DailyDirt: Higher Education, Not So High-Minded Anymore?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Going to college used to be a reliable education path to a well-paying career -- as well as a way to create a society of engaged and informed citizens. The workforce has changed a bit over the last few decades, and college degrees aren't necessarily the best indicators of employee performance anymore. Sure, everyone still needs an education, but being able to learn on your own and pick up skills years after you've been handed a diploma are far more important than where that diploma was printed. Considering that student loans are rarely ever forgiven, people might want to choose their institution of higher learning with a bit more deliberation. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

Filed Under: college, degrees, education, mooc, teaching, university, wisconsin idea
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 6:07pm

    OK, last time I heard anything about StumbleUpon it was not good, why are we shilling that in so many posts (newbie here)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 31 Mar 2015 @ 6:11pm

    "meets the state's workforce needs."

    At least he's being about wanting educated slave labor...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 7:19pm

      Re:

      No, they want an uneducated and ill informed populace as they are easier to rule. How smart does one need to be in order to repeat the phrase "Do you want fries with that?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 8:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Eh....To be honest I think the colleges are just being brought down by good old fashioned "regular" corruption; the kind involving money, and special interests, and power, and so forth and so on etc. etc.

        What you're talking about I think they did to Elementary, Junior High, and High School. Much easier; just hold the Federal funding hostage until the schools cave to your every demand (assuming they can resist in the first place).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 5:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "just hold the Federal funding hostage until the schools cave to your every demand"

          What makes you think this is not happening at both the fed and state levels when it comes to funding higher education? Decreased fed & state funding is the main reason for tuition increases in higher education.

          Not sure what sort of corruption you are addressing, could it be sports related?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 10:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, I'm talking about corporate financing for academic studies, peddling influence, shuffling people out of the system who oppose the current agenda, going easier on some students yet harder on others for non-academic reasons, that kind of shit. Really, I see universities as the architects of their own demise. The whole "we want 'em niiiiiice and dumb" thing is what they did to the lower tiers of education. Universities can supplement their funding (though there again you have to be _extremely_ careful not to introduce more corruption into the system), but I've yet to hear of a public Middle School that could remain open a whole day without the Feds.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 5:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Universities can supplement their funding"

              Yup, they can do that by sucking up to the corporate types that want undue influence on curriculum. I suggest this is a sub optimal solution.

              Federal and state funding of higher education has been declining for some time now. The result can be seen in the exorbitant loans students are being shackled and the reduction of tenured professors. This is not a good trend and it has a very long recovery period.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 4:18pm

      Re:

      That said, I fail to see how ideological nonsense like Creation Design or Transgender Poetry has anything to do with the requirements of any job in today's economy.

      Theology school is only good if you have a goal of joining ISIS or fleecing megachurch attendants as a career. Chip-on-shoulder micro-aggression BS is only good if you want to make a living as a dynamite-thrower on Jezebel or MSNBC.

      Not sure where any of that fits into the job requirements for systems analyst or CPA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bri (profile), 31 Mar 2015 @ 8:10pm

    "meets the state's workforce needs"

    That's called a technical school, an apprenticeship, etc. Universities are not necessarily meant to prepare you for the work force. They are supposed to promote higher thinking and discovery.

    Scott Walker keeps on talking about improving Wisconsin's workforce, but targeting the University is only going to make sure people don't respect the degrees you get from there. If he wants workforce ready places of learning, they already exist. It's called a technical school. Or an apprenticeship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 8:30pm

      Re:

      I already don't respect the degrees from universities. Not unless it's high caliber (more than BA) and from an extremely respected institution. Too much corruption, just like the article says. If they're willing to be bribed with a new east wing or whatever just so they'll give the son of the businessman "donating" it a break (happens all the time), then we've already established they're fine with shit like that in principle, all that needs haggling over is the asking price. Not to mention half of them operate like loan-scam machines these days: get out of college with a worthless degree (I'm _not_ talking about Liberal Arts) to discover you don't have a job (because everyone else has your degree, which is what made it worthless), and then spend the rest of your life trying to pay off that student lone working a shit job (or go back to school- incurring _more_ debt- and hope you get lucky this next go around).

      No thanks, I'll just try my luck in Canada.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 12:31am

        Re: Re:

        get out of college with a worthless degree ... to discover you don't have a job

        That is why, if you can get out of Medical College as a Doctor you emigrate out and not return.

        A US money judgement isn't gonna follow you outside the nation, is it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 7:20am

        Why *isn't* liberal arts worthless?

        Or what else did you mean by this statement?
        these days: get out of college with a worthless degree (I'm _not_ talking about Liberal Arts) to discover yoou don't have a job
        Be honest, now: What viable professions, i.e. those with a livable wage that allow you to afford to pay rent and at least put gas in your clunker, can the average student (not Ivy grades) obtain with a BA in history or English from State U.?

        Teaching doesn't count as a "worthwhile" profession in this case. The pay is garbage and you have to be a masochist or a Zen monk to be able to withstand the hellions in K-12.

        How many 99%-ers with psych degrees from public universities are getting good jobs with benefits at State Street? Or more likely, if they're not "occupying" Central Park along with every other homeless bum in New York, are they going to work as "baristas" at Starbucks hashtagging coffee cups to spark discussions about social issues?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 8:19pm

    Governments (including state-controlled universities) shouldn't generally be selling off things like parking lot rights. The university presumably still needs the parking lots. You're just forcing your students and staff to pay more to park for the next 50 years.

    Our CFO, the guy who orchestrated this deal, has just landed a very lucrative job with the Australian firm he sold the parking to.


    I really shouldn't be surprised by that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2015 @ 9:40pm

    Highschool dropout here

    I make a six figure salary despite my non-liberal, uneducated, high school drop-out ass.

    The education system is a joke. Anyone willing to learn will learn. All of those self entitled crybabies graduating from college with a saddle full of debt, zero experience, combined with a head full of ignorance, piss, and vinegar are starting realize just exactly what they did not get from college.

    The entire education system in America is immensely screwed up. If you think its actually good, then understand that you see a stupid person every time you look in the mirror.

    I cannot practically remember a single thing that grade school taught me. I have also learned to program finding out that needing to be good at math was a total lie. I learned to read on my own and studied science on my own. I have come to the conclusion that politics are so entrenched in science and education that it will never recover without shattering the current paradigm.

    In my experience here I can tell you without a shred of doubt. Look at any profession and at least 50% of the people holding a lower or higher degree are actually some of the most ignorant, clueless, backward flipping idiots you will ever meet. People are stupid, the world is stupid, Higher education makes just exactly zero effort to remedy this, because they need people to remain ignorant to peddle their worthless ideas and make money off of the ignorant people that believe they are actually here to help them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bri (profile), 31 Mar 2015 @ 11:12pm

      Re: Highschool dropout here

      There is nothing wrong with not going to a university. Heck more people SHOULDN'T be going to university and should instead be getting their career started. A lot of the degrees handed out nowadays, especially the most popular ones, will not get you where you want to go.

      However, for things like the STEM fields, or people who want to go into academia research for history, archeology, etc, it's extremely important. For the 900+ psychology majors who got a BA, probably not so much. But the ones who got a BS are likely going into a research or medical field, and for them the degree is important. It gives them the basis for their career,

      I'm in astronomy, a few years out from my PhD, and there is no way you can get the experience you need without going to a university. There are some things you cannot do without going through the years of academics.

      Often one thing you learn in classes at universities is not something like "this is how you program" but instead "this is how you program for optimal efficiency and why this is how it works". You learn the basic principals of the methods, not just how to do it. Understanding why you should use one method over another and the theory behind it is useful for further discovery and invention. You can get buy a lot on just teaching yourself, both my godfather and father who have 6 figure jobs did that, but sometimes they go through a lot of extra effort figuring something out re-inventing the wheel when, if they had learned it in a class, they would have learned the basic methods behind what they are doing and the solution would have fallen out naturally. It's not for everyone and certainly you can't say they weren't successful because they didn't go to university, but you can't say other people in the same situation could just figure it out on there on.


      Also, if you can do basic math for your taxes or anything really, you do remember things from gradeschool, and even from middle school if you ever "solve for x when you have y etc".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 1 Apr 2015 @ 7:59am

        Re: Re: Highschool dropout here

        "Often one thing you learn in classes at universities is not something like "this is how you program" but instead "this is how you program for optimal efficiency and why this is how it works"."

        Which you learn better through experience than in school. In software engineering, a degree highly optional. There's a reason that nearly all software engineering job listings say it requires a cs degree "or equivalent experience".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 7:23am

        Re: Re: Highschool dropout here

        Why do we need any more academic researchers in history or archaeology? It's not like anything new or useful is going to come of digging in the dirt or analyzing Malcolm X's diaries to death.

        It's high time we cut the chaff out of the research departments too. Everyone knows Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Nobody cares about the why and it's not worth spending tax dollars on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 10:18am

      Re: Highschool dropout here

      With some very few exceptions, I agree with pretty much everything you say. If it's allowed, please elaborate further on the "I have also learned to program finding out that needing to be good at math was a total lie.".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 6:20pm

      Re: Highschool dropout here

      Education provides knowledge (the system likes to think they are the only qualified source).

      Education, plus experience, plus training provide skill.

      Skill is what you sell to an employer or a customer.

      Educational institutions market their likelihood to provide education but often fail in the experience and training departments. After having helped to start and apprenticeship training program with an industry related organization, a local Community College contacted me and asked me to review their curriculum in related fields. I mentioned that they lacked in the training area and they reiterated to me that they were a college, not a training institution. I told them to never send their graduates to us for hiring, as more basics (training) were required even at the most basic entry level hourly employee job, let alone the higher level their graduates would expect.

