Monday, February 28, 2005

Laptop, College, etc.

I am working on my laptop right now. I have plugged it in and testing to see how long it will take for it to crash, or if it might have miraculously fixed itself while being hidden in a closet for the last 3 months. Keeping my fingers crossed as I would really like to have this to work on.

I read with interest this morning that several states have decided to increase their standards (i.e. more testing) for high school graduation and college acceptance. I find this to be very humorus as college professors claim that as government control and testing has increased the skills of the students have actually decreased.

But more than that I question the actual need for so many people to go to college. I grew up with basically no choice in the matter, I always knew that I was going to go to college. Regardless of the fact that I had no idea what I actually wanted to do. I enjoyed college and I loved learning all the different theories and viewpoints. But did I actually learn anything that helped me in the workforce. Only in a round-about way. I learned PowerPoint on one of the first versions because I had to give presentations my senior year. Universities even realize the limited value of their degrees because just about every major now requires internships before graduation.

Why spend the money ( a lot of money) and time to basically purchase a degree that has a very limited skill set. For the majority of people the better option is a tradeschool or community college where they can learn the skills that are actually wanted in the workplace. The reason is because universities and colleges have convinced the business world that the employees they hire have to have 4-yr degrees. I have seen people with college degrees in the workforce whom have absolutely none of the skills needed. They have their hands held by the older workers who might have a year of tradeschool.

When I graduated in 1996, the only entry level job I could find that I felt comfortable doing was as an administrative assistant (I had a degree in human resources). They wanted AAs with college degrees, but I would have never been able to do even that job had I not taught myself typing, and was computer literate and knowledgable in the new programs at the time. It eventually led to positions in marketing, but that was only because I learned on the job. In my experience college was an enjoyable experience, but not necessary for me in my worklife.

I have watched, during this economic downturn, managers with graduate degrees whom were laid off, go back to the community college to learn a new skill that is actually relevant to today's economy.

It is difficult today, because in order to have your resume looked at you need the sheepskin, but once you finish studying theories and philosophies, you better have a technical skill you have picked up at the same time.

So far so good I have had the computer up for about 30 minutes, no crashing yet.

I have decided with regard to my three girls I am not going to absolutely insist that they attend a four-year university. If they want to just go to learn and become "educated" that is fine. If they think that they are going to study a particular technical field for a specific skill, I would rather they studied for two years at a local technical school and then transfer after that if they want to. I don't want them to ever think that just because they went to college they should have it made. If they want to advanced in the workforce, they will need to know how to actually do something!

Four-year college is not for everyone!! And I don't mean some separation based on ability. For the job you want to do a college degree may not be actually necessary. If Public Schools actually did the job they were supposed to do and teach students How to Learn then it wouldn't be considered necessary for students to go to college to learn that. Earlier this century students finished school at 8th grade and went out into the workforce, not necessarily knowing as much information, but what they did know was how to learn and how to teach themselves. Older persons I know never stop learning. They love to learn new things. Students today have no idea how to learn, that they become frustrated with the process and eventually spend very little time learning something new, unless they will be tested on it.

It is crazy to me that all these education experts keep grabbing on to new theories and ideas thinking that they are the next Holy Grail for education, while never realizing that the education they had 30 or 40 years ago was better than what they provide today. I love hearing "My grandmother only finished the 6th grade, but she was always reading shakespeare" or, "my grandfather left school at 14, but he went on to design some electrical component that totally changed the world." Are there not clues in there.

Laptop still operating...better not test my luck.



No comments:

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.