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Okay, so it needed a proofreader...

but it is nonetheless a piece which asks important questions. And, as you might guess, I kinda relate.

http://insidehighered.com/views/2008/10/10/sloane

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
dicea
Oct. 10th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
Interesting.

Raises two idea/questions for me, though.

Has the author ever worked outside of academia for more than a brief while? I suspect a couple of years in the armed forces or the peace corps or doing an involved manual labor job every day would really be a helpful and positive addition to the authors concept of people and class. I mean that in the most sincere and kindest way. I believe that this author is educated in such a way to allow him or her to learn from such an experience and apply it to the stated desires and goals.

The other question isn't quite as pretty in my eyes. I want to ask why people are teaching people how to spend money and earn points toward a certificate rather than teaching them how to increase their skills and improve their lives? But I know that that is not a question one asks. I know the answers to it, but it still frustrates me.

It seems we'd be better off for a couple of Beguenages around or some informal schooling through social clubs. Nah, don't worry about arguing, I already know the points against that too.

Actually, what I think I'm worried about is that the author seems more interested in improving the system and changing the existing broken system rather than finding a system that does work.

Author seems to want to be a banner waver for a glorious new day in the same old system.

Forget the iceberg, author needs to get back in the boat and find the cabinet of life preservers.
dagonell
Oct. 10th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, that certificate is too-often crucial to landing a job. My best friend Jim and I were both ham radio operators in high school, screaming electronics geeks, we could fix anything. We tried to get after school jobs at Radio Shack (back when it catered to ham radio buffs) and were told that all we were qualified for was sweeping floors. We HAD the skills, but we didn't have the certificates. HR wants those rather than the skills, that way when something goes wrong, they can point the finger and say "But he *had* the certificates so we thought he had the skills!" Without the certs, there's no "proof" you're qualified for the job. My master's degree didn't really give my that much more experience in job skills, it was just a certificate that I had them in the first place.
dicea
Oct. 10th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
English is one of those subjects in which improvement by formal class or private tutor or self-motivated study can directly improve quality of life for an individual.

Reading comprehension and structured critical thinking about read materials can affect what kind of contracts and agreements one signs, what kind of service one will get from medical specialists, personal nutrition and well-being management, and many other examples.

There are lots of great examples of why and how certain occupational skills need to be taught in a training and certification style. Certainly we're all really glad that individuals in medical fields or engineering fields have those happy certificates.

If the only purpose of a community college was to get everyone a job, it would be called a labor placement office. A job may be the only reason to get the certificate, but it is not nearly the reason to develop as much education as possible.

Everyone should develop language and critical thinking skills at all stages of life. Not because it will get you better money or because anyone will praise you for it, but because you will be better prepared to communicate with other people and that is the first step to protecting and taking care of yourself.
ariannawyn
Oct. 10th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Are you familiar with the book "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives" by George Lakoff?

While the book's purpose is to explain to the left how to reframe issues in the way the right has been doing for years, it has an interesting premise that I think is applicable to the situation with community college students.

Lakoff maintains that conservatives believe in a God who is wrathful and requires punishment, a very "old testament" view. Conversely, he says progressives believe in a beneficent God who loves His children, as in the Sermon on the Mount. As a result, conservatives do not want to fund programs for the poor because they believe people become poor as a result of being sinners, and thus deserve their poverty. People who are affluent are therefore better people, since they are clearly being rewarded by God. I was astounded to find out that there are "prosperity churches" where people believe that if they pray hard enough and believe, then Jesus will reward them financially. One wonders if these people actually read the New Testament (or the book of Job, for that matter), but I digress.

Anyway, if one believes that poor people deserve their fate, and that it is ordained by God, then what is their incentive to try to alleviate poverty? From that perspective, attempting to do so would mean throwing money away on people who God has already judged lacking.

I don't know how much truth there is in this (and I find the concept of the poor deserving their poverty repugnant), but it does go a long way toward explaining some of the apparent cognitive dissonance I see on the right - for instance, insisting that women bear children they do not want while resisting providing poor mothers and those children with government assistance.
kelfstein
Oct. 10th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
I went to my local community college before transferring to a state university. I have more than one friend who works at a community college. It is horrible how some if not most all community colleges are treated by local, state and the federal government.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )