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?
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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.
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.
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.
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.
First posted 1-9-09