for by parents. She said she came to a US school for the open curriculum, as opposed to going to engineering school in India which she claimed was too strictly engineering oriented.

And now she complains she’s only making $50,000 to start.


5 posted on 01/19/2011 8:36:02 PM PST by AlmaKing
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To: AlmaKing

bachelors and masters degrees, that is.


6 posted on 01/19/2011 8:36:58 PM PST by AlmaKing
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My experience of this validates this point.

I used to think, OK, this is what I have to compete against, no problem.

Experience, Education, accomplishments, military service, non of that matters(hard work and stuff does still work in the military).

What works, is lying and ass kissing.

I’ve seen it, I am living it.

They won’t take insincere ass kissing either. Oh no, it has to be genuine. You have to believe in the ass you are kissing.

I’ve seen the ass kissing switch on a dime when the ass kissee can no longer help the ass kisser. And yet, it worked.

I told my mother a few months ago I was mad at her. She asked why. I told her she lied to me and said if I went to school, worked hard and was honest, doors would open for me.

I’m 48, I have done all those things and now I work for idiots who can’t tie their own shoes!

I still like the guy I see in the mirror every morning, however.


7 posted on 01/19/2011 8:38:28 PM PST by occamrzr06
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My son just finished his first semester at Gordon College in MA and he learned a lot (biology major). He worked hard and did very well. He is a National Merit Scholar and a smart kid. He was challenged quite a bit. My other two kids graduated from tough schools where they learned a lot. I guess you just have to go to the right schools.


8 posted on 01/19/2011 8:38:37 PM PST by cantfindagoodscreenname (I really hate not knowing what was said in the deleted posts....)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I went to tech school for electonics and have been in a pretty good gig. My employer pays tuition, so 15 years after tech school, I went back to college to get my BA in Economics.

I learned a few things, actually enjoyed the writing and the lit classes, and parts of the economics stuff was enjoyable and made me a shade smarter.

The school had an exit exam, a standardized test from Missouri or something like that, just to see how they did. Wasn't required, and I could have just filled in the ovals, but I decided I wanted to give my best effort--no studying, just seeing what you know. I finished in the 95% percentile nationwide. I understand since there was no payback, many students probably just filled in the ovals to make pretty designs. But the thing I remembered about the test, is that 75% of the questions, were things I learned in high school (where I did well). I could have skipped the whole 4 year college thing, taken that test, and bet I would have been north of the 80th percentile.

I do think going back to college for a 4 year degree in my 30s was a good thing, and I got a lot more out of it than if I had done it at 18. But a lot of it was just a giant waste of time.

9 posted on 01/19/2011 8:44:53 PM PST by Pappy Smear (Support the presidency, end the policies.)
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To: cantfindagoodscreenname

>I guess you just have to go to the right schools.

True...or you simply need to learn in the most unconventional manner.

True story: our web administrator guy is a 23-year old who recently replaced our IT guy who is a grad from a “well known” tech university in Texas.

The 23-year old knew more about the solving problems from web design to Google Analytics. One day, our colleague supervisor asked him what school he went to that he knew more than the past IT guy.

His answer was “University of Youtube” and the Texas Public Library. He learned the intricacies of Perl and Ruby on Rails by watching the instructional Youtube videos, then borrowing the technical books from the library. What college?


10 posted on 01/19/2011 8:45:23 PM PST by max americana
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
So Let's Parrr-'tay....

College graduates are nearly twice as likely to drink as are people who didn't finish high school.

Rates of alcohol use increase with levels of education, as 68.4 percent of college graduates and 35 percent of adults who didn't finish high school describe themselves as "current drinkers."...."many people learn to drink at college, where campus life "definitely promotes a culture of 'drink and be wild.'"

11 posted on 01/19/2011 8:45:49 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Anyone with an AA/BS degree or higher knows that what you learned in College may never be used - however, if you earn a degree, it definitely opens doors to jobs that may require a degree to even be considered. I have worked with people in the Tech industry that have had a BS degree in History, and are now Managers in High Tech Fields, only because they had a BS in any major, to get in the door. A college degree indicates that at a minimum you put in the effort to graduate with an advanced degree above high-school... anyone using this argument presented as an reason not to go to college should seriously reconsider.


12 posted on 01/19/2011 8:46:39 PM PST by Kukai
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Source drinking
13 posted on 01/19/2011 8:49:18 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My son is at a liberal school in a Christian house and getting a well rounded education. Does it make economic sense, probably not.

Pray for America


14 posted on 01/19/2011 8:53:52 PM PST by bray (Support Palin to make heads explode on both sides,is that Blood Libel?)
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To: madison10
I don't agree with the article.
My years at college were the most fertile learning experience of my life. My professors taught us how to think, to reason, to express. Many of these men - and they were all men - held strong views of the issues of the day - and in particular on the war in Vietnam.
Yet not one tried to force his views on students, who were encouraged to think for themselves.
The rule in my classes was that one could hold any view, as long as he or she was able to defend it. This attitude forced you to think through opinions and to organize ideas.
I shall always be profoundly grateful to the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina.
15 posted on 01/19/2011 8:54:54 PM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: Kukai
Unless they're going into non-technical sales. If you can REALLY sell they'll hire someone to do your scut work, believe me. I've been a recruiter half my life. You're right about the BA/BS being a prerequisite to many positions, but what's to stop a kid from getting a cheap & easy no-name degree or even a diploma mill degree just to have a BA/BS on his/her resume? Most employers are not going to delve to deeply into the education background of a $30,000 assistant manager candidate. We just don't have that kind of time...
16 posted on 01/19/2011 8:57:56 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Please donate to FreeRepublic, sanity in a world gone mad!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

College today is the liberals’ way of redistributing 100-200,000 dollars from middle class families for not doing very much. Helps keep them under control when you either tap that out of mom and dad’s assets, or put the kid in hock for a long time trying to pay the loans off.


17 posted on 01/19/2011 9:00:58 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Really?


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

18 posted on 01/19/2011 9:06:04 PM PST by The Comedian ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" - B. Goldwater)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Education can't be imposed on a student. They have to want to learn. If they do, there are plenty of colleges that can teach.

If you don't want your kid to want to learn and get something out of college, then it will help to teach them that college has no value. If you can succeed in getting that message through their heads, then college will probably be a waste of time for them.

19 posted on 01/19/2011 9:07:54 PM PST by Walts Ice Pick ("I'm not going to shut up!" - Sarah Palin)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My friend the Compsci professor calls college “Day Care for Adults”. In his estimation it’s a place where certainly those that want to learn can do so but also it’s a place where you can go and you can basically screw up without it coming back to bite you.

Based on this theoretical groundwork he offers help to his students in the form of office hours, and the like, but if they decide to party their college life away he has no problem awarding them the grade that they earned by so doing.

I’m pretty sure colleges have been dumbed down to a great extent like the rest of our society.

Idiocracy!


20 posted on 01/19/2011 9:11:59 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

True enough - there will always be people who cheat with fake degrees, but earning a real degree in any major is an accomplishment for most people, and required for most good jobs.


21 posted on 01/19/2011 9:12:02 PM PST by Kukai
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To: max americana

“University of Youtube” —— LOL!


22 posted on 01/19/2011 9:13:52 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

From my own personal experiences and observations, college is less about learning and/or thinking than it is about regurgitation of the information selected by liberal instructors or professors. These people only want to see that you can parrot the things they believe are important.


23 posted on 01/19/2011 9:15:09 PM PST by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier preparing to deploy to Afghanistan)
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To: occamrzr06

Describes what I have seen too often.

I refuse to kiss anyone’s ass. It sickens me seeing the lying, lazy, and (often liberal) the lame get rewarded for it and the honest, working, responsible type get sucker punched.

I once worked for a guy who might have had a 6th grade education who turned spell check off on purpose, didn’t trust it. The junior super (50 year old with a spoiled brat 5 year old temper - had no real experience) was a professional ass kisser. He got away with all kinds of things as he kissed the 6th grader and the little lord aboves ass to no end.

50 yr old resented me because I didn’t play the game, knew more, was well liked by most producers/directors/staff because I was reliable, wasn’t dependent on anyone, married into a somewhat prominent local family, and treated people like people.

The guy lived to tell people what to do. Take that away and that would negate his whole purpose of being. He loved chasing people around with a form or report. Another thing was that 50 year old had to know every detail of everyone’s life so he could inform little lord above. He probably made stuff up to.

I finally left a few years back. It was about 6 mos later word got to me about how getting even simple things done around there was hard. It wasn’t that tough a job.

50 year old said often enough he was going to stay on to at least 65. I have heard now that he believes he can retire in the next few months. Actually having to work, be accountable, and taking orders is too much.

No hope for me going back as the place is very likely going to be really downsized, possibly done away with if it isn’t privatized as my friends there tell me.


24 posted on 01/19/2011 9:20:11 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: quadrant
I don't agree with the article.
My years at college were the most fertile learning experience of my life. My professors taught us how to think, to reason, to express. Many of these men - and they were all men - held strong views of the issues of the day - and in particular on the war in Vietnam.


So, you went to school 30+ years ago, and that's your basis for disagreeing with an article that describes the current state of academia? I think you should reflect anew on the quality of your education.

Also, if anyone has to be taught how to think by a college professor, then that person has no business enrolling in higher education. If you don't know how to think by the time you graduate high school, your destiny of academic incompetence is pretty much a done deal. In fact, whenever I hear professors, or teachers of any kind, claim to teach kids how to think, I believe that they really mean that they indoctrinate the living hell out of kids, so that they know how to think "correctly".
25 posted on 01/19/2011 9:23:48 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: Kukai

“earning a real degree in any major is an accomplishment for most people, and required for most good jobs.”

I agree and there seems to be a lot of class envy on this thread. A local oil and gas company recently hired a newly minted petroleum engineering grad with a starting salary of $95k per annum.


26 posted on 01/19/2011 9:28:21 PM PST by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

College is USELESS unless one has some real-life work experience first.


27 posted on 01/19/2011 9:28:59 PM PST by Hammerhead
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Now they tell me!!
28 posted on 01/19/2011 9:30:55 PM PST by Huntress (Who the hell are you to tell me what's in my best interests?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
To many people go to college. Not everybody needs to go to college to succeed. I didn’t and I make more money and have a happier life than many of the college grads I know that are my same age. And I didn't have a college loan to pay off.
29 posted on 01/19/2011 9:41:02 PM PST by NavyCanDo (Jan 2013 - Sarah Palin sees the Potomac from Her House)
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To: max americana

Youtube has gotten to be the “go to” resource for me. From computer issues to lawn mower repair, I always seem to be able to find a helpful video.


30 posted on 01/19/2011 9:47:44 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t believe college is a waste of time. The price is way to high; buy waste of time, no.


31 posted on 01/19/2011 10:15:02 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: max americana

Bingo! You are 100% correct. I was talking to my son about this tonight. He tried to give a friend’s son a job working for him at his internet company. This young man was a four year university graduate with a degree in web design and electronic media.

My son couldn’t hire the young man because he didn’t know anything about the work that my son required. He told my son that what little he had learned happened early in his course work and he didn’t remember any of it. Much of what he had learned and remembered was out of date. He had gone to school on scholarships so he was not loaded down with debt, but he has been sitting at home playing video games since he was graduated.

My son refused to blame the school. He said some kids go to college doing no more than what they are told to do and expect that to be good enough to get them somewhere. Some kids go to college, take the easiest classes they can find to graduate, and don’t even try to apply themselves. Other kids have a passion to learn about a subject so they listen to their professors, and look in libraries, on line: Youtube and peer to peer sites, any where they can for information on the topics that interest them. These students are the ones who will be successful graduates.

If you go to college without any ambition and think you can waste four years, get a degree, and have companies begging you to work for them, you’ve got a problem in this day and age. That expensive piece of paper has less importance in the information age.


32 posted on 01/19/2011 10:34:04 PM PST by Waryone (RINOs, Elites, and Socialists - on the endangered list, soon to become extinct.)
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To: Hammerhead
College is USELESS unless one has some real-life work experience first.

this is a good idea, and it worked for me... i was ready by then to take college seriously, especially because i was working full time while going to school...

33 posted on 01/19/2011 10:54:19 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: Straight Vermonter

I learned how to replace my laptop keyboard from Dell by watching a video on Youtube. It was the same exact model in the Youtube vid.


34 posted on 01/19/2011 10:58:15 PM PST by max americana
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To: Waryone

Exactly. When I went to university, the prerequisite to my major in Business Management was...poetry 101. I had no clue how you can apply Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson to financial analysis 106.


35 posted on 01/19/2011 11:05:42 PM PST by max americana
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I don't think college is a waste of time. You get out of it what you put in. I graduated in the late 90’s, had very good grades, and at times worked my butt off. Sometimes I drank to much, kissed up to lib Professors in order to keep my GPA high because I wanted to get into grad school (you learn quick which ones you have to do this for in order to get a good grade), and met life long friends and contacts. My degree has definitely helped me throughout my life.

