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Friday, March 7, 2014

Consumer based education - the errosion of society

Is choosing a school like choosing a brand of television, clothing or food?

Should the consumer decide what it worth learning, what they need to know and how they wish to learn it?

I recently watched a television program where a group of young vampires were out to take over and run the world. The older vampire tried to tell them they were not ready, that they did not have the experience, patience and eduction to be the leaders and custodians of society. Of course they laughed him off, since at their age they felt ready and qualified for anything.

Should the buyer determine the inventory? What is taught? How much to pay?

To continue, click on "read more" below...

Faculty are making, in read adjusted incomes, less than they did ten years ago and far less than at what be the height or American public education, the late 1960's and early 70's. That's full time faculty, which may be a dieing breed. It seems that the students, or consumers, expect teachers to do their jobs and do them well at pay levels the student consider fair. And students constantly complain about courses they are "forced" to take, ones they feel have no bearing on their lives or their futures. Classes such as history, philosophy, communication and art history.

Should the public, as a consumer, determine what constitutes an education?

Define education. Can society operate without a well balanced educational base? Yes, but lost will be the leaders, thinkers and the very foundation of Democracy, and educated voter base. I know of a school teacher who does own a single book. I am including e-books! This person is leading, teaching and influencing a future generation while not believing in or practicing the literacy tool of reading.

Should the marketplace determine what students should study and why?

To some extent yes. If we need more plumbers, than train plumbers. But at the same time there are basics of education that need to be offered whether or not the marketplace sees it that way. The US is well behind in support of the arts, yet studies show that students exposed to the arts do better in other areas and become better overall citizens.

Is a fast basic education without liberal arts and higher reasoning skills the same value as the education most students now want and receive?

If doing one task without advancement, if one career or direction is what the student desires, then an education based on immediate wants and needs, and not in liberal arts, may work for the student. But the average teenager will, by conservative estimates, have thee to five careers (not jobs, full careers) in their life time. To change careers requires a foundation of education and understanding that may be fading form the American educational landscape.

Are we seeing an erosion of traditional education, the type that gave birth to democracy and an informed society, in favor of consumer demand?

Only 27% of faculty at colleges and universities are full time. Fewer jobs are open in liberal arts, including English. The new normal is business, hands on work place and “what can I do to earn more money fast?”

Colleges are catering to this mentality. Private and so called “colleges” are springing up at an amazing rate, helping students to run up student loan debt while “teaching” them or “credentialing” students in areas the student thinks will earn them large amounts of money once they graduate.

The skills that help in life are on the decline.

Communication is considered the number one most desired trait by business, yet required achievement levels in English, Oral Communication and areas that help student learn higher thought processes are being lowered without protests.

History, philosophy, psychology, sociology, social anthropology, and all of the arts are being dropped from requirement or taught as an adjunct geared specifically to business or specific limited focus trades.

How will this impact the future of our society? Some experts say it already has, and we are seeing the results in loss of jobs, the recession and an increase in “errors” or “mistakes” we have to deal with in our everyday lives.

In the 1960's a college faculty was full time, with less than ten percent part time, and usually in highly specialized areas. In the late 1970's, 74% were full time, with about a third of all college professors tenured (now down to less than ten percent nationally). Teaching and research were professions, with the sacred missions of preserving society, understanding the universe and challenging students to make the most of their future.

Fewer tenure track positions are available, down 24% this year from last.

Younger and less experienced faculty, themselves the result of a decaying lower level education system, are being hired for a wide range of reasons, from lower entry level pay to the need to “identify” with the students.

Hiring conferences are canceling positions and while still advertising, fewer and fewer positions are being actually filled.

Community colleges are being used for the first two years of college, but budget cuts, mission and other reasons may mean that community college degrees do not really meet the transfer or knowledge requirements. Fully half of community college dollars in the US are going to teach high school and even more remedial than high school level courses preparatory for college. This, it is said, leads to a high drop out rate as students give up. They passed exist exams and got their high school degrees only to find out that they are not ready for college or even career training in many areas.

"The theory of creative destruction" comes into play as society, meaning the populist and the common man, demands something they see as value over what may really be needed to make a whole and creative person.

Be careful.

You may get what you want instead of what you need.

Sources: Marketplace, NPR, PRI, Chronicle of Higher Education, Time.

First posted 1-9-09


Clint Alexander said...

we need to keep the requirements that the educated leaders deem necessary to the collegian. i am all for any required classes that will help me in being educated, not being rich.

Anonymous said...

Our educational system need to be refurbished from fifth grade and up. More skill building and life essentials needs to be added to the curriculum before you get to high school. So when you get to college you are better prepared for society. Communication, sociology, psychology and personal finance are all issues young adults have getting out of high school. Without the knowledge of THEM ALL we will become a falling generation; only showing minor progress with through technology and greed.
It is an insult to students and educators everywhere, anytime there is a problem with a budget that education is the first to be cut. I am sure there are far more place money can be saved, yet no one wants to take the time and find where money is being wasted. Sooner than later we all will suffer. I’m afraid to see who will run the country (or anything for that matter) with all the cuts in education. We have already witness what some people do with lack of education. Is that really where we are trying to go in the future?
Jasmine Gipson
Com101 Sec940

Tritcy I. said...

We all need to be educated in order for us to move ahead in life. We cant be leaders if we dont know what the heck we're doing. Education is a necessity in this world, so everybody should try hard ion order to reach the leader position.