      I do not have any advanced degrees, but I have had control over 4000 employees at one time. I did not stop learning when I got out of school, though retired, I haven't quit yet. I was benefited by excellent training, more due to the mentors I was exposed to than the corporations I worked for. Sad.

      The problem comes up when HR departments or hiring managers place great emphasis on certain background (degrees) and fail to understand the difference between what one knows, and what one can do.

      A friend who was Director of HR for 500 person affiliate of a multinational organization (later a regional VP HR) began attending an EMBA program. She came to me for assistance with that course because she know 1) that I would help her and 2) that I knew my stuff (she got an A on the final paper I wrote for her (long explanation of how that happened for a different day)).

      Later, in a conversation one day she talked about how they were going through 5000 resumes per month and what they were doing to balance the workload in her 2.5 person office. (Early 90's, they were just getting into computers reading resumes) and I pointed out to her that if she were recruiting in my industry, I would never get an interview under her system. The silence was extensive...

      Whole point, the above high school dropout has it right. The difficulty is in motivating people to continue learning, and helping them to learn the things they need for their path, and then (big drum roll here) getting employers to recognize the difference between what one knows and what they can do, even when our resumes are machine read and discarded.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 2 Apr 2015 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re: Highschool dropout here

        Well said. I've encountered a shocking number of people who equate "learning" with "going to school". It's a false equivalency. School is one tool to help you learn, but it's not the only one and isn't even necessarily the best one, depending on what you're trying to learn.

        "I did not stop learning when I got out of school, though retired, I haven't quit yet."

        The moment you stop learning is the moment you start becoming brain dead.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 12:57am

    Frankly I'm waiting (and fearing) more an more for the day when you'll need a college degree to flip burgers and a doctorate to be hired as a junior engineer.
    The biggest issue is that a lot of companies use college degrees to filter resumes.
    And it won't work for much longer: a number of companies are already asking for a master's degree for junior technical positions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Apr 2015 @ 7:00am

      Re:

      Yeah. It's called eduflation, and it's the result of too many degrees chasing too few job openings. And despite the noble intentions of certain political elements, making it easier for everyone to go to college and get a degree is not going to improve the situation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      I already had to take a psychological profile just to flip hamburgers or work at Walmart. I can well imagine the delusional little fucks stepping up to requiring a college degree.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 5:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Psychological profile required to flip burgs, but not to pilot a commercial airliner - stunning!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Psychological nothing. I applied to Wally World out of desperation and was asked what I'll call political weed-out questions. Like my opinion of gun control or whether I believed that underaged minors should have access to condoms.

        I'm sure if I was to apply again I'd be asked if I thought Walmart should have the obligation to give gay shoppers a smiley sticker in violation of the good Christian owners' religious beliefs. SMH

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      It's already happening, except right now you don't need a college degree to flip burgers. It just so happens that a good number of burger flippers also have college degrees. Most of these are the usual dime-a-dozen humanities/social-science/arts diplomas that lead to jobs as "sandwich artist" at Subway anyway.

      But as long as you have a STEM degree, and not a worthless participation-trophy degree in literature or philosophy, you might be in the clear. That is, until your potential employer decides they'd rather pay Apu from Bangladesh 1/3 of what you're worth to do the same job. Or both you and Apu have to compete with a T-1000 AI unit for the same tech or burger job, at which point we as a species are all screwed anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2015 @ 6:12am

    New School Motto:

    Smart enough to do the job, dumb enough to not know your being exploited!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lindsay Fares, 16 Jun 2015 @ 2:41am

    Too meany people graduate

    Nowadays too meany people graduate, but look at number of Functional illiteracy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_illiteracy
    Do they really need colleges if don't have critical thinking? Some people can't write even a simple essay or explain what they have just read, but they have a diploma.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Akemi (profile), 24 Oct 2017 @ 6:12am

    Higher education has been in decline for decades. We can start with the many ridiculous courses offered (golf, for credit no less!). We can move on by examining sports, where football is a monetary loser for most schools. Then shift to the wild expansion of costs, far outstripping inflation. According to the writers who write my paper for me we should acknowledge the fact that "college for all" is expensive, unrealistic, and foolish; those without the intellectual capacity or desire to particpate in a career needing a college degree are just filling a space needed by someone else while simultaneously driving up costs. Close in on the end of this discussion with an acknowledgemen that too many campuses harbor a attitude of "Left is good, Right is bad" on the campuses, the reality of which no senient being could deny without being laughed out of the room. And end with the visuals of protests, property damage, and conservative speakers being barred from campuses or driven off the stage. Freedom of speach? Only for the Left. Our nation's campuses have some major housekeeping to do, as well as some soul-searching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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