Turd level educashun.

There’s been this huge push across most western democracies to get as many young people into third level education, or college or university or whatever you want to call it. It’s been mainly a political promise – your boy or girl, every single one of them, can emerge in three years clasping that magic piece of paper in their sweaty hand that guarantees a job. The only way of ensuring that mass level of access was to drop any notion of entrance standards, which the universities, like the government subsidy dependent sluts they are, did.

However, while the entrance figures duly shot up, the exit figures did as well – barely one-third of the intake made it into the final year or actually passed their finals. The kids also walked away from the wreckage of the failed experiment in education with a mountain of debt on their back, and they were barely twenty. Welcome to a very early entry into the debt slave sub-culture.

What’s worse is that those hardy survivours of the educational factory found there were no magic graduate entry schemes, they’d all been closed down, and as so many kids were waving their useless graduation certificate in remedial disco dancing, it meant nothing when it came to actually getting a job, because it’d all been devalued. It’s actually become a negative. It means nothing other than you’ve learnt to do the noddies in an intolerant culture that demands obeisance to a single and only church.

Too many employers have had the experience of hiring one and finding they’d an HR problem on their hands. Someone who was agitating for a workers co-operative rather than just doing the relatively junior job they were hired to do. At the end of their provisional employment period, you quietly released them back into the unemployed pool. Lesson learned, won’t hire anyone like that again.

I can relate to that experience. We encouraged all our children to get to university. Not some bloody sixth form playroom pretending to be a university, but to try for a real one. And do something decent, because we knew we’d finish up paying for it anyway. We ended up with one who had a degree in nuclear astrophysics and the two others in biology. What became apparent though, was they were coming back to us as if brainwashed.

Whatever little political engagement they had going in, came out as verging on the frothing Marxist by the time they were farted out of the arse end of it. It was quite astonishing and I was taken aback by it. In the grand tradition of being slightly indulgent of your issue, I let them yap nonsense at me I could safely ignore when they got home, but once my patience snapped at being on the receiving end of a particularly long and puerile lecture about the evils of capitalism.

Enough is enough.

Listen Sunshine, you were brought up in a nice area, in a five bedroom house you’ve never had to share a bed with one of your siblings, a big back garden and a park in front where there’s the crack of a willow bat hitting a cricket ball throughout the summer and the cheers of parents encouraging their football kiddies through the winter, and you’ve never missed a meal in your entire damn life. That was all made possible by me starting a business, and I did so without exploiting any downtrodden proletariat.

If you ever disrespect my life efforts again, there’s a motel down the road and they unlike me will actually charge you for every night you sleep there and for breakfast in the morning. From now on, keep your gobshite mouth shut or fuck off to the motel. Your choice.

That was the end of my socialist re-education lectures, because they knew I meant it. The invariable trait of the left-wing is they want things for free. On a macro level, the government gives them things for free, on a micro level, the parents divvy up whatever money is needed to get them past whatever the current financial crisis is. Everything is expected to be free. They’d been put on notice; those days were over. You are on your own from now on kiddo, Daddie is playing hard ball.

Patience, a lovely gal I always had a lot of time for, had just left the room. From now on, if you fuck it up, you get to unfuck it all by yourself. A rare moment of allowing myself to express some petulance on my part proved to be a corner turner. It wasn’t as if they in turn weren’t looking for jobs; they were. One by one, they found something to do, but you didn’t need a degree to do it. Mainly office admin work which didn’t require a certificate in nuclear astro physics to do it.

I have to put my hand up for steadily pushing them in that educational direction, believing it’d be the usual mind expanding experience confronting them with radically different viewpoints but with the added benefit of enabling them to leap a few rungs up the employment ladder. I was totally wrong. What was returned to me was intolerant brainwashed bigots who weren’t even interested in listening to an alternative viewpoint. They’ve since grown up a bit more and mellowed, but I think the damage had been done by an institution I’d trusted.

As always in these situations, you don’t have to be an Einstein to see the problem, but the next and rarely taken step is to suggest a solution. I’ve recently read one by a professor who’s been lecturing for over twenty years and simply can’t get students to read certain books because it’s been smugly decided they’re white supremacist or whatever. How you can make that decision without ever reading the damn book is beyond me. I’d read Das Kapital and Mein Kampf as a sprout, neither of which turned me into a Communist or National Socialist, but at least I formed my refutations of the ideas contained in them.

He advocates just closing universities down. I can see the sense in the idea; nothing has come out of them since the 1950s. Once the fudgy areas of academia were allowed to retitle themselves as the social “sciences” the whole thing started to go to hell on a hand cart anyway. All it’s been doing for the last three decades is churning out impressionable kids as the second attack wave on western culture of an already failed Marxist experiment that died at the end of the 1990s.

Perhaps he’s right, just close them down. There are no ideas coming out of what should be an ideas factory, the end product is virtually unemployable and the kids are starting to wise up enough to realise there isn’t a guaranteed job at the end of it anyway, but what is for sure is they’ll end up with a huge boulder of debt on their back for no benefit to them. It’s no wonder that applications for formerly prestigious universities like Old Mis have dropped by nearly twenty percent. The rest aren’t faring much better.

When you see a Rhodes scholar demanding the pulling down of a statue of Cecil Rhodes in one of the Oxbridge hovels, you know things have gone off the deep end. Interestingly and for once, the college authorities told him to fuck off and referred the matter of his continued scholarship to the Rhodes foundation trustees. That was the end of that particular piece of irrationality.

For me, the clincher was meeting a young man who told me with a lot of pride that he’d two degrees. Really I replied, feigning some sort of polite interest, but thinking and here you are doing a bottom of the totem pole minimum wage paper shuffling job that your average sixteen year old could do with one hand. After ten minutes of conversation, I came to the conclusion you’d get more sparks out of rubbing two pieces of flint together than would ever come out of this dullard. They must be handing out degrees like sweeties.

Radical though it might sound, I think the professor might just be right.

©Pointman

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Comments
30 Responses to “Turd level educashun.”
  1. Dave says:

    Good post. 100% agree. When I was still working I had the misfortune of having to sift through CVs of barely literate wasters whose sense of entitlement was as big as their student debt. In short, they were unemployable. How long before the little darlings start demanding their degree without having done any work towards it?

    ‘I paid thirty grand for this. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!’

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    The situation you describe so well is one that is being played out in families all around the world. Interestingly, in regard to my own clutch of hatchlings, one opted for a Degree in IT but the other did not.

    One emerged as a Leftist/Green Snowflake mired in student debt, the other (who chose to advance his knowledge and expertise in the commercial marketplace), has little interest in politics.

    In that link you provided, Prof Jason Hill observed that “Many a young person has become unrecognizable to family when they return home after a thorough brainwashing.” A man who knows what he’s talking about.

    Hill is right in describing the once hallowed halls of academia as now being “curated silos” of Marxist indoctrination, going on to say … “The manifest destiny of the humanities and social science professoriat is to have politicized knowledge supersede truth, objectivity, facts and genuine learning.”

    Today foreign students overrun Australian campuses, entry standards rising for local students in some faculties, while falling for foreigners eager to snap up limited places – at a price.

    ‘Education’ is currently rating as our third largest export behind iron ore and coal … https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/Media-and-Events/media-releases/Australia-s-education-exports-at-record-high#.W2Ot0P4zbOQ

    Standards are continually lowered to keep the cash rolling in and many thousands of “students”, here on education visas and with a clearly encouraged path to permanent residency and citizenship, have never seen the inside of a place of learning as there are few checks made by an overwhelmed immigration service.

    The entire system is a construct of smoke and mirrors, all designed to advance the Marxist agenda of wealth redistribution, demographics and ethnicity, and voting blocks to keep the Left in power and control.

    “Turd level educashun” indeed. No way to pick it up by the clean end, and no way to polish it to make it acceptable.

    Prof Hill is right … flush the lot! And start again.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Leigh says:

    Daughter started university this year for a nursing degree. Enjoyed aspects of it, but struggled with other areas. I think the driving force was to attain something that neither of her parents did. Took 6 months but eventually she was honest with herself and said that it wasn’t for her and she just wanted to work. I think she was more worried we’d be disappointed as we’d taken a similar stance as yourself in the early years by pushing university as a solid option.
    My views have obviously changed in the last few years. Now she’s on a journey just to get into full time work. Worries too much about not knowing what she wants to do. I keep pointing to my path, falling into transport and ending up running 5 depots nationally. Tell her just to get a job first, then start working out what’s next. She’s a good kid who’s dodged the socialist bullet and a bucket load of debt. Have no doubts she’ll make something of herself. Great article, cheers mate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Leigh:
      Couldn’t agree more. Not mine but a young chap I used to know – 30 years ago – worked in the Laboratory as he did the basic university courses until he could go full time to become a Marine Scientist. Became one and couldn’t get a job. Back as a Lab. Assistant, then swapped to another Chemical Company for promotion and following a big loss of staff wound up as Purchasing Manager. Took to it like a duck to water; loved the job and was making a name for being very good at it.
      I retired, moved and lost touch but I am sure he did well. Lots of people wind up doing something far removed from their boyhood dreams and liking it.

      Like

  4. Selwyn H says:

    Wow, what a spray, but deservedly so. Blackswan and I have seen the effect of a university education on our children here in Australia and I wondered if it was a form of brainwashing.

    I can’t talk about global warming with my son and daughter because it always leads to blank faces and “Dad is on his bandwagon again”. They just don’t want to know about the biggest con job on the planet right now.

    They are both now working in IT and doing very well but both worked for several years in other jobs and in the UK after leaving university and learnt how the real world works so I can’t understand why they are not interested in why our electricity prices are so high and what is causing Australia to go from having the cheapest energy in the world to one of the most expensive.

    What happened to those inquisitive minds that a university education is supposed to instil?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. hunter says:

    Plus 10

    Like

  6. Yolo says:

    I grew up on a broken down dairy farm, got a Commonwealth Scholarship to be “first in family” to go to Uni. Married, worked loyally for 40 years, had three kids, paved their way to the top through a private Boarding School, then University College. Child One has three degrees, Fine Arts, Anthropology, and Archaeology. Works as a Barrista. Childless. 40 years old. Child Two has an Arts Degree, is a single Mum. Not working. Child Three has two degrees, First Class Hons in Organic Chem, and Genetic Engineering. 33 years old. Has no job, has no girlfriend. All three have no HECS because one of their Grandfathers left them enough $ to pay ot off. I vote (Australian) Liberal, they hand out how to vote cards for the Greens. Don’t tell me how pissed off you are, I beat you my friend, my life is a total f##ck##g waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. philjourdan says:

    “never had to share a bed with one of your siblings”

    We spoil our children! I grew up in a large family. At one point (early when there were only 4 children), I shared a bedroom with all my siblings (fortunately we had bunk beds so technically had our own bed). But even later when there was 7, I had to share a bed with my brother. But we never did miss a meal (although we all agreed that steak was just a myth 😉

    I sent 4 to universities. 2 got useless degrees (and tons of debt). The last one did not finish (but is working jobs he loves). As I am separated from their mother, I have not had to endure the socialist rantings much (one of the perks – they have to split their attention), but still bite my tongue when they come out with the stupidity that passes for a university education!

    Of the 7 of us siblings, only 2 of us went to college. And we put ourselves through it. It was hard. I was working while my friends were out rushing a fraternity or at a keg party. But I emerged with very little in debt, and a marketable skill where I got a job before I even graduated! My sister went to a smaller college and got a full scholarship, but that does not cover all costs. But she worked for the difference. So she was luckier in not having any debt.

    In hindsight, what pushed me to get an education that was marketable was the fact I was paying for it myself! And to a kid, the cost of college is a lot! So you want to make sure you get your money’s worth out of it (well, since I got an Econ degree, I understood the value of time and money). We did not push our kids to do that. Part of their education was paid from an inheritance. The rest they borrowed. And are paying for it even now (3 are 30 or older now).

    There is a definite problem with pushing kids to something they will never use. My youngest (the drop out) is probably ahead of the rest because he has a decent paying job, and no debt! And my siblings? I am doing a little better than most, but just as well as others. And they are doing what they love. But without the burden of debt.

    Oh, and that job I got before graduation? It was with a retail company (I worked in the HQ) that was family owned and doing well. It did well for the first 10 years I was there. Then a Harvard MBA won a power struggle with one of the first people hired and who had risen to the top. 3 years after that, the company declared bankruptcy, and 3 years later it was gone.

    So much for College education.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Simon Derricutt says:

    It used to be that, after being given a set of things that were considered true during primary and secondary education, in the tertiary level you were shown how to go find information and decide for yourself whether it was true or not. Because of the selection process and that training in how to find out things, anyone with a degree would be likely to earn an employer more than they were paid, and maybe much more. These days, with the possibility of anyone to enter university and come out with a degree (and a fair amount of debt), the value of the degree it much lower because (a) it’s far less selective, (b) the teaching profession can’t attract the best people any longer and needs far more people anyway, and (c) the requirement to keep the university itself high in the rankings means that the exams are getting easier to pass and get good grades. From what I’ve heard, the courses are now a list of stuff you need to memorise rather than discussions of why the theories were developed and whether the data was good.

    Having a degree used to mean that a person would most likely do well in a profession that was even vaguely-related to the degree subject, because that person had learnt how to learn and how to apply knowledge.

    Almost 20 years ago (how time flies!) we needed to take on a second engineer in electronics design. Since I was the senior designer there (with a degree in nuclear physics, so not the EE that I should have been), I was involved in the interviews. One guy had a 2:1 from Manchester, and his CV said he’d designed circuits to remote-sense liquid flows using Döppler techniques. Sounded good. However, I asked him to analyse a schematic (single 555 chip, a bit sneaky design, but computer-generated so it took some effort for me to find the reason it was failing after being used for years) and found that he couldn’t read the schematic or indeed explain what any part did. In further conversation about that it turned out that his tutor did the design work and his contribution to the experiment was taking the data. Despite the degree he just couldn’t do the job.

    Meantime it seems my daughter is getting annoyed with the quality of teaching she’s getting at uni, and will likely drop out because she’s already getting jobs based on her experience, CV, and by impressing people with her competence. Though I’m maybe a bit sad she won’t get that bit of paper, I recognise it’s not worth a lot in real terms and it costs way too much anyway. I figure most employers will have their own tests to find out whether the qualifications are real or simply that the student got the tests right. As such, my daughter will be likely better off without the degree or the debt.

    I’ve noted that recently Oxford and Cambridge have been upbraided for the lack of minorities getting in, and that therefore they should have reduced entry requirements for those minorities. The reason for the lack of minorities may be for various reasons, but if you pass the requirements you get in provided there are places left – they simply choose the best they can. It’s maybe not coincidence that they are often in the top teams in University Challenge. If they have relaxed requirements and dumb down the exams, then if an employer sees some minority person with a degree from them, the employer may wonder if they had an easy ride and whether the degree is really valid. Slippery slope. At the moment, of course, there are those Rhodes scholars who definitely don’t get an easy ride and pass their exams on merit – generally people you’d want to employ (apart from those ones that want to remove Rhodes statues, of course). I knew one who was definitely very bright and hardworking.

    I know a lad who’s taking a degree in Surf Studies at Plymouth uni. Might lead to a job (Do you want fries with that?).

    Turdsiary education probably needs somewhat of a shake-up, with more emphasis on giving students both more-useful qualifications and also the abilities to search out their own data. Where do you find all the teachers you’ll need to do that? Dyson had a problem in finding the engineers he wanted who were good enough to design good products, so he started his own university-type college to train them. That may certainly be one way to go, and I’d expect the graduates from the Dyson college will have no problems finding work, since they’ll have been trained by working engineers and will have gained the right attitudes. In the old universities, the professors were doing their own research and the students were being taught on the side, but they can’t deal with that many students. To be able to deal with more students per teacher, you need to remove the “own research” time and redirect that to the students, so the teacher is bound to get stale and the knowledge out-of date.

