Observations from an elderly student

College Degrees Not Worth Much

…says this study (found via Insty).

Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows.

No kidding. With all the PC bullshit happening on college campuses these days, not to mention crap courses like “Feminist Basket Weaving”, it’s not surprising. One finding that got my attention, however, is this one:

Some Americans believe learning a trade offers more security than going to college.

Well, yeah. Depending on the trade, it almost always did, especially when weighed against courses in the Humanities and the debt incurred by getting said degrees. (It’s not true when measured against a degree in, say, electrical engineering, of course.)

Then again, most people are more qualified to learn a trade than they are to attend college in the first place.

And the first warning sign was that government (of the Democrat / Labour Party persuasion) stated that a college degree was desirable for all young people, and put policies into place to support that idiotic idea. Billions of dollars of student debt, high unemployment rates among Millennials, lowered academic standards and staggeringly-high college tuition fees followed swiftly, to the surprise of no one except those government tools.

As seen on these pages but a couple days back, I’ve always advised young people to get a trade first, then go to college — especially if you’re not quite sure what degree you want to get — because as a fallback, a trade like carpentry or plumbing sure as hell beats begging for that barrista job at a coffee shop. And if your goal in life is to own your own business (which it should be), a trade beats the hell out of an MBA as a foundation thereof.

So yeah, it’s not surprising that the value of a college degree is being called to question. Reality will do that to ya.

Weeping Willows

Oh FFS:

“Fordham University has launched an investigation after students were reduced to tears by the screening of a PragerU video during a Resident Assistant (RA) training on sexual assault.”

I’d excerpt more, but I’m pretty sure some of you will be wanting to eat breakfast, and I’d hate to spoil your appetite.

Bloody snowflakes. I wonder how they’d have responded to newsreel footage of Jews being slaughtered at Babi-Yar. Probably with cheers, come to think of it.

And here I thought Fordham was a Jesuit school, whose emphasis is that “Jesuit education prepares men and women to go out into the world.” If grown women can be reduced to tears by a factual exposition of a contrary opinion, I would suggest that Fordham is failing in its mission. Feel free to read this little piece as a companion to the first link, and judge for yourself by how much.

What Karma?

Some tool of an academic [redundancy alert] named Ken Storey suggested that for Tropical Storm Harvey’s deluge on Texas, “I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”

Naturally, because he’s just a sociology professor, Storey wasn’t to know that Houston’s Harris County (which bore the brunt of the storm’s fury) actually went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, so perhaps this “karma” of which he wrote was actually punishment for them… if I believed in that karma nonsense, of course, which I don’t.

Regardless, maybe the real karma is that the shithead has since been fired by his employer, University of Tampa. Maybe he can blame that on Trump, just like all his little Leftist buddies do whenever catastrophe strikes.

I have to say that ordinarily, I wouldn’t agree with his firing simply for expressing an opinion. I would, however, suggest that someone in a position of public trust (i.e. a teacher) who acts like a total dickhead definitely needs a lesson in manners. Firing him is no good — he’s sure to be welcomed with open arms somewhere like Oberlin or UMass — and I’d have simply demoted him or suspended him without pay for a couple semesters.

But hey, if it makes other Lefties think twice before yapping their nonsense, maybe this will be worth it.

Males Under Every Bush

No, that’s not a sexy double entendre. Apparently, some academic feministicals [redundancy alert] have decided that there are too many male-sourced citations in scholarly literature, or something like that:

In a recent academic journal article, two feminist professors claim that citing sources in scholarly articles contributes to “white heteromasculinity.” Rutgers University professor Carrie Mott and University of Waterloo professor Daniel Cockayne advance the claim in an article published last month in the Feminist Journal of Geography, but also suggest that citation can serve as “a feminist and anti-racist technology of resistance” if references are chosen with the explicit intent of promoting “those authors and voices we want to carry forward.”

Note that the second of these two feministicals is (I think) a man, ergo completely pussy-whipped into compliance with Teh Narrative. Of course, they don’t let actual, you know, facts get in their way:

The authors say that “white men tend to be cited in much higher numbers than people from other backgrounds,” but dismiss the idea that this is due to the relative preponderance of white male geographers.

And yes, the picture of Professor Mott (from Rutgers’s website, no less) should come as no surprise to anyone:

My sincerest apologies to anyone who is now unable to eat their breakfast. The other idiot’s picture will also be unsurprising:

Good grief, they’re making professors out of 12-year-olds. It’s becoming easier and easier to see why The Onion is no longer either relevant or funny, because bullshit like this and people of this ilk render satire totally irrelevant.

By the way, their final comment is really funny:

They caution, however, that this approach entails a certain risk of “basing assumptions of gender or cisnormativity on particularly gendered names.”

