Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Curmudgeonly Look at Higher Ed

Prolific author James Schall offers what would be merely a typical rant against the current state of higher ed, were not the rant so eloquent. We will refrain from quoting, and nearly every sentence is quotable.

Reading Schall, we believe that much of our present confusion in higher ed stems precisely from what Schall rants about mostly in the beginning of his rantification: that we expect everyone to go to college, not just those with the abilities and preparation. Don Peck in Atlantic Monthly has what seems to be the proper answer: according greater emphasis, dignity and encouragement to educational ventures that put people in skilled trades.

Want to waste a human being's time? Send a marginally literate high school grad with no specific ambition to a community college for remedial coursework. Want to redeem a human being's time? Provide dignity, encouragement and support to adolescents and young adults who show potential as plumbers, HVAC technicians, machine-tool operators, and tool-and-die makers.


tom said...

And, by the way, those are jobs that won't get re-located to Asia or automated.

Thaudit said...

It's probable that learning a trade at a community college may expose you to less academic liberalism than "real college".
Sometimes I get surprised that there is as much momentum as there is with parents and sending their kids to state run institutions.
Real learning is hard to detect at many of these.

Anonymous said...

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford