I have been vastly preoccupied lately about the removal of people like me from among those who are considered worthy of civil rights protections. I wrote about that here: If only you were gay…. It was one of those pieces I wish everyone at Daily Kos would have read in order to gain maybe just a smidgen of insight, but as usual, people had more important things to do, like bash the other candidates. Issues get set aside at times like this.
But I did manage to read a few diaries on education during the week. Some were very good. Some were appalling, from my point of view. But I don’t only link to the ones I agree with.
This made the Rec List at Daily Kos. So it is later than usual.
I mean, really: College keeps poor people poor and The uselessness of graduate school? I didn’t have much time to stick around, but it seemed to me there was mostly agreement in the commentary with the sentiment that college and grad school were a rip-offs than people who thought they were valuable life experiences.
Already extremely discouraged about a fifteen year educational effort having proven to be insufficient, I learn that I have also wasted the past 31 years by being a college. I wasn’t providing what students desired, which is a piece of paper which should get them the job of their dreams with minimal effort and expense. I was wasting my time trying to teach them how to be better people.
I initially wrote two comments. The first was to the diarist directly and the second was in response to the diary.
I’m sure glad…
…you were never my student. I tell them on day one (well, those who bother to show up on Day One) that if they are not in my class to learn, but rather only to earn a degree, then we are not going to get along, because they are in college for the wrong reason.
A better job is a byproduct of going to college..
…and learning something. It is not the purpose of college. The purpose of college is to provide those learning opportunities. If students do not take advantage of them, who is to blame?
I was told this:
I understand what you’re afraid of. Losing your power.
To which I responded:
I’m trying to defend millennia of education from people who think that the good of the human race is served if they get the job they want.
I was that education was only for the idle rich and I was their tool, even though I teach some of the poorest college students in the country. I was told education was a commodity. I was told education was worthless if it didn’t lead to a better job, that it had no intrinsic value of its own. Even the usage of the word “value” was jumped on, by someone who apparently can only interpret value in terms of dollars.
And that’s a shame. Three decades of my life dedicated to help people to improve their lives is seemingly unappreciated if this current crop of respondents have any say.
From the second diary, the one about graduate school, which I did not participate in because of the ENDA stuff, came these nuggets:
It is not a place to construct new ideas.
Formal education is too busy being up its own ass of inaction to be of much relevance to the real world.
I wonder how anyone could attend graduate school and develop those views. I wonder about what this young person is doing with the time there besides constructing new ideas. I realize that I went to graduate school decades ago, but when I was there, it was all about constructing new ideas. No degree was going to be obtained without some original thought.
I firmly believe that one gets out of education what one is willing to strive for. It is something to be hard-earned…with the emphasis on the earned. One has to learn to fight for oneself against the sea of ignorance and test the limits of self and knowledge. If a person is not willing to do that, I have to wonder why that person is in school. If it is a waste of time, why do you do it?
And I have to note from a teachers perspective, since I do have students who think this way, the quality of education for your classmates is diminished if time has to be spent on students who do not appreciate that education is about learning.
I have one last comment I made:
But it would be nice if the people who want to get a decent education weren’t penalized because people like you who think it’s all about getting a job want to change college into the minor leagues of corporate enterprise.
Typos, etc, were corrected in the above comments. I am an editor at heart