Comments on: The tragedy of US higher education A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: TFF Mon, 13 May 2013 01:50:12 +0000 If you want an online-only education, you can already get a good one for free. Plenty of courses online, and it doesn’t take a government initiative.

As for those numbers, $5B is barely enough to run Harvard for ONE year (their annual budget is $3.7B), let alone run 100 universities for five years. It is a drop in the bucket. You can’t hire qualified people to grade 40 final exams for $250/student, let alone do the rest of what you propose on that budget.

Do your homework, then get back to us with a serious proposal. And spend a little more time elaborating on exactly what your online-only courses would look like? They absolutely would NOT be on par with Caltech’s usual standards, as there simply are not 21 million students in the US who are prepared for that level of work. Nor have you provided any budget for tutors, TAs, graders, or any other personal contact. For $5B you’ll get a series of pre-recorded videos and a computer-graded multiple choice exam.

Thank you very much, but I’ll pay $200k if that is what it costs to offer my kids a real education. They can have that, and watch the free lectures as well.

By: TFF Sun, 12 May 2013 16:08:24 +0000 @Margaretville, who do you believe should make career decisions? Students, parents, or professors? As long as you allow individuals the freedom of choice, many will make poor decisions. Do you propose to take away that freedom?!?

Nobody is under any illusion that a BS in political science is the equivalent of a BS in engineering, yet students prefer political science because it is easier. Maybe they believe they are sufficiently special that they will find employment without any marketable skills? Maybe they lack perspective and don’t think beyond college? But it is their choice — faced with the alternative of investing another 20 hours a week in their studies and switching majors, most will switch majors.

Blame yourself if you chose a meaningless degree in a field saturated with unemployed graduates. Don’t blame the professors who taught you what you asked for.

As a high school teacher, I see some students who imagine a future for themselves in nursing, physical therapy, or other health fields. They have the talent and the interest to be good — but in some cases can’t muster the discipline necessary to complete 15 minutes of Algebra II homework regularly, and earn C grades as a result. These students need to double or triple their effort if they are to succeed in their chosen career. But my bet is that most of them will end up in something else.

By: Margaretville Sun, 12 May 2013 14:19:36 +0000 Yet another tragedy in education is that so many graduates cannot find jobs. Perhaps the finger needs to be pointed directly at the education community for not doing a better job of preparing students for USEFUL careers.
By taking thousands of dollars and causing huge student debts that can’t be paid back the education community (colleges, universities) is doing nothing less than ripping off youngsters. They do pay their presidents huge sums for this failure, whether public or private schools.
Try to get a decent job today after a costly graduation with a bachelor’s degree in political science, psychology, history, biology, social sciences, etc. Try this one instead: Promote getting a degree in one of the energy fields!!! Why is that not promoted over all the other silly degrees. It’s a failure of the educational community.

By: Dcohenla Fri, 10 May 2013 21:47:13 +0000 There’s another tragedy going on in Education that people are ignoring. The fact that there are corrupt Imposters running the College and padding their own pockets. For instance the new appointment for LSU President F. King Alexander. Lawsuits are filed about the secrecy of his hiring. It had to be in secret because his CV is full of lies. We’ve vetted his CV in an interactive “Living Novel” to respond to the events that are unfolding now in Louisiana. Come read and be the judge.

By: Dcohenla Fri, 10 May 2013 21:45:04 +0000 There’s another tragedy going on in Education that people are ignoring. The fact that there are corrupt Imposters running the College and padding their own pockets. For instance the new appointment for LSU President F. King Alexander. Lawsuits are filed about the secrecy of his hiring. It had to be in secret because his CV is full of lies. We’ve vetted his CV in an interactive “Living Novel” to respond to the events that are unfolding now in Louisiana. Come read and be the judge.

By: Bryan92104 Fri, 10 May 2013 06:02:01 +0000 There are clearly people who place a premium on a brand name Ivy League education with words like Princeton, Harvard, or Yale next to the B.S. or B.A. or grad degree. I know if you are Law, Med, or MBA that opens doors. I have a few HS few friends who maxed out their SATs, awesome for them (Mr. Marshall). Mine was fine for Annapolis, where, BTW, they claimed to have a secondary emphasis on athletics and military stuff but if you were paying attention you gave that some of your time but focused on academics.