Speaking of cultural nominal cisnormativity (I think I got that right), I’d like to point out that the word “mott” is South African slang for a vagina.

And as an African-American with a gender-opaque first name, I can only hope that somebody leaps to cite my writings as a source, preferably when writing to professors Vag and Cockless.

 

Training Vs. Education

Here’s something I wrote back in 2008, and unbelievably, it’s just as valid today than it was then, perhaps even more so. I’ve also added a few things to clean it up a little and make it better.

The “Power” Elite

July 9, 2008
8:00 AM CDT

The required reading for today’s class is, first, William Deresiewicz’s article about the transformation of our elite universities into high-priced trade schools:

Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers.

Next, you should read Mary Grabar’s bleak article about how the college curriculum itself is becoming less academic, and more like an Oprah Winfrey show:

Oprah is us. Course offerings on Oprah appear in college catalogs, while those on Milton disappear.

When you’re done with both, have swept up the broken glass and china, and repaired the bullet-holes in the walls, come back here and read the rest.

As long as there are people, there will be elites (and elitists) — and as long as there are those, there will be institutions which cater to them, and attempt to perpetuate them. Thus the phenomenon of “Oxbridge” (Cambridge and Oxford universities) in the UK, the “Ivy League” (Yale, Harvard, et al.) on this side of the Atlantic, and their “feeder” schools (Eton, Harrow, Groton and so on), all of which exist to provide an education to the scions of the elite families. The primary difference between the elites of yesteryear and those of today is that social standing was more important then, while wealth is more of a deciding factor today. (More on this in a moment.)

‘Twas ever thus, and to be frank, they served their purpose, up to a point: that point was where the mediocre assumed positions of power simply because of who they were and where they’d been to school, rather than on pure merit (G.W. Bush is the most famous example, in the modern era, although history is littered with them).

To be frank, the elite institutions are not a bad thing in and of themselves. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with catering to the elites, just as there’s nothing wrong with catering to the working classes. At least, it can be said, those institutions helped the elites prepare to govern and to manage in their later lives.

What interests me about the fall of the “Ivies” in the United States is that because they have become so dependent on wealth for their survival, it should come as no surprise that their focus has likewise become narrowed towards creating wealthy alumni. In other words, what was once a happy coincidence is now a grim necessity — so there can be little doubt that the focus of universities would shift towards careerism and wealth accumulation, and away from actual education. Small wonder that Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Business are the tails wagging the Harvard dog, because those alumni will be more financially desirable to Harvard than, say, a Harvard-trained tenured professor of English tucked away at some small Midwest school.

And the Ivy League schools, unlike the unglamorous places like the University of Michigan, do not have the luxury of successful sports teams to bring in alumnus support, so, in the absence of actual merit (that ugly word) they have to rely on the cachet (a far more romantic one) of their names.

Of course, once the Ivies descend from their lofty perches of academic excellence to become simple training facilities, they are exposed to stiff competition from non-Ivy League institutions. At one point, for example, more Fortune 500 CFOs were alumni of Chicago’s Northwestern University than any two Ivy League schools combined, while the Harvard MBA has, generally, been a real-world synonym for “expensive failure”, except as consultants, where they are a synonym for “expensive disaster”.

At some point — probably now — the Ivy League ought to lose their title of “universities” and become mere “colleges”. No longer are they institutes of higher learning, but simple trade schools. (It should be noted that it has only been a fairly recent development that Law, Medicine and Commerce became fields of study, rather than just the product of apprenticeships.)

Certainly, this process is being hastened by the demise of classical education at all colleges, if Mary Grabar is to be believed (and even a cursory glance at the curricula being offered in today’s Humanities departments should provide substantial proof thereof). In place of rigorous study and its attendant discipline, students instead are being taught to rely on their “feelings” and “opinions”, as though the untutored and callow sentiments of youthful inexperience are worth as much as thoughtful, studied analysis.

(A personal aside: I remember once using a translated quote from a Roman philosopher to further an oral argument in a freshman Philosophy class, only to receive a stinging rebuke from the professor, who quoted the entire passage back to me in the original Latin, and proved that I’d misread the intent of the argument completely. One wonders if any modern-day professor is equipped to do the same.)

