higher education

I see so many relatives, friends, co-workers and their kids going off to college. I am saddened by all of the people who sacrifice so much of their time and money attending government schools. Just as a man with only a hammer views every problem as a nail, and the AMA figures knives or prescription drugs cure all ills, the U.S. university system has 2-year, 4-year, 6-year and 8-year programs for every trade.

While private trade schools have a tremendous variety of course lengths specific to different trades and jobs, The government schools have very few boxes to choose from, so they take each trade, shove it into a box, then fill it with crap to make it take X-number of years to complete. Otherwise underemployed English, geography, math and philosophy teachers share their subjects with people who nearly all will promptly forget them, while a few will go on to teach the next batch.

I hate to see millions of mostly young people funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of government-appointed “experts”. I anticipate much greater utility if they spent their time thinking for themselves, learning from those who are DOing, working with people they admire and focusing their time and attention on the industry they are truly interested in. The ridiculous ancillary requirements to get a certificate from modern universities adds 2.5 to 3.5 very expensive years studying the psychology of early Greek basket weavers before the students are finally certified and released to BEGIN LEARNING how to supervise bulldozer operators building a highway..

I sadly watch my co-worker, a fine supervisor and industrious worker, spend nearly her entire non-work life and resources on a long-term plan to get a psychology degree. Our plummeting economy will be in the toilet long before she is ready to belly up to the bar of government program largess that keeps that particular industry fed.

Of course the university salesmen point to historical earnings of graduates to justify feeding people and money into their system. That works because you need a government permit to get many of the higher-paying jobs in industries protected from competition by government interference and the permit comes from paying 4-years’-worth of blood money into their system… not to mention spending 6,000 hours of your adult life performing like a trained seal in order to get the marks that move you through each class. That, of course, may be THE POINT, but only a conspiracy theorist would say so out loud.

Ask the graduates how much of their college education they they use. The believers will defend the styrofoam filler as important to making them a well-rounded individual. If you are brave, ask them the next questions. How much of the near-endless lectures and expensive, dreary textbooks that makes you so well rounded to you remember? Is it possible you might have done something useful, memorable and educational with your time had you not been doing that?

Lemme tell you that I learned more, remember more and apply more of what I learned driving my ’56 Speedster around Laguna Seca at 1:56.94 per lap than in a semester of “Behavioral Science in Management” at Sonoma State University. The real nifty thing is it cost less and was one heckuva lot more fun.