My husband, on the other hand, was well into a masters program when he realized he didn't want anything to do with higher education, professionally speaking. He was there because it was what others expected of him. He was miserable. He ended up becoming a firefighter and couldn't be happier. Every student loan payment he made he'd grumble about how he'd wasted so much time and money at school, but I think he got a lot out of it, intellectually speaking, he just doesn't want to admit it.

The main problem with higher education today, to me, is that it's way over priced and students are more indoctrinated then ever. Those who can think for themselves become conservatives, those that swallow everything they're told hook, line and sinker are a large portion of the student body that will always unfortunately vote democrat.

36 posted on 01/19/2011 11:38:23 PM PST by MacMattico
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To: MacMattico

Oh, and yes I am replying to myself, but I’d like to add that my husband has just as many “smart” firefighter friends as he has “smart” PhD friends. They both have different skills and experiences, but the “educated elite” are often not so educated or elite! They just think they are and know what’s best for the rest of us.


37 posted on 01/19/2011 11:53:07 PM PST by MacMattico
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I completed my BA in Business Admin/Finance in the early 70s after two years in the Army, in Germany.

I went further, starting grad school while working full time in a job that required a Bachelors degree.

During grad work, I studied economics, writing a paper comparing post WWII West vs. East German economic performance.

This is how I became an economic conservative, in time for the 1976 emergence of Reagan as a viable candidate.

Sadly the GOP over time lost the connection to solid free market philosophy of Reagan, instead of adopting crony capitalism and socialism lite.

My hope is the new Republican majority will take up where Reagan left off.

College was very worthwhile for me, but I regret not finishing my MBA—I was already fast tracking up the promotion ladder, so I thought at the time.

You can get what you want from higher education, as with many aspects of life. It is no substitute for solid experience.


38 posted on 01/20/2011 12:18:50 AM PST by truth_seeker
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Our daughter just graduated from a private, Christian college and her experience is the opposite of what is reported in this article. Christian parents need to realize that the public system of education, including that from most government universities, is worthless. Sure, private institutions are expensive, but your student WILL get an EDUCATION rather than an INDOCTRINATION.


39 posted on 01/20/2011 5:03:31 AM PST by Madam Theophilus
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To: AlmaKing

That’s different from my son’s course.

He graduated in 2010 in mechanical engineering. I looked at each semester’s courses and there were no electives. The engineering course was engineering.

He may have had his choice of one or two engineering courses, but in the main there were no fillers.

He also took his initial professional exam.

Waiting on those scores.

*Still does not have a job.


40 posted on 01/20/2011 5:55:03 AM PST by OpusatFR
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To: fr_freak
I can't speak for other colleges, nor can I answer for the current state of academia.

You are sadly mistaken, sir, No one learns how to think without some degree of instruction. And high school is not the location to learn much of anything.
High school education is by definition compulsory. One had little choice of courses. Mostly, high school education is a cross between a manufacturing process and simply adolescent sitting. Most students attend class because they have to be there.

College education is voluntary. Its expensive and requires one to skip at least four years of work.
Again I can speak for no university except my own. No one attempted to indoctrinate me. As I said, professors had views - frequently strongly held views - but were open to the opinions of students. Free, frank, and open discussion was encouraged. No one (certainly not me or anyone I knew) was penalized for views contrary to those expressed by professors. Professors insisted only that views be clearly conceived and expressed - and that those views be backed by solid evidence. The evidence presented was required to be factual and interpretations derived from that evidence must be within the realm of credibility.

For example, one professor said that we could argue that a glass was half full or half empty, but we could not say that the glass did not exist, when we could put our hands around it. And he said we could argue whether the material used to construct the glass was Waterford crystal or common table glass; that is we could argue about the value of the glass. But we could not say the fluid in the glass was gin, when a chemical analysis demonstrated the fluid was water.

Reading lists were long and included books from a variety of points of view; and, at least in my classes, professors were open to students’ ideas about adding a book not listed on the reading lists.

I feel terribly sorry for you. I don't know where (or if) you attended college. If you were indoctrinated, you missed a time of life that could have been one of great joy. It was for me.

41 posted on 01/20/2011 9:01:13 AM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: quadrant
I feel terribly sorry for you. I don't know where (or if) you attended college. If you were indoctrinated, you missed a time of life that could have been one of great joy. It was for me.

