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News & Politics News & Politics

The ‘Investment’ of Higher Education

Posted by on Mar. 3, 2014 at 1:24 PM
  • 7 Replies
1 mom liked this

What do Harry Potter, Lady Gaga and Star Trek have in common? Each is the subject of courses offered at supposedly serious American colleges and universities. It’s no wonder then that according to a recent survey by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation, only 11% of today’s business leaders “strongly agree” that college graduates offer the skills needed in the real business world, while 88% want more connection between the business and college arenas. Apparently, studying the intricacies of Lady Gaga’s unique wardrobe won’t support a family in the real world – shocking, we know.

Meanwhile, Gallup found that 96% of college and university chief academic officers are “extremely or somewhat confident” that their schools produce job-ready candidates. We wonder how many of these administrators have ever worked outside academia. Barack Obama wants the U.S. to have the highest proportion of college grads in the world by 2020. Just what we need – diploma-toting experts in the invented Klingon language who, sadly, think the world needs their “knowledge.”

All this is not to say higher education is worthless. The survey found 95% of the general public thinks some post-high school education is necessary, but the vast majority believes such education should focus more on useful skills. The question is what is a college education worth? The nation’s student debt has far surpassed credit card debt and now exceeds $1 trillion – up from $253 billion just 10 years ago. And as college tuitions continue to skyrocket, making those loans even more necessary, perhaps one of those useful skills would be knowing that paying money to study the science of superheroes may not be the best investment.

by on Mar. 3, 2014 at 1:24 PM
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Replies (1-7):
Liastele
by New Member on Mar. 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I see no issue in taking Harry Potter 101 as your fine arts elective instead of film appreciation or art history. For most students, all fine arts choices are equally worthless classes, but fine arts and humanities are requirements for graduation for any field.

PamR
by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

The courses are obviously electives, which no student has to take. 

timeforprogress
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2014 at 3:01 PM

These classes are usually low level elective credits taught by graduate students.  They are not intended to teach someone about Harry Potter, but to develop certain skills in fun and interesting ways.  So in the Harry Potter case the skills would be critical thinking and writing.  

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Mar. 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

 Yeah, you may have accidently swerved into the real problem, right there.

Quoting Liastele:

I see no issue in taking Harry Potter 101 as your fine arts elective instead of film appreciation or art history. For most students, all fine arts choices are equally worthless classes, but fine arts and humanities are requirements for graduation for any field.

 

The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend.
Sometimes the Enemy of my Enemy is just another Enemy.
The trick is to know when.
Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

ok, in our house, college is mandatory. The expectation is a minimum of a bachelors degree. I do think times have changed. My parents did n't go beyond high school, and are highly successful in terms of money, and htye worked very hard. My in-laws, both have master's degrees, and aren't anywhere as wealthy. they however chose degrees that don't make any money (social work and education.) So, all the time in the degree, for which they are quite arrogant, didn't get them any further.

I too have a graduate degree,but chose well and could make a lot of money with it if I chose to. That is the type of degree we are encouraging for our kids.

Is an advanced degree a gaurantee? No. I'd even suggest a technical skill as well, in addition. In this age, with jobs the way they are, there are no gaurantees. It's like the depression era, college doesn't equate to a job.

As for the odd electives, I suspect they are to fill a gap, be interesting and they hopefully teach some critical thinking. That's one of the goals of higher education to learn how to think critically. I'd suspect too that it fills some required category somewhere. I personally hope that when my kids are there, they will use thier electives wisely. One college we toured offered enough elective credits to obtain a pilots license...its all in what they choose.

UpSheRises
by on Mar. 3, 2014 at 4:17 PM

In the spirit of real conservatism, i have no problem with students studying what they see fit.

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Mar. 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Lady Gaga..YOU HAVE GOT to be kidding. What has our nation become..a whole  HOLLYWOOD themed park, even in the education dept.? . I wanted to throw up when I saw her atire and how she was talking with the muppets.. AND that's WAY before college..


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