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  1. #21  
    I think the certification model is worth exploring. Mastering basic subject areas using a more self-paced learning style has a lot of attractive features. It would drastically cut the costs of higher education for many millions of people, it would break up the monopoly on education that is held by education industry, and it would force competitive instructors offer a better level of instruction.

    I'm not particularly sure that mere exposure to various fields in college results in a well rounded education. I have always been an avid student and that served me well in college and the university but I would have been a curious and analytical student anyway. I knew a number of people who never cracked a book open after getting their degrees and they no more retained any information about The Wasteland than they did about college algebra.

    As an employer, it would be refreshing to know that a prospective employee can write a concise progress report in standard English or calculate simple regressions. These aren't skills I can take for granted based on college graduation or degree area anymore.

    The current system is basically an 19th century concept designed to meet the needs of the then new professional classes. I admire Florence Nightingale but I wouldn't want to be treated in one of her hospitals today.
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  2. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I think the certification model is worth exploring. Mastering basic subject areas using a more self-paced learning style has a lot of attractive features. It would drastically cut the costs of higher education for many millions of people, it would break up the monopoly on education that is held by education industry, and it would force competitive instructors offer a better level of instruction.

    I'm not particularly sure that mere exposure to various fields in college results in a well rounded education. I have always been an avid student and that served me well in college and the university but I would have been a curious and analytical student anyway. I knew a number of people who never cracked a book open after getting their degrees and they no more retained any information about The Wasteland than they did about college algebra.

    As an employer, it would be refreshing to know that a prospective employee can write a concise progress report in standard English or calculate simple regressions. These aren't skills I can take for granted based on college graduation or degree area anymore.

    The current system is basically an 19th century concept designed to meet the needs of the then new professional classes. I admire Florence Nightingale but I wouldn't want to be treated in one of her hospitals today.
    I think there's a lot frustration with the implementation, not the concept, of the current educational system. I agree there should be more flexibility in terms of how long it takes and where it can be done. And there now is with online and distance learning, for example (the University of Phoenix is right down the street from me here in the Boston 'burbs). I also agree that there are plenty of crappy educators. And that all individuals are not suited for a college education. However, that is not to say that elimination of all learning except that directly tied to a professional skill is the solution.

    In IT there are numerous certification programs; one can be a certified Microsoft Engineer or Cicso Network Engineer, for example, and get a job pulling cable or repairng PCs. However, that's what those people will be doing for the rest of their lives as they haven't acquired the broader range of skills that you reference and that is provided by a college education. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We need people to pull cable and repair PCs. However, that's not what IT is all about any more than it's all about programming.
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  3. #23  
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    Messing with a college/university system thatís taken 200 years to cultivate will upset a shitload of rice bowls. People that havenít worked for a living - for decades - get really pissed off when you make them exert themselves.
    At Coretta Scott King's funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, "The torch is being passed to you." "A chill went up my spine," Obama told an aide. (Newsweek)
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  4. #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    I think there's a lot frustration with the implementation, not the concept, of the current educational system. I agree there should be more flexibility in terms of how long it takes and where it can be done. And there now is with online and distance learning, for example (the University of Phoenix is right down the street from me here in the Boston 'burbs). I also agree that there are plenty of crappy educators. And that all individuals are not suited for a college education. However, that is not to say that elimination of all learning except that directly tied to a professional skill is the solution.

    In IT there are numerous certification programs; one can be a certified Microsoft Engineer or Cicso Network Engineer, for example, and get a job pulling cable or repairng PCs. However, that's what those people will be doing for the rest of their lives as they haven't acquired the broader range of skills that you reference and that is provided by a college education. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We need people to pull cable and repair PCs. However, that's not what IT is all about any more than it's all about programming.
    The author of the op ed wasn't suggesting that all colleges and universities be dismantled and replaced with certifications. He was proposing that those who wanted to go this way be given the option. In my own field it would make a lot of sense to have uniform certifications in the various chemistry and math areas. Nobody learns how to be a chemist in class; that's a skill set that you learn on the job.

    Are people better chemists because they slept through Issues In Psychology or Gender In Shakespeare? Probably not. They probably haven't benefited from gut classes like those in any way. Do chemists benefit from taking symbolic logic courses and philosophy classes? You bet.

    No really well educated person ever believes that they got their education in a college. Education is a lifelong pursuit for those who are interested in it and there are a thousand different ways to acquire it..
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