Monday, October 10, 2011

GREETINGS ONE-DIMENSIONAL CITIZEN!

And welcome to your life.


TIMES ARE TOUGH and you’re in a hurry so we’ve decided to make education more efficient and affordable for you. We have accomplished this by removing requirements for exposure to any skills or thought outside of that for necessary for your chosen career.
  • Want to turn a wrench? Don’t worry about physics.
  • Want to pound nails? Don’t worry about algebra.
  • Want to pack circuit boards? Forget chemistry or geography.
  • And literature? Art appreciation? History? Music? No need! No sweat. No worry.

With our streamlined course schedule, you will complete your education in a fraction of the time it took folks just a generation ago. And with your new degree you will be prepared for a life-long career in industry doing exciting and rewarding things like:
  • Piloting a lift truck,
  • Stocking shelves,
  • Monitoring a cash register – don’t worry, it’ll do all the math for you,
  • Sweeping floors,
and that great go-to, stand-by:
  • Flipping burgers.
Please note: Weeding rows of vegetables will still be reserved for folks from elsewhere because that work is beneath any of our graduates.


With our degree in hand, you’ll never have to worry about:
  • Income taxes – you won’t make enough money;
  • Home ownership – you won’t be able to qualify for a loan;
  • Where to go on vacation – you’ll have the time, you just won’t have the money; and
  • Your kids squabbling over their inheritance – there won’t be any.

Understand that, if for some reason the job for which you have been uniquely prepared – oops, make that educated – should be moved overseas, be replaced by a more efficient mechanized process or just disappear because no one seems to demand what you do any longer, you might encounter some disillusionment because:
  • Without algebra, you may experience difficulty employing logic to solve your circumstantial problem;
  • Without literature, you may find it tough to draw upon the experiences of others who’ve endured similar (or worse) set backs;
  • Without geography, you’ll likely be unable to see the big picture;
  • Without visual or performing arts, it may be hard to express your angst or disappointment (or joy or happiness) in a constructive manner;
  • Without foreign language, you may have less success interacting and communicating with other citizens of the world; and
  • Without history you may have difficulty knowing where you’re going because you’ll have no idea where we’ve been.

We wish to congratulate you on your new degree asking only that a few years from now, should the American Dream appear not to be working out, please don’t circle back and complain to us about your training – oops – education.

You’ll have obtained exactly what you paid for in the accelerated manner you desired. At the same time, you will have received exactly what we wanted you to receive.

Nothing.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press

6 comments:

  1. While I appreciate the tongue in cheek manner in which this was written, I do think that education should be made more affordable. It seems that the cost of tuition has risen at a rate higher than standard inflation, and the sad reality is that a lot of people with varying degrees of education are not finding gainful employment sufficient to even pay back their student loans.

    Politically, I'm a bit confused lately. I read a book by Joel Salatin, a farmer whose methods I respect very much, whose ideas about government regulation are far more conservative than my own. It's caused me to think. I wonder if running higher education more like business would be effective some in some way. Also, while I appreciate the value of a well-rounded education, I think most college graduates can remember quite a few classes that were somewhat worthless, so I do think effective reform would be beneficial.

    Granted, I only have two Associates Degrees myself...

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  2. A couple of points of clarification:

    1) If we believe that the sole purpose of education is to prepare us for making a living, we are selling education's potential short. The purpose of education is to prepare us for life - a much broader and more complex goal.

    2) It is a fact that education raises the potential of individuals and, in so doing, raises the potential of society in general. Therefore, if education is to be more affordable, it will not be because we short change the experience, it will be because we return to the practice of publicly funding colleges and universities in a manner that will allow more citizens to partake of the riches available therein. To do otherwise invites us to crumble into third-world status.

    What is it that citizens of African nations crave and that we take for granted? Schooling. Education.

    And in specific response to Maria: Most certainly there is coursework we are asked to take that seems worthless, but the hidden gem is the class that comes along - outside of one's major, the one we're told to take to fill some stupid requirement - that opens and unexpected door and points us toward horizons we didn't think existed.

    That is why we go to school.

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  3. Tony (the wrench) DelgardoOctober 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    This post spoke to me Mr. B. I was trained to be a wrench I learned a little about business and math in the process but anything pertaining to arts, sciences, history, or philosophy was intentionally omitted from my programing. My main problem with the institution I attended is that they claim their graduates make 60 thousand a year and up. They tell you this right after the disclosure of the price to make it seem as if you should have no problem paying 36,000 for a 2 year program. The fact is that even with ten years of experience you will be hard pressed to find anyone paying their mechanics over $12/hr. Employers look at a mechanic as being as replaceable as brake pads. It doesn't matter which ones you buy they all stop your car and in 2 years when they start making noise replace them again. Why pay any more than you absolutely need to for anything? The pay a mechanic receives is a drop in the bucket compared with the costs associated with employing that same mechanic. The only hope for making any real money is self employment but that requires another loan. If any of this sounds familiar I strongly urge you to check out your local #occupy wall street movement. We realize that there are many things drastically wrong with this country and we have come together to talk about fixing them. Thank you for your time.

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  4. Tony's post-high school schooling came from a for profit company less interested in turning out craftsmen or scholars than turning a profit for themselves.

    The current administration is developing long-needed rules regarding institutions that claim to educate folks in order to reap the rewards of government-backed student loans.

    The US Department of Education is demanding data that says at least a percentage of folks are gainfully employed in the field trained after completing said for-profit coursework.

    Of course, the corporate interests behind these "schools" oppose such scrutiny. They simply want access to the government dollars and to hell with their students.

    Leave us not confuse the efforts of the public schools and universities with the goals of those in it to make a buck.

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  5. As much as most of us would like to be well-rounded individuals (multi-dimensional citizens, if you will), if you can't make ends meet, you're kind of stuck. The high cost of education, whether public, private, for-profit or non-profit, isn't helping our economic recovery.

    I think this is yet another issue that points to our need to be involved with our communities. To buy from local businesses, eat local foods, and make every effort to support companies whose employees are paid well. Sadly most us look for low prices on everything from food to car repairs to clothing without factoring in the number of people who need to make money from the product or service. It seems to me that most employees (whether in a grocery store, a medical office, a mechanic's shop) aren't paid enough to buy products or services from the place where they work (let alone pay back their student loans or anticipate paying for their children's college education).

    I hope the Occupy movement is able to address these things effectively and I hope that there is some significant economical and higher education reform before I am in a position to pay for my kid's schooling.

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  6. "The high cost of education, whether public, private, for-profit or non-profit, isn't helping our economic recovery."

    Exactly.

    But an educated citizenry provides returns to commerce because of greater incomes; and to tax coffers due to higher earned wages. Thus, government investment to keep the costs of education reasonable is just that - an investment. In reality, keeping costs of post secondary education within reach does provide long-term recovery for the economy if only because graduates own the potential to earn more and turn that money back into the economy.

    I think the lack of support for public education on the part of a powerful portion of our political establishment is about something different at work here.

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