Episode-578- Listener Feedback 1-03-11 — 117 Comments

  1. @kam, that summation i think is something everyone on this thread can agree with. I’m pleased that this thread has winded down to very common ground.

    There are so many societal pressures on our young people, many of which I have fallen victim to myself.

    Just remember… “the revolution is you”… we aren’t going to change this trend as a whole, but we can master our own destiny

  2. Nick:
    I’ve got a bit of an issue with the line “College teaches you how to think.” I knew how to think long before some university blessed me with that ability.

    I think it is more accurate to say that college (ideally) trains you to think about certain subjects in additional ways. A good university program can give you additional tools that you can use in your thinking process, and in the case of engineers, it is heavily focused on problem solving. Jack has mentioned many times that his time in the army taught him how to solve problems using a methodical process. His focused on fixing trucks, mine focused on various other systems which are in my particular branch of engineering.

    I’d say it is more accurate to say that college (or the Army) teaches you methods to use WITH your thinking. Saying it the other way implies that you don’t know how to think.

    Now, less optimistically, I think that colleges (and even primary and secondary schools) have become places that tell you WHAT to think. Unfortunately, there are many educators of questionable ethics that treat schools as indoctrination centers for political training, but that’s another subject I guess.

  3. @Kam –

    I don’t think you understood the meaning “how to think” was in my sentence. Do you assume I think literally neurons aren’t firing until people start college? Lets stop being so literal.. lol

    I’ve never, and will never, use calculus. I did not want to take calculus, I hated calculus.

    To say that I did not advance my ability to learn through having endured calculus would not be true.

    It seems the majority of your objections are centered around the costs of the credits and the time spent. When I look back on college my biggest regret wasn’t that I should have powered through faster… it was that I didn’t do a study abroad.

    I don’t measure stages in my life based on earnings lost or gained, but through the experiences I gained.

    Plenty of time to be an engineer and sit around at a desk on computers.

    Whether you are seeing the world as an armed forces officer or making the most of a college experience… it is better than being in the rat race.

    I agree that there are many people that squander the experience and also a great many others who simply can’t afford it. I don’t have the answer for those people. I won’t apologize for being somewhat privileged in that regard.

  4. Nick:
    Thanks. Yes, it seems that there is more common ground here than it appeared yesterday at this time.

  5. @kam & jack

    just wanting to sum it all up. I agree with both your takes on college for the most part. We might disagree on the experience of the student who “should” be there… but that doesn’t seem to be the main point of the argument here.

    Speaking of earning potential, I’ve got to get some work done today!

  6. Nick:
    I wasn’t really intending to put the “how to think” thing on you, and I am sure you understand that context, but I’ve encountered other people who do treat that statement quite literally.

    You are correct–costs (in time and money) are a major issue for me in regards to college. I do look back on my educational time and say “wow, so much time wasted.” I’m not just talking about college, but grade school and high school as well. The amount of repetition was very significant, and that system didn’t work for me. Now, admittedly, I didn’t know that at the time–I was able to breeze through Primary/Secondary school–and that seemed like a benefit, but it wasn’t. It was a waste of time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of (or the opportunities weren’t available) for alternatives. Live and learn I guess. I’m going to make sure that my child isn’t forced into that if it isn’t necessary.

    I agree that one’s life isn’t based on what one earns, and is based on one’s experiences, but college for me wasn’t an experience–it was a means to an end–one that was filled with things I didn’t like.

    If I didn’t have to spend time sitting in extraneous classes, I could have had time to experience life a bit more. Imagine if I didn’t waste that year–I could have worked a year ahead of time, but I also could have chosen to climb a mountain, or bike across the country, or whatever I wanted. Instead, I was doing what someone else decided was best for me–to make me “well rounded.”

    Well, I’ve never held other people’s views of what was best for me in very high regard, and I still don’t. That’s one of the reason I believe what I do.

    Clearly, it seems you got more enjoyment out of your college experience than I did. That’s great. I didn’t, and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I did, and I’m glad I accomplished what I did, and as I mentioned–I don’t stay up nights fretting over my lost time, but I’d not want anyone else to lose their time if they didn’t want to either.

  7. @Nick, I think this may be the episode with the most comments. I think the post with the most comments ever was when I lost my husky Lakota. The out pouring of support for that was amazing. Says something about how much more in common most of use really have then differences.

  8. @kam – this is why we all agree that “one size fits all” philosophies don’t work

    Also 100% agree that public high school was a massive fail! Look at any youtube comments thread and that is evident enough.

  9. Oh, back to Darcy’s homeschooling podcast… he quoted a stat that the average home-schooled kid is only in school for about 2.5 hours a day… contrast that against the average 8 hour day of high school… talk about wasted time!

    Though I will say it is pretty hard to chase girls when your hanging out with your mom all day! LOL

  10. Nick:
    I did listen to that home school podcast, and agree there is a lot of time wasted in a school day–not to mention just getting to and from school. Some sort of home schooling is definitely under consideration for my child.

    As far as public school failures…yes. I was pretty fortunate, in that the schools I attended were ok, but still wasted a lot of time (for me).

  11. The problem, from my perspective, with turning the traditional university setting into an ala carte menu is the university’s original purpose WAS to teach people a wide variety of subjects. That was the entire point. We can debate where that shifted into “career preparation” but that is another conversation all together.

    I’m currently reading a book called “Promised Land, Crusader State” by Walter McDougal. It chronicles the different stages of America’s Foreign policy position. Who was more “rounded” than Jefferson? Or Adams? Or Madison? These guys all came from different backgrounds, yet all had a love of learning–some formal (Adams and Hamilton and Jay) and some less so (Jefferson and Madison). In the end, even Jefferson made the founding of a university his life’s work. At that university, they didn’t just study law or farming or engineering; they studied classics, architecture, botany, and “commerce”-our modern day Economics.

    We can continue to debate the university setting as a “car dealership” or a “restaurant” but that was never the intent. The intent was to become “well read,” to develop critical thinking skills at a high level and to foster a life long desire to learn.

  12. Marauder:
    Well, first–I am not suggesting an ‘ala carte’ system. An engineering degree in a particular field does need to include certain specific things. All I said was to eliminate (or make optional) the unrelated subjects.
    Now, if there is no requirement to take French, and people determine for themselves that studying French has little value…well, it might not be offered at every school. Nothing wrong with that.

    As far as our Founding Fathers…many of them were also self-taught or independently educated. Hamilton as I recall, demanded that he follow his own accelerated course of study. And again–no one has suggested that anyone be forcibly limited to one subject. Nothing I’ve said would prevent someone from choosing to study any additional field should they wish to.

    However, weren’t you the one decrying people wanting to return to the 1880s? Isn’t your last post here an expression of devotion to an older model of the University? Also, I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing that in the Founding Fathers’ day, a much smaller percentage of people attended college, nor needed to. Additionally, I’m guessing that their tax money wasn’t being used to send people to college to pursue some nebulous goal or because they wanted to “party.” That being said…I think some of those Founding Fathers could really tie one (or ten) on.

    In my way of thinking anyone with the ability is free to pursue whatever learning opportunities they wish. They shouldn’t be required to study unrelated subjects, because someone has judged them to be deficient and not “well rounded” enough.

    Again, the problem isn’t the availability of various educational opportunities. No one has suggested that (that I’m aware of).

    Regardless of what the original intent of a university was, today, according to the statistics you state, an important reason being pushed is to earn more money–which is why that statistic is used in advertising.

    The mindset that over-elevates the importance of going to college (without regard to why, what is studied or what value it has) is in my view a harmful one. It creates as a partner a mindset that devalues people that do not attend college, and justifies painting people with a broad brush and diminishing potential and opportunities.

    I think our society has developed an obsession with “education” without regard for knowledge, or ability. A degree is often used as a lazy-man’s filter for those who can’t be bothered with evaluating someone. The glut of people with degrees enables this, and perpetuates it, and it becomes a vicious circle, where now a bachelor’s degree isn’t even sufficient. Now you’ve got to have a Master’s degree. MBAs are a recent push. “Oh if you want to get anywhere in business, you’ve got to have an MBA.”

  13. The cameras in Easton I think may be set up as license plate readers. One of the depts over that way wanted to check plates for warrants or expired tags or insurance. Though Penndot probably shot them down for doing that.