Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Very Harsh but Rather Deserved Commentary on the American Education System

Just because it’s harsh doesn’t make it untrue. And sometimes the truth is exactly what we need to hear, even when it’s harsh.

Between my experience at Yale University on Monday, previous run-ins with the American education system, and the news stories that somehow don’t get covered up by the mainstream media, it’s safe to say that our schools are a wreck. It’s also safe to say that we could use a dose of reality and actually hear it how it is instead of how we want it to be.

There’s really no positive way to spin:
Examples like those are why Bill Bonner’s piece, published first by The Daily Reckoning and reposted by Business Insider, is well worth the read. Titled, “Sorry, Graduates, But Most Of What You Learned Is Useless,” it attacks the American education system at its weakest (i.e. pretty much everything about it) and exposes the farce that it really is.

It’s harsh, yes. But that doesn’t make it untrue. The following is just a snippet…

“Herewith, we offer an alternative graduation speech. An honest address to the class of 2012. One we will never be invited to give:

“I see you before me. Arranged in alphabetical order. From Mr. Aaron from Alexandria to Mr. Zyman of Richmond. You are all suited up…wearing the ancient vêtements that have marked men of learning for hundreds of years. And in a few minutes you will move the tassels on your funny little hats from the right side to the left, indicating that you have been awarded a bachelor’s degree. This signifies that you have joined the few…the elite…the learned.

“But how many of you really are learned? How many are imposters? How many are capable of writing a simple essay? How many can decline a Latin verb? How many have mastered calculus and quantum physics?

“You’ve heard about the group of men at the old English club. The waiter comes up and asks if they would like some hock. One of them cleverly says ‘hic, haec, hoc.’ So the waiter comes back with drinks for all of them except him. When he asks why, the waiter replies: ‘But sir, you declined the hock.’

“How many of you got that joke?

“I only ask the question because I am suspicious. Many college grads of today could hardly be called intellectuals. Many have hardly used their brains at all. Some have merely spent the last four years learning a few tricks and the latest jargon of a trade. Marketing, for example. Or journalism. Marketing evolves so fast that whatever you learn here will be mostly obsolete by the time you get a job. If you ever get a job. Besides, the important points could be picked up in a few weeks on the job anyway.

“As to journalism, there are a few skills you need to know, which you could pick up in an afternoon; the rest is undifferentiated. You look. You ask questions. You think. And you tell the world what you come up with. No college necessary. In fact, college may hinder you. Instead of using your own eyes and your own brain, and developing your own way of looking at things, you spent your best years in class absorbing the claptrap du jour of the mainstream media.

“Others among you have read popular novels or a few history books. You think you know something. Maybe you call yourself a historian. Or perhaps a literary critic. My advice is to keep that to yourself. You have paid a lot of money for something that millions of other people — just as smart as you are — do for a hobby or past-time. There’s not much real knowledge in either of those things…just opinions and ideas which are more vanity and entertainment than genuine learning.

“Same thing for those who have spent years studying ‘politics’ or ‘economics.’ Drop the pretense that you know something. You don’t. All you have is a full plate of opinions…most of them preposterous…and most of them indigestible by a thoughtful person.”

The rest is well worth a read for anybody interested in hearing the truth, harsh though it definitely is.

1 comment:

  1. Amen!!!!! I'm fully aware that my diploma is nothing more than a $39,000 bill which taught me little that I couldn't simply achieve by reading some good books. I think I read recently in a Stossel article that there are 80,000 bartenders in this nation with BA's. Then look at me I have a History degree from a joke college and I pay my bills from spinning 2,000 syringes a night :(