    These days there are so many good courses on the net that a student mainly needs a teacher occasionally to answer questions and sort out problems, and then take an exam somewhere that grades the students. Education doesn’t however stop with the exams, but needs to be continual in the sciences (at least) since they develop so fast.

    It’s a funny thing, but during my life I’ve never had to show any employer my paper qualifications. I wonder if I could have blagged my way into the jobs without having the bits of paper.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. John Garrett says:

    As far back as the early ’70s, we knew full well that the economic value of our college degrees was being wrecked by Big Government and Big Education.

    Like

  10. Margaret Smith says:

    The Daily Mail today Saturday 4th August, has a good leading article on this subject. Although I think there is a bigger political side to this at least it may..MAY… have something done about it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6025073/Too-students-huge-debts-prospect-earning-life-graduates-Britain.html

    Like

  11. dai davies says:

    SD, yes, online based universities where students find their own material, so get to learn research skills. Tutoring as needed paid by the hour for Skype sessions. Fees negotiated between participants. Reviews of tutors by past students.

    Assessment: pay-per-test any time student wants (can come in with already accumulated skills), with double blind testing (no bias), two assessments to start with and further if first two differ by more than some amount till agreement is reached. Assessors graded on their reliability. Physical attendance in exam rooms hired for the purpose and just for necessary time – cheap rooms and invigilators paid by hour (no tutors).

    System can be bootstrapped using volunteer tutors and assessors with opportunity for income if they prove worth. Minimal central overhead just needs basic tools for connecting people and record-keeping.

    Courses can be standard sets of topics with stipulated scope, or as student or employers wish – i.e. can be used by organisations for in-house training to their specification.

    Like

    • Simon Derricutt says:

      Dai – that sounds workable, and in a lot of ways back to the original Greek model for universities. One problem with the current system is that people are taught largely within a single discipline, and I’ve found that new answers tend to come from crossing those disciplinary lines one way or another. Either a group of friends who discuss the oddities they’ve found in their discipline or people who range across many disciplines and explain one anomaly based on what they’ve found somewhere else. The cross-disciplinary conversations are of course one reason why universities are actually useful, rather than having lone students looking things up on the net. Also, for the experimental sciences such as physics, having access to the kit helps a lot and it’s somewhat expensive. You can get the knowledge of how to do things on the net, but the practical experience with techniques needs hands-on.

      Like

  12. dai davies says:

    In my recent climate research (RadiativeDelayInContext at site, total GHE = 0.14C) I found myself following links to undergraduate physics course material. I was dismayed to find that most are now just cook-book courses – for this type of problem use these equations. I was taught, and I taught, physics from basic principles, was expected to understand them, and as a tutor quizzed students face-to-face to see that they did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I totally agree! De-fund them now! If they have value they will survive.
    This is my model for tertiasry education inspire by the Ramsay institute betrayal:

    Qualifications must be opened up to competition. Private bodies should be allowed to set their own exams which people can sit no matter where their education comes from. A qualification in Arts from the Ramsay institute would have much more credibility than one from the ANU.
    Since the ANU isn’t interested in teaching western civilization other than in a hyper-critical manner, the field would be open for academics who have a genuine expertise and interest in say Greek philosophers or the history of Rome or Mediaeval English literature to conduct tertiary level classes in those subjects aimed at passing the Ramsay Institute Exams. Small or large private colleges could open.
    A hundred flowers could bloom! We simply have to remove the dead hand of Government regulation from the sector. If the Government is not funding this sort of education then it has no justification for regulating it!
    Certainly, they cannot argue that they are value-adding!

    Like

  14. Peter says:

    I feel the problem could be easily fixed, therefore wont.
    One goes to higher education with the reasonable expectation of gaining employment in an area related to ones education.
    The tertiary institutions do not dissuade this view.
    Therefore no debt should need to be repaid until employment is gained in an area related to ones study. Further, just for the sheer bastardry, the debt should depreciate while employment is not attained. Lets say at 33% per year. 3 years no job, no debt.