Although there were plenty of idiot left-wing professors who spewed nonsense that I argued with in class, I didn't get indoctrinated. You know why? Because I already knew how to think for myself before I ever got to college, or high school, for that matter. Given that you seem to think that you lacked this skill until you came under the guiding hands of your divine professors, I'd have to say that your level of "thinking" is probably sub-par. Some things can be learned, but not taught.

Also, one of the nice things about this world is that there are cool things called books which people can read without some teacher holding their hands and whispering in their ears, which impart all kinds of information, opinion, and wonderful little stories. Young people who partake of those tend to learn how to think long before they ever get to one of our institutions of "higher learning". If you truly feel that the level of thought you were exposed to and forced to ingest as an college student represents a higher level than that which one can achieve when one thinks for himself, then I feel bad for what you'll never know.

A perfect analogy for all this just popped into my head: once upon a time, US Army Basic Training was simply that - training, because most of the guys who came into the service already had a lifetime of good physical fitness behind them. Nowadays, recruiters have to reject many for enlistment who are too fat, and the ones who do get in have to be physically rebuilt once in training just so they can perform the minimal requirements of the job. Our population's physical fitness has been dumbed down to where routine abilities are now considered almost exceptional. Likewise, our population has been dumbed down intellectually to where incoming college kids have to take high school or junior high school remedial English and math classes just to get to the basics for college level classes, which they might be lucky to hit by the time they graduate. Meanwhile, professors now feel that it is their job to teach kids how to think rather than putting them through the rigors of a classical education, which actually requires absorbing knowledge, and this is largely because those professors are dumbed down as well, and couldn't hold a candle, knowledge-wise, to your average high school graduate 100 years ago.

So, you can go ahead and feel enlightened because some dumbed-down college professors fed you dumbed-down curriculum because you and all of the other dumbed-down students never bothered to learn how to think for yourselves by cracking a book or solving a problem when you were younger, but, for the love of God, don't go pretending you're Plato.
42 posted on 01/20/2011 9:46:30 AM PST by fr_freak
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To: fr_freak
I studied under several professors whose views were left of center, yet not one made the slightest attempt to indoctrinate me. All encouraged freedom of thought and expression. None of my professors believed or seemed to believe that that they possessed any sort of divinity or that their views came from heaven carved on tablets of stone.

Whether my level of thinking is sub-par is for others to say. I would point out that several of my professors warned against rash judgments about the intelligence of others. None of my professors were perfect in any sense of the word, but all were humble enough to understand that unless one possessed divine omniscience, all categorical judgments should be taken with a grain of salt.

You are correct. Some things can be learned but not taught; but some refuse to learn, regardless of the method of instruction. And, please remember, that humility is the most difficult virtue to learn.

Thinking for ones self is very important, but such cogitation rarely imparts a respect for the opinions (and rights) of others. If memory serves, Muhammed constructed an entire religion, while thinking for himself in a cave.

I make no judgments about the current state of higher education. But I will state that if one expects students to possess thinking skills before entering college, one lives in a fantasy world. The current state of elementary and secondary education is so depressing as to drive a concerned citizen to thoughts of suicide when pre-college education is contemplated at any length.

A classical education does impart an ability to think and the ability to resist indoctrination. Another value of classical education is the ability to spot flaws in reasoning. I seem to remember that one fallacy was ad hominem attacks. You may consider my education “dumbed down”, but since you have no knowledge of the content, the use of epithets is little more than a personal attack. And thus not worth comment.

As to Basic Training in the US Army, I know little except from personal recollection. During the Vietnam War, I lived near Ft Jackson. The pitiful state of the training recruits received stood in stark contrast to the excellent training I received in boot camp at Paris Island.

43 posted on 01/20/2011 10:47:14 AM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: quadrant
I make no judgments about the current state of higher education. But I will state that if one expects students to possess thinking skills before entering college, one lives in a fantasy world.

See, this is the part where we have our greatest disagreement. I really don't see how you can claim that thinking begins at college. A person generally enters college at around 18, which is no longer a child. If one has not learned how to think for himself by that time, he will not learn it from anyone else. What he will learn from these professors, these self-styled guardians of knowledge, is WHAT to think, because if his head is empty of the ability to think when he gets to college, that hole will be filled with the thinking of those teaching the class, regardless of whether they are left-wing, right-wing or whatever.

Think of it this way - the human brain is like a gun. You aim it, you fire it at will. The only thing that the universities should be doing is feeding you ammunition. If they have to actually put the gun parts into your head, then show you where the trigger is, then your gun will fire the way they want it to fire, and at the targets they want.

