Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Going to school and getting an education.

It used to be that an education was what you went to school for. But those days are long gone. Today parents pay good money for their kids to go to college in order for them to get a better job. You hear that from politicians, from the president on down, as well as from college presidents and deans and other people whom we call "educators."
Colleges have become training schools for jobs. Every year more colleges cancel their general education courses and substitute job training programs. Students take less English and literature, they learn little history or social science. Forget philosophy. Students graduate knowing little about the world they live in.
So employers should be really happy because colleges are trying to provide good future employees for them.
But it is not working out that way. A recent article in the Chronicle for Higher Education records the complaints of many employers that today's college graduates are not ready to take a job. One employer is quoted as saying: "They don't need more technical training. They need to learn how to think." Other employer complaints are more specific: College students who may have knowledge of all sorts of technical subjects, they say, are not able to give a good oral or written presentation of a set of facts. The communication skills of today's college graduates – even if they are Communication Majors – are really deficient. If they are asked to present a proposal they are unable to marshal reasonable arguments in defense of it.
In short, they lack the skills of a well-educated person. They may have received useful training for a specific job. But they did not get an education.
But an education is what many employers are looking for.
Perhaps, parents should ask for their money back.