RE: DSM: "Sudbury Universities"

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Sat Jun 09 2001 - 09:39:13 EDT


Hello, Ardeshir and all,

> But my point is that in institutions of so-called "higher" learning
> we have greater, not less, inertia and resistance to change than we
> have in elementary and secondary schools. Until the universities,
> colleges and research institutions of the world begin to throw off
> the shackles of indoctrination

What I take issue with universities is the "degree plan" and the reluctance
of many of them to allow people to take what they wish and experiement.
This was the problem I had when I went to school, and I just could not
justify the time and expense of taking classes that were worthless to me,
and I am in a business in which all that matters is skill, not academic
credentials.

It seems like some folks have a beef with the manner in which subjects are
taught; ideally, IMO, if a person did not like how a subject is taught they
should have the freedom to take something else or choose another school.

I think most colleges and universities have fairly forward-thinking people
teaching undergraduate-level fare, and the higher you go up into the
graduate-level courses, the more applied each subject is, and the more
variety is possible with regard to the way a subject is taught. So
naturally there will be controversy as to the nature of how an advanced
subject is taught.

But the student can take it or leave it. If they think Such & Such State
University has a crappy english program, they can go to So & So Humanities
U.

But don't get me wrong. I am not a big supporter of Universities per se. I
believe they are overrated. When Morley Safer cited statistics that
degree-holders make more, I cringed. Anyone who has learned statistics
knows that you cannot establish cause in a relationship like that, and in
any case that number references, in the mean, folks that went to school
twenty years ago (so it is off-point to what Danny was saying about how the
value of a college degree has changed). Too bad Safer didn't listen too
well in his statistics 101 class.

Today the relationship between a college degree and material success is
dissolving, as anyone who is currently at that point in their life knows.
It takes at least two college degrees in most subjects to automatically be
considered an authority in something (huge generalizations here).
Meanwhile, give a kid a computer and access to Logo, Access, Oracle, Visual
Basic, ActiveX and C++; given interest he's learned more in two years than a
college could teach in six.

And I don't think anyone has ever argued that going to college is
automatically a way to a happy and satisfying life.

Joe Jackson

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