    Reckon that would focus the institutions.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. rapscallion says:

    I never went to University, thank God. My further education was the RN and started at 16. Everything I have I own, mortgage is paid off, and I owe nobody anything. Mind you I had to work hard for it – something these snowflake wannabees might try.

    Like

  16. Santa's little helper says:

    Daughter one – went to Uni obtained a first class degree in Nursing and loves it. At the time the course was free so she has no debt. She works in the community and loves it. The downside is all the Marxism I get when she tells me about her day.
    Daughters two and three never went to Uni and are still at home living on the bank of mom and dad. When I point out that I managed to find a job at fifteen and was proud to divy up something at the end of the week I get the “dad’s having a go again mom” argument, but least I don’t get the Marxism.
    In my final job in IT I got to appoint my junior/successor. The entitlement of people today is astounding! I settled for a lad who had not gone to Uni, was a bit of a lad in his time (a little light insurance fraud) but had seen the error of his ways, and was selling Kodi boxes on the side. Worked with younger people by running the junior football club, was married with kids and still found time to be 2 years into an open university degree in IT. Both of us interviewing the candidate immediately liked the guy and took him on.
    Today he is doing my job and given half the chance will be doing his bosses job as well.

    A real ‘man’ and I wish him every success whilst I enjoy my retirement.

    Like

  17. Santa's little helper says:

    Just a short addendum to be added to the previous comment. I would rather employ somebody who did an Open University degree than an Oxbridge educated graduate with a first class Honours degree. Generally, if you can prove you can support a growing family whilst still doing an OU degree I take my hat off to you. You deserve a chance and that’s why we employed him.

    Like

    • gallopingcamel says:

      I would go further. I used to hire dozens of engineers each year and my primary targets were graduates of the top universities. After ten years I took the time to review the contributions of my top picks. These were the people who thought they knew all the answers as they has a “First” or a “Second” class honours degree from Oxbridge.

      I was totally underwhelmed to find that I could count the number of “Stars” from this group on one hand. The engine that drove the success of the engineering department had a Higher National Diploma or graduated from Podunk U.

      Like

      • Simon Derricutt says:

        GC – in that series of interviews of mainly people with university degrees, the guy we actually hired came from the shop floor with IIRC an HND. The reason is that he came back to me after the weekend and could explain the circuit properly, even though he hadn’t found the design error in it. He worked at it until he’d solved the problem, which is far better than someone with the paper qualifications that won’t stick at the task.

        Meantime, it seems my daughter will complete her degree, but at the OU instead. Those OU degrees say a lot more about how hard people try.

        There’s still however a need for diversity in education, and a place for Oxbridge in bringing the top selection of students into close proximity. With these students, there’s more of a chance of getting the unexpected discoveries and new rules, whereas mostly businesses want someone who follows the rules as they stand and would thus do better with someone with an OU degree. Of course there’s always the risk that students think they know everything once they’ve passed the exams, but it always takes time for the young to realise the amount they don’t know anyway. At Oxbridge, they will however be in contact with people who are maybe much brighter, and thus realise that earlier.

        Like

  18. gallopingcamel says:

    I collect books on education because I spent 50 years putting my six kids into the best schools I could afford. Five out of six attended private high schools. My life would have been quite different if I had read “The Case against Education” by Bryan Caplan fifty years ago. Here is a comment I posted on Bryan’s blog:

    Peter Morcombe
    Jun 5 2018 at 2:09am

    I just finished reading your “Case Against Education”. IMHO opinion one of the best ever written on this subject…..I am awestruck….gobsmacked.

    I am one of those technophiles who you rightly deride. My day job was at Duke university leading a project to build the world’s brightest gamma ray source. In this capacity I managed a staff of about 30 people.

    My (unpaid) volunteer job involved creating K-12 charter schools. To date I have written over 20 charter proposals, leading to the creation of nine schools and I was chairperson for a board that managed six of them. These schools had a full time staff of over 200 and 2,500 students. One of them was a “Virtual School”.

