Friday, February 17, 2012

College Courses Are a Joke… Sometimes Literally

It’s well-recognized these days that education from K to 12 and beyond is a joke in the U.S.

Children learn much more about how to behave like miscreants than anything else. They’re coddled and/or stifled, schooled to think hard work matters far less than their fleeting feelings.

And it doesn’t really get better after high school, considering that a college degree complete with internship still landed me at the bottom of the corporate rung in customer services. It was only hard work and initiative that got me into a job befitting the skills I paid the big bucks to hone.

Judging by typical employment opportunity demands, businesses recognize all too well that a B.A. or B.S. don’t mean anything anymore, which is why they often demand years of experience before they’ll consider anybody for a titled position.

That’s unbelievably frustrating for college grads, hence the New York Law School grads who are suing their alma mater for $200 million. The lawsuit charges the college “consigns the overwhelming majority of [students] to years of indentured servitude, saddling them with tens of thousands of dollars in crushing, non-dischargeable debt” that takes decades to discharge.

They also allege the 90-95% employment rate NYLS alums within nine months of graduating – which recruiters like to tout – actually includes jobs that don’t require a law or even a college degree.

While the former students can easily be accused of being ridiculous, entitled and naïve, they still have a point (though probably not a legitimate legal one).

College degrees are held up as the end all and be all of just about everything, and children are trained early on to believe that going to college is what smart, successful types do. And maybe – maybe – that was at least partially true in the past.

But the present is a much different story. Considering the degrees institutions of higher learning are offering, it’s no wonder that nothing coming out of them is taken seriously in the real world!

Vincennes University offers a degree in Bowling Industry Management and the University of Connecticut a master’s degree in puppetry. Harrisburg Area Community College offers full courses in auctioning, while students at Florida Southern College can learn all about citrus studies. Michigan State University actually has a doctoral program in packaging, and Kansas State University offers degrees in bakery science.

(Incidentally, Southampton Solent University in the UK allows students to graduate from the school of comedy studies, so there’s still apparently room for the U.S. to sink further.)

These are all skills much better learned in apprenticeships, which are far more practical, not to mention a heck of a lot cheaper. And maybe, if schools stopped offering such unnecessary courses, their students could actually hold a paycheck from somewhere other than McDonald’s.

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