Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Student Advocate Returns And We Revisit the YMGTC Problem.

I can't help but wonder that academics often want to have their cake and eat it, too. Now, no, I'm not one of you, but I'm usually on your side: I also happen to think that most students currently studying at post-secondary institutions shouldn't be there in the first place. But didn't academics create this problem themselves? Honestly now - aren't we all convinced that not having gone to college is a serious impediment to a rich and stimulating life experience? In fact, haven't we been preaching that to students for decades?

Well, congrats. People bought it, and went to college, which caused strong credential inflation. And suddenly, all the plebes who just wanted to be in middle management at JC Penney now needed a degree to beat out the competition, so they came as well. And to think about how many of you wouldn't be working in academia at all if we only admitted the great students! Now, wouldn't that just be a shame, considering the job market for academics is already so tight?

Here are some truths:
  1. The pursuit of knowledge is not the be-all-end-all of life. It is for you and for me, but not for "them." "They" have other talents - the kind you an I frown upon, and the kind they've never had the chance to develop because of YMGTC. And because we don't encourage those kids, academics suffer, and endless sums of taxpayer money are wasted so "they" can pretend to learn something theoretical.

  2. No one is ever going to have the guts to walk up to a legislator and say "No, thanks, we don't need more spaces!" Not academics and administrators, and not the parents who are terrified that their children will get stuck in a minimum-wage job.

  3. Other countries will do better than we do. They will realize the hard truth that not everyone is college material (and take into account socioeconomic factors to separate the truly-talented from the heavily-tutored), and they will realize that we only need so many college spaces. They will raise the social regard for other occupations, and support children in their endeavors and talents early instead of sending mechanical Suzie to after-school tutoring and/or bribing admission officials on her behalf. I don't know which country that'll be, or if they already exist (Sweden is a usual suspect, no?) but someone is bound to realize, and I'm already jealous of their economic upturn.

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