    I am the practical guy who builds something useful based on brilliant ideas from people like you. My charter schools were based on the ideas of William Willimon, the dean of the Duke chapel who wrote a book titled “Downsizing the USA”:
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/free.html

    Willimon inspired FREE and served on our board until he was co-opted to lead a United Way drive.

    If you can spare an hour I would be happy to meet with you as my home is less than five hours from your office. You might inspire something useful. Here is a link relating to FREE:
    http://morcombe.net/Senate/Education.htm

    Like

  19. gallopingcamel says:

    I severed ties with my college when they politicized the memorial for an alumna who had been murdered. When I objected to the suggestion that pro-Brexit forces were responsible for killing Jo Cox I was told that nobody else had objected.

    I immediately cut off my annual donations to the college. If the Development Office was lying to me they did not deserve my support. Likewise if they were telling the truth the alumni of the college are morally bankrupt so I no longer want to be associated with them.

    Like

  20. gallopingcamel says:

    My apologies to Pointman for having killed this thread. Even so I have more comments to make.

    One of Bryan Caplan’s ideas is that vocational education in high schools is a good investment. While we already have community colleges to provide vocational education perhaps more students should be given opportunities in high school that will lead to rewarding careers as technicians. The average motor mechanic has better earning potential than a college graduate with a meaningless degree or someone who flunks out. This idea needs to be tested……will enough parents and students choose vocational education over college courses that few employers appreciate?

    I was educated in the UK at a time when K-12 schools operated a two tier high school system similar to the old USSR. We put college bound kids into “Grammar Schools” and the rest into “Secondary Modern” schools. The big divide was the “Eleven Plus” exam. Back then it was seen as a stigma to fail the “Eleven Plus”. The Eleven Plus was scrapped in 1976 and I see that as a good move. However at the same time we adopted a one tier high school system similar to the US model. We ended up doing a poorer job educating college bound students than the old “Grammar” schools did and also a poorer job of vocational education than the old “Secondary Modern” schools.

    Like

    • Simon Derricutt says:

      GC – maybe a typo, but I recall the 11+ exam being scrapped locally in 1966, when the school I was in became a comprehensive.

      The 11+ exam was a bit culturally-biased though. Maybe an apocryphal story, but one girl was given two pictures to mark as “man working” and “man playing”, with the man either reading or digging. Her dad was a priest who read books when working and dug the garden for relaxation.

      The vocational teaching at school is a good idea (see Dyson’s engineering college), but there may be a difficulty getting the well-paid people who can do it to go for a lower-paid job in teaching it. With the guild system, the master had a duty to teach apprentices (and once they were good enough made some profit from their work), but that system has largely been destroyed. Few people would take a 7-year apprenticeship these days, and the mixture of teaching and profitable work output that made the old apprenticeships worthwhile to the person doing the teaching would likely be disallowed by law now, in the same way as unpaid internships are being stopped.

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      • The nearest thing we have to the guild system is internships. I was lucky enough to land an “Industrial Scholarship” with GEC so college education was called a “Thick Sandwich” (aka 1:3:1). Which was one year of apprenticeship at GEC, three years in college followed by one more apprentice year in GEC. In my case I also worked most of my college vacations in the company as well and was paid seven pounds per week (a princely sum in those days).

        An alternative was the “Thin Sandwich”, similar except that the slices were six months in industry followed by six months in community college repeated for two or more years.

        IMHO sandwich courses improve the effectiveness of a college education by helping students understand how little they are learning in college that is of any practical use.

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  21. Pointman says:

    A pandemic of illiteracy.

    Pointman

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  22. Simon Derricutt says:

    Maybe also relevant: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44954154
    More universities are offering unconditional entry, probably to ensure that they have enough students to keep the profits coming in. This year, it seems there are more places available than students to fill them, and of course the high tuition charges won’t help that. Not mentioned in the article, but in the newspapers, is that some universities are offering £1000 discounts to attract students.

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