Professor Grabar is refreshingly blunt about the problem:

I blame it on women, specifically those women who, instead of working their ways into the club through rules of evidence, common values, and objective scholarship, have pushed in their alternate “ways of knowing.” The feminization of education has led to the idolization of Oprah. In the matriarchal upheaval in the academy, the great works of the canon that draw from our Western tradition, like Milton’s majestic Paradise Lost, are replaced by crudely rendered emotive investigations into oppression, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” or any of the “multicultural” offerings in the latest anthology.
In addition to eviscerating the canon to add women’s writing, of whatever dubious value (personal letters, diary entries, popular books), the academic feminists’ project was to attack the base of our way of thinking, which they correctly traced back to the notion of a monotheistic God who created a universe with an order based on reason, however indiscernible that at times might be to those he endowed with reason. The matriarchs’ attacks began on linearity, logic, argumentation — the very notion of the individual thinking self. Theorists promoting the “maternal presence in the classroom” accused even the thesis statement of the freshman five-paragraph essay of having embedded within it masculine goal-oriented thinking that in a rapacious manner eliminates weaker ideas.

And thus, the real danger of this nonsense is revealed. The recipients of degrees earned by the embrace of “alternate ways of knowing” are going on to positions of government and management.

So “weaker ideas” are given as much consideration and weight as ideas proven to be logical, effective and workable. It’s risible when this approach is taken by teachers, but it’s not so funny when this thoughtless nonsense becomes the basis of laws, government and commerce.

We should not be surprised, therefore, when a young, inexperienced Presidential candidate [Urkel Obama] uses as his platform a vacuous belief in soft, unattainable (and unprovable) concepts such as “hope” and “change”. We should likewise be unsurprised when this vacuity finds strong support from a bloc of youthful idealists who have been schooled only in similar terms, as well as the intellectually-lazy older group of voters who believe that Oprah Winfrey has actually contributed anything of value to the social and political worlds.

We should also show no surprise when the modern corporation favors unfocused “group decision-making” over individual responsibility and management, even when the end result is no result (an excellent example: the WTC “memorial” which, ten years after 9/11, was still pretty much a large hole in the ground).

It is even less surprising that this so-called “management style” has started to pervade the military: where a sniper has to get approval from “higher authority” to destroy a target already designated as one worthy of destruction.

At some point, of course, all this will collapse on itself. Emotion and feelings are no substitute for logic, reason and experience: and institutions which accept the former must, eventually fall prey to their competitors who use the latter.

What is most depressing is not that this is happening, as much as the fact that the process has been designed, aided and abetted by those who are supposed to keep us away from such mistakes. That would be academia, the so-called gatekeepers of learning and education.

But they’re no longer educators: they’re trainers. Even worse, they’re trainers who are training people in a way which will, eventually guarantee failure.

The only bit of good news is that the people who started this nonsense may be dying off (somewhat too slowly for my liking). But their disappearance will likely come too late.

Teaching, My Ass

Aaugh! as Charlie Brown used to say. If you haven’t taken yer blood-pressure meds yet, you may want to pop them before reading any further. This takes the bloody cake.

Penn State York is now offering a week-long “Social Justice and Education” course to teach educators, counselors, and social workers to employ a “culturally responsive lens” in the classroom.
According to the university’s website, the course will be taught by Kathy Roy, associate professor of literacy education at Penn State Harrisburg and coordinator of the literary education program, and will focus on training educators to be “culturally responsive” toward their students.

The school notes that Roy’s academic experience is “grounded in social justice frameworks,” saying her research primarily “examines the classroom and community experiences of new and existing refugee and immigrant populations in the U.S., focusing particularly on the intersections of race, culture, language, and other markers of identity.”

I think that “associate professor of literacy education” means that she teaches people how to read, but maybe I’m just being too literal and stuff. Note too the sex of the “educators” who will be foisting this utter bullshit on the delicate flowers known as “students” as per this priceless finale:

Francine Baker, coordinator of the master of education in Teaching and Curriculum at Penn State York, said the course will provide useful tools and techniques to “maximize the learning experience” in the classroom.
“Every day, every teacher makes multiple decisions that impact social justice and equity in their classroom, school, and thus the community-at-large,” Baker explained. “Every student comes with their own story, beliefs, values and ideas. The summer institute at Penn State offers educators the research and strategies to support and expand educational practices that connect students and maximize the learning experience.”
Baker also maintained that the course will allow educators to “design activities to directly embed in their curricular area, classroom and school, while earning three graduate credits or Act 48 hours.

Good, so the educators will receive bribes (“credits”) for perpetrating this insanity, which is cloaked in meaningless jargon such as “maximize the learning experience“. And this part, “intersections of race, culture, language, and other markers of identity” makes me want to have intersectional intercourse with their mothers. And excuse me, but since when was it a goal of tertiary education to “connect students“?

And if all that doesn’t take the cake, this surely will: [RELATED: University to host ‘social justice summer camp’]

Follow that link at your peril. That whirring sound is that of Plato and Socrates (and anyone who ever taught students prior to 1970) spinning in their graves.

New motto for this particular college: “Penn State York: a place to keep hidden from your children.” Or if we want to go all Classical (I know, Irony Alert):

Non Attendendum.