Higher Education, Not Fitness

Accreditation is broken. It has become a sales gimmick. In order to have a fully accredited degree a student must take a mass of expenses and extraneous courses. Make these courses optional and engineers for instance would be just as well rounded as their careers call for without ever having taken poli sci or fitness. The only reason it’s a requirement is so the school never has to make a sale. You don’t have to sell a sociology course to an engineering student. You just make it a requirement of an accredited program. Arguably, the engineering course was just fine without it. And engineers would be just as viable for the workplace if they had never taken art history.

The test for a good program is the workplace. I dare say fresh graduates would be even more work-ready than before if they didn’t have to suffer through unnecessary thousands of dollars of loan repayment for courses that didn’t help their careers one bit. Even philosophy majors would be better off just studying original texts, translated works and maybe a few good expositional textbooks. They don’t need biology. Seriously, explain to me what biology a philosophy major needs to know they didn’t already learn in high school. High school is the proper place for all that stuff. College is meant for specialization. Why do accreditation boards obsess over making a student well rounded in all areas. If students want that they can go to a library. It’s free!

Fostering a students given talents and abilities, providing them with a set of skills they can use to get a job, this should be the focus of education. I’m not saying let’s dump these other courses. On the contrary, people should have the option to purchase courses to explore any interest they may have in a particular subject.

Yes, this method of education would probably cause some courses or even whole subjects to disappear from the course catalog. Too bad. That’s just competition; something our universities have been sorely lacking. As President Truman said (reportedly), “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” When those courses disappear it’ll be because we don’t need them. Not to mention, programs would become more focused making students all the more ready for a good career.

I know some of you will protest we need the fluff courses to pay for the hard sciences. My response to this is twofold. 1) It isn’t just “hard sciences” that spend the money. Probably just as much of it goes to studying pooping habits of prairie dogs. Maybe we should cut these programs and use the money to fund the so-called “hard sciences”; maybe even pass some of the savings to the students. That’ll be the day. 2) A lot of these programs are supported by grants from foundations, governments (yes, plural), wealthy alumni and other benefactors. And plenty of students will still be studying philosophy, political science and kinesiology. Universities will still be a hub for the “high” pursuits and what not.

The next hurdle will be tuition costs. That will have to wait for another post but I’ll just say this: Big Education is an industry. I know they’d rather have you think of it as pure, enlightened, progressive (if that appeals to you) and totally worth tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars, but it’s a business. It’s big business and regardless of it’s claims not every course or program is of equal value.





Correction #3

Don’t vote for a president.

Vote for me. I’m running for president…never. So, if you vote for me, you’ll get nobody instead; and, that is exactly what ought to happen.

We do not, and never, needed a president. We have Congress. They represent us. They make laws for us. They are accountable to us. The president, does, or should do, none of these things.

Three things are likely to happen, if we discontinued the American presidency.

1) We would no longer have one man standing behind a pulpit, as a symbol of one specific set of ideologies, dividing our country. We would only elect people from our home state that some of us actually know personally, to represent us. We would never again vote for just one man for the whole country that, by proportion, few of us know anything about.

2) Congress would begin to receive the spotlight of the media, making them more accountable; it would be harder for them to vote themselves a pay raise, for instance, without suffering the political consequences (i.e. getting voted out of office).

3. Possibly the most important, this action would secure the power of law making in Congress’ lone hands. Those pesky executive orders that potentially make our president a king (remember what the American Revolution was all about?), would go away. The Supreme Court, as well, could no longer be stacked with appointees from one person (the president), from one party, unless the American people saw fit to elect a large enough majority in the Senate so that one party could have the appointee they wanted.

A pipe dream though this may be, it is a good one. It would once again bring us the separation of powers for which we originally fought. So, that only those who truly represent us would be allowed to make laws for us. No executive orders. Maybe even one day, no judicial activism (a subject for personal research, not something I wish to expound on here).

I look forward to the day when the American people are paying enough attention to make this happen.

Correction #2

top getting your facts from TV news.

Don’t they seem so together on news channels? So mild in their manner. So reasonable in their analytical offerings.

Ah! The news. How can there be so many white haired forty-year-old men on CNN? I don’t trust them anymore because they have white hair (dyed?). I’m annoyed that they would think so little of me as to assume that I somehow relate to white haired men better. Why? I assume it has to do with the wisdom that comes with age. In reality, I don’t think that they are wiser with that hair. I am not deceived by their look. I would actually trust them more if they didn’t intentionally employ men with white hair. Isn’t that sort of against the feminist movement anyway? Old overbearing men. Patriarchal wisdom. Why don’t they get some women on there? At least then we would have someone attractive to look at while they lie to us. Fox News has that down. Just sayin’.

With increased information comes decreased value.

How can we know what is right when there is so much info to filter through? You listen to your news, I’ll listen to mine. We’ll compare notes and vote differently. As if the news can really tell you your values.

What if people distrusted news from early on? Say, back in the days of Walter Cronkite people could have, should have listened only to their values.

Why did we let the Supreme Court do this or that? Or, let laws be made that denied in their very creation process, before they were even passed, that our lawmakers were subject to us? The answer lies in that reasonable, mild-manneredness that prefers to read about knitted crafts and cutesy hobbies, and looks down on impassioned statements and philosophy heavy diatribes as unsophisticated and immature.

I simply believe we should, in our intellectual arsenal, have one-for-one what lawmakers have. They have philosophy, so ought we. They have our money, so ought we. They have weapons, so ought we. They have power, so ought we. Why? Because “we” elected them, and they are no better or no worse than us.



Correction #1 (part 2)

Stop generalizing so much.

If we cannot speak about things in the truth about them, in all it’s oppressive detail, why do we think we have something to contribute? Food “A” is “delicious.” What does that even mean? It is just a word created to apply a convenient, albeit meaningless descriptive tag to something that is more abundantly described as “floral and oaky”, like a wine.

It may seem like small potatoes to talk in such a convenient way, but what does this do to our mental state? It teaches us to apply generalizations to all things we see. Then we begin to think that way. We make laws that way. We think “fairness” is making the most people happy, but it isn’t happiness per say. Instead it’s satisfaction that they are not being cheated. This is not happiness. One can be cheated and still be happy. If one, however, is to be guaranteed simply not to feel cheated, this can be accomplished by the cheating of everyone so that no one stands out and everyone feels equal in how they were treated. This is why fairness mustn’t be vague. Vagueness obscures the real issue, which is happiness.

Correction #1

Get rid of all vagueness. Speak with accuracy and detail.

Leaders make decisions on what is “best” for everybody. It is vagueness that allows them the room to decide these things. Person A does “____” wrong. Now, person B through Z is not allowed to do “____.” It’s only fair to everybody to rule everyone the same. So, instead of just banning A from “____”, they account for every future action of B through Z by applying A’s punishment to them all. This way, they ensure eliminating the wrong use of “____.” This is where leaders get their precedents for applying a rule over a general population.

We ought to punish only the offender. Otherwise, we violate the principle, “Innocent until proven guilty.”

Application for business: Just because “A” grows a crazy goatee at work, it doesn’t mean “B” can’t grow a respectable goatee. However, since “C” complained about it, “D” outlawed it for everybody.

Application for Washington: Just because “A” cheated someone in some business, it doesn’t mean entrepreneur “B” can’t treat people fairly. However, since “C” complained, “D” outlawed that business.

We can’t be forever applying punishments to those who abide in the right, just to account for would-be violators. Fairness is a word with a definition. It mustn’t be a victim of vagueness or ideology.