Wednesday, December 29, 2010

According to Bob...

"These days, it seems you can get a PhD in anything.  Why last week, when we took Laura to visit Brown, we met a young man getting his doctorate in culinary arts.  What is that?  Doctor Chef?  He wants to work as a chef on a private jet.  I think that requires some schooling and a lot of training but not a PhD."

These days, colleges and universities are run like businesses rather than academic institutions.  It's all about the bottom line, and by bottom line, I mean money.  So school's are lowering admission requirements, letting in unprecedented numbers of young folks.  That's not entirely bad.  It gives people who screwed around in high school a chance to redeem themselves and show that they can learn.  It's why intro level math is bursting at the seams at my university. 

Please, don't misunderstand me.  I am not saying that someone with a college degree is better than someone without one.  No, no, no!!  There are plenty of idiot douchebags running around with degrees they bought fair and square and not a bit of sense or direction in their swollen heads.  There are plenty of brilliant people who chose professions that didn't require formal education but rather intense, specialized training. 

My point is that universities try to make everyone believe that college is for them.  "You don't want to be a fireman or an EMT.  You want to be a financial planner.  You want to make truck loads of money, right?"  So maybe you buy into it.  You fork over your own good money (or your parents do), and you go to school for six years (that's the average these days) and you get a degree and you HATE being a financial planner.  All you wanted to do was save lives, and now you're stuck in an office and miserable.  Now you've learned the hard way that not everyone needs to go to college.

Because of this opening of the flood gates, it's gotten to the point that, in many circles, getting a bachelor's degree is no better than having a high school diploma.  You need a master's or a PhD to prove you've learned something and can learn more.  The universities no longer care about low teacher-to-student ratios.  They don't care that students aren't graduating, which is why the U.S. has dropped from #1 in numbers of students going to college and completing degrees to #12.  All they care about is keeping you there as long as possible and making as much money off you as they can. 

I tell you, it breaks my heart.

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