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Signs of the Times

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And more of the kind of thing that makes me think the country is not trending in the direction Robert thinks it is.  Also, this is about what I was talking about a couple of weeks ago, about an earthquake coming in higher education.

It’s also from the only blog I read, called Critical Mass.  You’re looking for a post called Burst.

http://www.erinoconnor.org/

Oh, and the news.

Antioch College, one of the two most left-leaning, stridenlly, self-righteously politically correct colleges in the country, the instigator of the infamous Antioch Policy on sexual harrassment (you have to stop and ask permission at every step–can I touch your arm?  can I touch your breast?–or it’s rape), and in my day one of the most prestigious of liberal arts colleges–

Has closed.  After 157 years.

Written by janeh

December 7th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'Signs of the Times'

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  1. Antioch College closed about June. I believe I might have had dinner out on the strength of it. Certainly they provided the only justification I could see for taping oneself having sex–that the evidence might be useful in the subsequent trial. However Antioch University lives on in (I believe) four campuses, each suitably crazy. Bad ideas can die very hard indeed.

    I should be very glad of the popping of the educational bubble, with a shift to either three years of technical training and four year degrees emphasizing the Canon for those who wanted it and could afford it, with a variety of options for those who simply want to learn more–or who need to be retrained.

    What I expect is not the popping of the bubble, but the mild deflation of a helium baloon on the second or third day. Our two worst instances of out of control prices over the past 40 or 50 years have been education and medical care–the two things in which the government, especially at the Federal level, has pumped in a great deal of money but done nothing which might encourage competition or otherwise limit price growth. So far, the Feds always put in more money at the crunch point, and it may be worth reflecting that lower prices would make the need for government intervention less obvious.

    Note also that the Fed worsens the problem by insisting on four year degrees as a qualification, regardless of knowlege gained, if any. I once worked for an Artillery Captain with a BA in English. Three years of mathematics and military science wouldn’t have qualified him for a commission. I believe the civil service has a similar standard and problem.

    And the academic establishment can itself be very determined. I got my Batchelor’s from an Indiana University-Purdue extension. I paid about $300 a semester (1975 dollars) slept in the basement at home, and would have paid for my education–or training, as Jane would put it–in four years if I’d been paying attention. EVERYONE lived at home, worked part-time and had zero debt. In fact, I was saving money toward my Master’s. Last I heard, the current chancellor was pushing for upgraded sports teams and dormitories. It seems you’re not a real institution of higher learning without professional atheletes and drunken frat boys. Something wrong here.

    robert_piepenbrink

    7 Dec 08 at 4:25 pm

  2. I think a lot of employers have irrelevant educational requirements in order to simplify the application process. If you can get lots of applicants, you can save a lot of time and effort by simply eliminating a lot of them based on some fairly arbitrary standard. I’ve seen that happen when jobs that never had much in the way of educational requirements (labouring jobs that depended mostly on having half-decent references and being strong and healthy) were suddenly listed as requiring high school graduation or completion.

    What can I say about the rest of it? All this stuff about elite colleges and fraternities is alien to me. I could count on one hand the universities and community colleges 99% of the local youth will attend, and none of them have fraternities. The universities have sports teams – the local university built a new sports facility a while back, but it’s used for everything from walking to aerobics to (I think, but couldn’t swear to it) actual sporting events. I’ve managed to remain almost completely unaware of such events. It’s a different world.

    Mind you, I don’t know how much of what’s taught there is part of the Canon or Liberal Arts. I don’t suppose most of what I’ve taken would qualify.

    cperkins

    8 Dec 08 at 9:13 am

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