Unfortunately my experience has been that higher levels of education (in professors) don’t usually come with instruction on being a professional educator. Which is what they are supposed to be there to do. I don’t care how much you know or what papers you have had published if you can’t teach. K-12, BS and MS all on the taxpayers and the absolute best college professors and technical military instructors (radar systems, etc.) I ever had were UK military officers on exchange tours.

By: Bryan92104 Thu, 09 May 2013 22:41:18 +0000 Public education K-12 (Public HS ranked #88 nationally in somebody’s recent survey), plus a BS (Annapolis)and MS all on the taxpayers. Hands down the best college professors I had were UK military exchange officers (RN and RAF). I think they actually specialize and don’t necessarily go back to their respective combat branches After that recent Masters and Doctoral grads who could actually teach. It doesn’t matter how much you know as a professional educator if you can’t teach. Tenured civilian professors were among the worst. I actually considered it an advantage my US military professors (all recent MS or PhD) knew they were going back to the fleet after a couple of years and were not under pressure to research/publish.

Best advice ever from a professor: You aren’t going to remember any of this (particular engineering course) in 5 years. But, know what you know, know what you don’t know (sorry, sounds a little bit Dick Cheney) and know how to find out what you don’t know.

By: maynardGkeynes Thu, 09 May 2013 22:01:31 +0000 Most so-called “merit” money is simply a transfer of money from parents who pay full tuition to the parents of students who pay full tuition minus $5,000 – $10,000 dollars. This is not social progress, it is a discount to some parents subsidized by other parents. Colleges disguise this by saying that even full tuition does not cover the full cost of a student’s education, which happens to be total BS. If what the colleges say were true, how could so many fine private schools that have relatively small endowments (for example, Sara Lawrence and Skidmore) manage to survive, even though they charge roughly the same tuition as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, which have huge endowments? Clearly, full tuition is enough not only to cover the costs of a full-pay student, but is sufficiently excessive to allow schools (even poorly endowed schools) to transfer “merit” payments to the children of other parents. Full price parents are not being subsidized, and what’s worse, their outright gifts to the students of fellow parents is received without even so much as thank you.

By: COindependent Thu, 09 May 2013 21:36:08 +0000 Other than “higher education” there isn’t an industry in the country that could have raised their prices 8%-10% a year for the past ten years. The administrator-to-student ratio is increasing while the quality of the (so-called) education is diminished.

The universities, including those publicly funded, are run by and for the administrators and faculty. That’s why you see what historically were four year degree programs migrating to 9- and 10 semester programs. We have degree programs, most often “studies”, that now require a separate department, with a clique of their own department heads and (more) administrators. Investments in student services and facilities are strictly designed to keep more butts in more seats at a higher annual cost.

Minors in the liberal arts college of the 1960’s-70’s are now “majors” with few skills transferable into the working world–other than academic environments of the same universities. We have college graduates stocking shelves because that’s all their degree is worth, and no professor would compromise his self-worth by telling students their degree was not marketable.

It’s only beginning to surface in the various law schools, where JD’s are now learning their dream job, let alone any law job, is not available. Most JD’s that get hired earn around $50,000, so there is little ability to pay off a $70,000 law school loan, let alone the undergraduate loan of $20,000.

When one considers that less than 50% of incoming freshman earn their degree, we need to start rethinking what higher education is all about, and who is admitted in the first place–beyond what is best for the administrators and faculty.

Consolidation is the result when an industry is over-supplied and under-performing. Higher education is not immune to economics.

By: nixonfan Thu, 09 May 2013 16:43:08 +0000 The problem in US higher ed is its exhorbitant cost. The real cost per diploma is far higher today than it was fifty or even forty years ago. University expenses are unmanaged. There are excellent small private colleges in America today which provide a first-rate education for a fraction of the cost of the big names. This is because (1) they don’t have bloated graduate programs; (2) they don’t have bloated sports programs; and (3) their curricula are not filled with fashionable ephemera. I recommend comparing the curriculum of a prestige college today with its curriculum in 1963. You will discover that in 1963 it was more rigorous, more demanding and much shorter. Who pays the price for college extravagance? The white middle class, who now must struggle to get their kids into Eastern State, if they are lucky. There are no white middle class kids at the top schools anymore.