My big objection to your seemingly innocuous assertion that your professors taught you how to think is that your attitude shows a blind acceptance that is all too common these days in our population and leads, quite frankly, to a level of gullibility and mindless obedience that I think is at the heart of our country's decline. These academics are not gods, and, quite often, they are not even competent academics. Virtually everything they say should be taken with a grain of salt. They may present facts incorrectly. They may present correct facts, but a flawed or fraudulent interpretation of those facts. They may lie outright, or they may simply not know what they are talking about, all the while being supremely confident that they are masters of the subject area. Once you understand that, it should be a mere baby-step to the conclusion that such people have no business teaching anyone how to think, and that any attempt to do so is an abominable breech of their station.

Furthermore, any passive acceptance of their claim to teach people how to think is merely a horrific subservience and subordination of one's own individuality and, quite frankly, humanity to a group of people whose only claim to such an honor is that they have had other like-minded people declare them to be elite. That acceptance is on par with the attitude that everything the government does is ok because they are the government and they know what's best for you. It is repugnant to a country of people who claim to be free, or at least value freedom.
44 posted on 01/20/2011 1:47:26 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: fr_freak
I never said that thinking begins in college.
By learning to think, I mean to think analytically, critically, rationally, rigorously, and to express those thoughts in a logical, coherent manner. More importantly, to learn to think means to have ones thoughts exposed to public comment (and occasional ridicule) and to be willing to accept criticism and learn from it.

I went to a private high school, one of the best in my area of the country. The instruction was excellent, but nothing taught or experienced prepared for the sort of examination to which my thoughts would be subjected in college.

The human brain is not a gun or a computer, both of which perform complex operations that were designed by others.
The brain is capable of subtlety and creativity.
Unlike any machine, the brain can heal itself, as we witness with the recovery of Rep Giffords.
Yet for all its power, the brain must be trained and not only trained but trained to be trained. The brain must learn how to learn. The brain must learn how to discriminate. Before the brain can become creative, it must be disciplined. And that sort of discipline does not happen in high school.
I'm not arguing that an occasional prodigy doesn't express itself at a very early age, but such individuals are the exception and not the rule. In fact, their existence proves the rule.

I “accepted” very little of the substance of my professors’ arguments. To this day, I still laugh at the folly of some of their opinions.
I learned from my professors not opinions, but the willingness to criticize - and especially to criticize the opinions expressed in class by anyone and everyone. I learned not to passively accept anyone’s opinion. And I learned how to criticize. I learned how to separate fact from opinion.

I feel sorry for you. If you went to college, your years must have been miserable indeed.

45 posted on 01/20/2011 3:07:54 PM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: latina4dubya

yep...working on my grad degree online...single dad with two kids. lots of cursing at 1am.


46 posted on 01/20/2011 8:06:55 PM PST by Hammerhead
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To: quadrant
I feel sorry for you. If you went to college, your years must have been miserable indeed.

Bah. Getting a degree was nothing more than getting a necessary ticket punched. There was no reason for it to be miserable, regardless of its validity. One just has to recognize it for what it is. So many students get those warm and fuzzy feelings from college because they wrap themselves in the illusion of knowledge and wisdom, rather than acquiring any actual knowledge or wisdom. If they manage to grow as they go through life, they eventually realize how much of it was just pablum. However, it appears that you still haven't recognized things for what they are, and for that, I feel bad for you. I'm sure your college years were pure bliss, in the same way that naive childhood can be, but it is sad to see in adulthood.
47 posted on 01/21/2011 8:49:33 AM PST by fr_freak
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To: fr_freak
Those who scoff do so at their own peril.
Its useless and foolish to argue with you.
You have a closed mind - the sort of mind that college is designed to open. I admit that - at least these days - college may lead in the opposite direction, but at its best, college should develop the tools to open the mind.
You have a cynical mind, a mind that sneers and denigrates any experience that may broaden and enlarge the human spirit.
Worse, you have a bitter mind - a mind that claims to stand on principle, yet whose words betray an envious spirit governed by a pride that will not allow for an admission of error, dissenting opinion, or different experience.
48 posted on 01/22/2011 9:26:32 AM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: quadrant
Its useless and foolish to argue with you.

Well, we finally agree on something.
49 posted on 01/22/2011 3:13:30 PM PST by fr_freak
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