Tag: education


Is College a Scam?

What do Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Mark Cuban have in common?

They’re all college dropouts.

Richard Branson, Simon Cowell and Peter Jennings have in common?

They never went to college at all.

But today all kids are told: To succeed, you must go to college.

Hillary Clinton tells students: “Graduates from four-year colleges earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates, an estimated $1 million more.”

We hear that from people who run colleges. And it’s true. But it leaves out some important facts

That’s why I say: For many people, college is a scam.


As a current part time college student, and 8 or 9 years worth of college credits, I can understand, and sympathize, with Mr. Stossel on his beliefs about college. I received my MSIT after I’d already written a number of books in my field.

College started as a deeper education for fields that really needed deeper education, such as ministers, lawyers, and teachers, but it really has become something of a scam for most students —an excuse to further the indoctrination started in high school (to be a good communal citizen, rather than to think) while paying the salaries of a bunch of people who hate the society that supports them.

My argument would be: if you’re going to college to get a degree in a technical or engineering field, or in an area where the additional training is really helpful, then go. If you want to teach, or be a doctor, go to college. If you’re going because you have a passion for a field of study, and really want to learn more, then go.

Remember that the point of education, in general, is not to make people more useful for society, but rather to make better people —for personal fulfillment, to follow a passion, to reach a goal, to learn (gasp!) about God. As long as our idea of education is trapped in “making a better worker,” or “making more money,” or “making a better/more compliant citizen,” then education will always be a scam.

If you’re going to college because you’re convinced you’ll earn more because of a piece of paper, or because your friends are going, or because you’re trying to “find yourself,” then don’t. Spend some time in the real world, find out what it is that you can really be passionate about (other than yourself), and then go. Life is long, there’s time to go to college when you’ve a bit wiser.

Of course this runs counter to our current love of youth, and our current attempt to extend childhood as long as possible. But that’s the point.


Yet Another Reason to Take Your Kids Out of Public Schools

I believe strongly in the pedagogy of Paulo Freire: “Read your own reality to write your own history.” I want to give my students the tools to critically examine and understand the world around them, to feel passionate and empowered to change injustice when they see it, and, in doing so, to become shapers of their future. So I carefully explained that not only our school—but also all schools within MPS—would experience budget cuts next year. I then zeroed in on the cuts at our school. “Remember how I have told you that when you think something is unfair, there is always something you can do to try to turn the unfair situation into a fair one?” Many chimed in that they remembered being told this.

I drew a T-chart on the board. I told them to think about two things: the effects of the budget cuts on our school, and what they deserve in their education. As students had an idea, they wrote it on a Post-it note and affixed it to the appropriate column. We then grouped our comments into categories.

Now that they had a clearer idea of the negative effects the budget cuts would have on our school, juxtaposed with the kind of education they wanted and deserved, I asked the students to think of ways we could try to make this unfair situation a fairer one: “What can we do as a class to make a difference?” I divided the students into four groups and asked each group to decide on one person to take notes and another person to report back to the whole class. “OK, you have five minutes for your discussion.”

I learned that laying a social justice foundation for young students is a complex process. I learned when issues are addressed, they need to be revisited many, many times. I also learned that my students are not afraid to speak up about deserving a good education and that they expect to be heard.

Rethinking Schools

The author? A third grade (!) teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools.

What are her children learning year after year?

That it’s “unfair,” when there’s not enough money to buy all the things you think you “deserve.”

That you “deserve” good things, because… Well, just because.

That you can only learn if you have a small class size and an art teacher.

That mean people in the government are responsible for all the problems you face.

That there are no tradeoffs in life. It’s just a matter of pushing until you get what you think is “fair.”

That the money the government has is “magical money.” It doesn’t come from anyplace, it just is.

Did you think that the public schools were mostly focused on teaching math, English, and science? You’re wrong. What they do teach is “social justice.”

Think about that the next time you drop your kid off in front of the public school building.


On Ethical Foundations

The height that a structure can achieve is limited by the strength of its foundation. Therefore, I suggest that university students should be provided with a strong foundation concerning the true nature of ethics, where they come from, the role that one’s ethics play in virtually all of life’s decisions and the benefits of living according to a personal set of ethical principles or form of ethical reasoning. …ethics are our source of strength to resist the tyranny of the supposed consensus, the emotional draw of the mob, the intimidation of the collective and the pull of ignoble emotions. Only by holding a set of ethical principles inviolate can an individual have the strength and fortitude to walk the path less traveled. –National Association of Scholars

Every person who has been willing to stand against the crowd has had a strong ethical base from which to start. We marvel at the fortitude of someone like William Wilberforce, and his fight against slavery in England. He stood against the tide of a million men with little more than a conviction that slavery was wrong, and must be ended no matter what the cost. We go to the point of making inspirational movies about such men, in the hopes of inspiring millions.

But when you get to the base of what modern society teaches, we suddenly revert to the latest Barbie movie.

Teach your students that the choice of one’s set of ethics or manner of ethical reasoning is the free choice of one’s own standards of personal conduct and, as such, is the greatest act of individuality and freedom. … Beware that students often have difficulty grasping the concept of values, because they have not been encouraged to think freely about what they truly value above all else. This self-questioning should be part of learning about ethics.

To put this in plain words, “figure out what your dream is, decide on it, and then stick to it no matter what —this is the foundation of ethics and ethical behavior.” Marx was right, then, to stick to his dream of building a new collectivist society at the cost of millions of lives. Stalin was right to follow this dream through enforced famines, and imprisoning Americans who moved to Soviet Russia to help build factories and farms in gold mining operations in the Siberia.

All this teaches is that the means is always ethical, as long as you’ve “freely” chosen the end.

And we wonder what’s wrong with modern college education? With public schools? It’s not what you don’t learn that will hurt you; it’s not the lousy math education that really destroys a nation. A person can learn math when they’re 10 or 100, it makes no difference. What hurts is the idea that ethics are “freely chosen,” like a dream, and that as long as they are “freely chosen,” they are okay. That it’s okay to choose an ethic of “following the crowd,” as long as you’ve freely chosen it.

No wonder when the smallest crisis blows through our society, people fall like dominoes. To decry “situational ethics,” and then to state that your ethics should be based on the relationships you “hold most dear,” in the same article, just sentences apart —here we have a problem with simple clear thinking. But this sort of double thinking abounds in our culture; it is the darling child of our colleges.

There is one relationship on which you can really build any sort of ethics. A relationship with God. For the only way to build ethics on a relationship is to have a permanent relationship —and human relationships, particularly in the school years, are notoriously fickle and short lived.

As long as we are teaching this sort of nonsense in our schools, we can expect to see the continued decline of our society.


On Academic Freedom—

To understand the enduring popularity of this one core academic doctrine amidst the ruins of so many other core doctrines we have to recognize that “academic freedom” means one thing to academic traditionalists and something radically different to academic progressives. Traditionalists view academic freedom as something like a limited access highway. It permits great freedom of movement, but it has its own rules and it doesn’t go everywhere. Academic freedom is not a license for driving west in the eastbound lane, for parking your car in the median, or careering recklessly across the road. Progressives, on the other hand, view academic freedom as something like a can opener. It is good for opening things up and that’s about it. –National Association of Scholars

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