Higher Education should be reformed! But will it ever happen?

As far as I’m concerned Higher Education (by that I mean both high school and college) is one of the biggest scams there is. After finishing 8th grade is it really necessary to spend another eight years of sitting in classrooms in order to become a productive member of society? How much of that additional eight years of course content will someone actually remember, number one? And secondly, how much of that course content will one actually ever use? Going from my own personal experience the answer for both is very minimal. Is this really the most effective system we can have? The current system takes too long, costs too much, and more importantly has limited practical value!

What I hope for is that there will be a movement across the US to change this arcane system. This change will not come easy because it is so entrenched in America’s psychology and in some circles considered so sacrosanct that to even suggest radical changes would be considered heresey. I could go on and on but I would like to know others feelings about this.

If all you are looking for is productivity, then I agree with you.

But the society that we used to call “American” was more than one of productive workers. So much more.

First note most if not all Americans have already received 8/9 years of basic education. Second I am not proposing that High School should be abolished. The question then becomes what should be the role and best function of higher education?

You mentioned that “the society that we used to call American was more than one of productive workers.” Yes times have changed but what role did higher education play in that then?

K-12 takes so long for one reason, it’s daycare for working parents. I have little doubt I could have crammed everything I learned in k-12 into four years. The rest of it was going over the same things trying to teach people who couldn’t or wouldn’t learn.

That is why I specify Higher Education - High School/College. Part of the function of education today is daycare. The thing is that in earlier societies when a person was 14/15 years old (which is the age of most Freshmen in High School) many would either work full time or become mothers in the case of women. Now let me be clear I’m not at all advocating for that today but just making the point that the age at which one is considered an adult is subjective. Our current system does not encourage our young to grow up faster.

It taught critical thought processes. The early years develop creativity and knowledge. But critical thinking generally requires a more mature mind… beyond 8th grade. Without it, one believes in Santa Clause… and socialism… and universal guaranteed income from a faceless government.

I’d venture to say that your very post is the result of critical thinking that you learned after 8th grade.

Mom was at home running the house, dad worked. I could read, write, and do basic math when I started first grade at the age of 5. In my dad’s mother’s house, German - Dutch was spoken. The day I started school, everyone switched to English ( when I was around ), becasue it was the language of the land, and to make it easier for me to learn. How about that concept? I could understand the German - Dutch, but the family was being thoughtful & respectful concerning my education. My mom’s older relatives spoke Gaelic; and that was nuts. That I could never grasp.

Sounds great - too bad an undergraduate degree is basically required to get a job where you borderline starve. If you want to be paid a little more than starvation wages then you need a graduate degree.

I have a graduate degree and I have done ok.

But I think a good trade, decent work ethic, and some business skills will put you in a good place too.
I dont think the benefits of higher education are so limited to better jobs and productivity.

Yeah - that’s good in theory.

Before I went to college I did construction and ALL the Mexican crews were hired by boomers. No young crews wanted to work with mariachi blaring Mexicans that they couldn’t even talk to let alone learn from. It’s the boomers who wrecked the trades by hiring illegals. No young guys want to work with them. Mexicans see a white guy in the trades and tell you “oh you should go to college this work no good” meanwhile they’re getting paid 25 an hour to milk out caulking bathroom tiles because whites have been run out of the trades and illegals can set their own prices now.

But yeah - go learn a trade. :clown_face:

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My step son worked at a local manufacturing facility. He & the other maintenance machanics were the only employees who spoke English. He left because the men’s room was absolutely filthy. The good news is, Immigration shut it down.

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They don’t run anymore. They get free bus tickets from them.

I live where non-Hispanic whites are 97% of the population… or just slightly more.

So… even if one is white, they could move if they are too lame to compete with people of other cultures/nationalities. Personally, I find that industrious white people are hard to beat.

First of all I’m not arguing that there is no role for Higher education. In my OP I simply state that it takes too long, costs too much, and that the vast majority of the content has limited practical value and will almost all be forgotten. Regarding its role in developing critical thinking, yes there is a role for that function. Again I ask the question does that need to take eight years? Furthermore there are different forms of critical thinking like math and science which all students are getting prior to and during high school. On a practical level though I would ask critical thinking to do what? The primary things you mention, other than Santa Claus, are political issues. The fact is tough there are intelligent/educated people who different views on many of those issue. Nonetheless, one of my main points is that higher education doesn’t need to be eight years and needs to be reformed. Do you disagree with that?

First of all not arguing that Higher Education has no role. Secondly there is very little in the coursework getting the degree that has real practical value for most occupations. For example my field is science. I got a four year B.S. degree and when I graduated I got a job working for a company as a Chemist. The fact is though that almost everything I did during that four years provided little practical value for me on the job, and that includes a good deal of the coursework in my major! That is a stupid system! Here is a good article on this:

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, and others, all dropped out of college and have been able to do okay. Yes I know they are unique examples, but the point is that if the knowledge in college is so important then theoretically no one should be able to have tremendous success with out it.

So then why offer it up as a solution? Only 54% of college students graduate after 6 years.

It would be better to understand what those dropouts, who are earning on par with college graduates, actually do…instead of looking at three or four exceptionally successful individuals who dropped out of college.

One can produce a productive employee in 8 years or less. I agree.

I didn’t offer that up as a solution. You misunderstood my point. The solution for higher education reform is less time and more practical applications.

Much less actually. The majority of so-called “white collar” jobs typically require only a few months of on the job training. My uncle with no college degree became an insurance adjuster many years ago, and did just fine. Nowadays I would bet that most if not all people in those positions have a college degree. I didn’t need a four year degree to work as a bench chemist. What happened is that many of the forces that profit off of college began to convince everyone that “you need a college degree” when in reality for most occupations most of what you learned in learned in college had little value in ones job.