Animal’s Daily News

Bear SpeechA good bit on higher education:  Americans Think We Have the Best Colleges.  We Don’t.  Excerpt:

Americans have a split vision of education. Conventional wisdom has long held that our K-12 schools are mediocre or worse, while our colleges and universities are world class. While policy wonks hotly debate K-12 reform ideas like vouchers and the Common Core state standards, higher education is largely left to its own devices. Many families are worried about how to get into and pay for increasingly expensive colleges. But the stellar quality of those institutions is assumed.

Yet a recent multinational study of adult literacy and numeracy skills suggests that this view is wrong. America’s schools and colleges are actually far more alike than people believe — and not in a good way. The nation’s deep education problems, the data suggest, don’t magically disappear once students disappear behind ivy-covered walls.

For another take on this, read Stuart Schneiderman’s analysis here.

Both articles miss one of our major problems with our institutions of higher education, and that is the continued – nay, the increasing offering of crap degrees.  The recent, unwashed, unfortunate “Occupy” movement was rife with examples of recipients of such degrees:  Dupes who, having been awarded degrees in such areas as Derp BearWomen’s Studies or Underwater Dog Polishing, are now unable to find “suitable work,” and are protesting to have others (taxpayers, the productive, people who made better life decisions than they) pick up their tab.

With a crap degree one may expect to have a crap career.  As stated a thousand or more time in these pages, it is not the legitimate role of government to protect people from the consequences of bad decisions.

With that said, it is bordering on fraud for universities – which are taxpayer-supported – to offer crap degrees.  The several States should take steps to correct this.

  • Bopsea

    “It is not the legitimate role of government to protect people from the consequences of bad decisions.” BINGO !!
    Shouldn’t the old adage: “Let the Buyer Beware” play into this issue(s)?
    It seems to me that the student (alone) should be the one responsible for the degree program they choose. Just as the potential career path should be.
    As far as the University system is concerned, if enough students sign up for any given degree program to justify offering it, then offer it.

    If the student pursues a degree in “Underwater Dog Polishing”, then they should be aware that their career path should somehow involve the desire to polish dogs underwater. And I’d hope that they’ve done their homework (no pun intended) on available employment/advancement in said field prior to pursuing the degree. If not… Oh well. But don’t allow them to go running to the government for help if they can’t find work.

    What I hate seeing comes after the degree is “earned”. Employment/advancement and/or offers based on just having a degree (any degree) or a “higher degree” being made over any experience or knowledge (or other degree) of/in the actual job.
    And – When the person with an MBA from Harvard is passed over (for a business management related position) by the person with the PHD in Underwater Dog Polishing from The Online University of Just Send a Check, that really pisses me off.
    I guess that brings up another adage: “Let the Employer Beware”.

    • Animal

      The one concern I have is with the State university system – since these are State-subsidized institutions, the various State legislatures should exercise some control to prevent the offering of outright fraudulent degrees.

      Either that or (and this is preferable) eliminate government subsidy of higher education altogether, and let market forces determine what educational programs are a good return for the money spent.

      • Bopsea

        I like your “preferable”.
        Let’s (also) see how the “market forces” play into tuition as well.

      • Bopsea

        I’m not sure how/who would be able to determine what is/isn’t a “fraudulent degree”.
        If you base the criteria on employment and/or hiring rates into a given field or with a given degree, you’d run into issues with trends and sector/field floods (and the contrary). Many a legitimate degree holder has hit the unemployment wall by graduating with said degree too late or with far too many others holding the same skin. The market can only employ so many in a field, regardless of the validity of their degree.

        • Animal

          And I don’t have a good answer to that – except that things like “Minority Women’s Studies” assuredly always will qualify as fraud.