Wednesday, March 22, 2006

RE: forget world hunger....are colleges obsolete?

the previous post brings up the question: are colleges obsolete? it all started so well: secluded institutions dedicated to the higher education of young men and women. it was a means to an end for those who sought an extension of the intellectual life before joining the workforce masses. now, college is seen as the destination by parents who see it as their duty to get their kids into college, sometimes at all costs, and colleges have been all too willing to oblige. the accelerating undergraduate cost is a supply and demand phenomenon of rabid parents who remain attached to legacy notions of what a college education is worth. it has always been recognized that the college experience is a combination of intellectual and social education, but what is marketed and purchased is purely the former and its real world value is getting increasingly murky as evidenced by the plight of the 20somethings. given the trajectory, one wonders what college education might look like and cost in 50 years, and would a renegade alternative model emerge....some other mechanism to gather young people to develop their nascent independence, socialization, and sporadic intellectual study. what might that look like? while we are at it, let's think about how graduate schools, residencies, high school, and the entire education pyramid have been distorted as merits of the model have been rendered legacy. graduate school, once the pinnacle of intellectual apprenticeship, has become institutionalized as low-cost labor for professors still struggling for security. residency served a similar role in medicine and but has also become an institution for low-cost labor. high school is now one long college preparatory course. time to rethink all educational models.

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