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Old 10-31-2013, 03:23 PM   #21
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And we wonder why many cannot find New Mexico on a map...
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:25 PM   #22
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Doubtless, a science or other technical education would have proved more remunerative, but at this point, would not trade the breadth of study and knowledge for money.
I tend to agree with ya. I'm also a Liberal Arts grad. I managed to somehow scrape by and support the family despite not having a technical degree. And I enjoyed my education, despite working my way through school, and don't think I'd change the way things worked out.

My son and DIL are engineers and hold mid-level management positions with well known tech companies (Eng Mgr and Dir of Eng) and it's nice to see them pulling in a living wage.

Everything has its pros and cons........
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:35 PM   #23
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I'm sure we could debate the "value of education for its own sake." Unfortunately, value or no, the COST is going up very rapidly. If a student is going to graduate with $40K to $100K in student loans to repay, they probably want a degree which will give them some chance of getting a job (quickly) which has the potential to help them pay those loans back. That's just my opinion, of course.
Oh, I understand *why* this is happening. Employers are leaving students no choice. And because employers have 95% of the leverage in today's job market, they can pretty much dictate the terms (including telling taxpayers to subsidize the specific skill developments they are demanding). I understand it, but I don't have to like it!
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:37 PM   #24
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And we wonder why many cannot find New Mexico on a map...
When I lived in California in the 1980s, my native CA neighbors thought Connecticut (where I am from) was a foreign country, let alone find it on a map.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:25 PM   #25
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And we wonder why many cannot find New Mexico on a map...
That's not taught in high school, if not middle school? One should not need to go to college for that.

That's said, after being here a few decades, and living in the West all that time, I will admit to having some problems with placing these bitty states back east.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:27 PM   #26
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That's not taught in high school, if not middle school? One should not need to go to college for that.

That's said, after being here a few decades, and living in the West all that time, I will admit to having some problems with placing these bitty states back east.
We don't need maps anymore, we all have GPS's!
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:31 PM   #27
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We don't need maps anymore, we all have GPS's!
Yep, and we don't need to know arithmetic because we have calculators!
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:34 PM   #28
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... So they want the students and the taxpayers to "give" them the educated people they want (it's a cost, so someone else has to pay it). ...
But looking at this the other way 'round, wouldn't the student want to get the education that employers are looking for?

Sure, there is value to a well-rounded education. Hopefully, employers would recognize this too. But I suspect that they are thinking more short-term, and that the Humanities classes offered really don't provide much in the way of really rounding out a person. Maybe something along the lies of critical thinking would be better?

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Old 10-31-2013, 04:39 PM   #29
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But looking at this the other way 'round, wouldn't the student want to get the education that employers are looking for?
In today's real world? Yes. Of course it makes sense. I'm not "blaming" students at all. They have to live in a reality that may not be their utopian fantasy -- especially now that college costs have become ridiculous.

I just think it's a little sad that this "real world" means only being concerned about education that gets you employed (hopefully with a decent salary). And that employers have gone cheap and refuse to give much OJT and instead pushed their training costs on the taxpayers.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:48 PM   #30
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And we wonder why many cannot find New Mexico on a map...
I recall reading a critique of these often quoted stats that X% of people could not find such and such on a map.

They pointed out we don't use maps that way. We don't look at blank maps and identify areas, we look at labeled maps to find areas. Often, the maps in those 'tests' don't even have borders on them, so the reference points we use are missing too.

From general knowledge, I'd hope that most people would know that New Mexico is in the SW of the USA. I wouldn't be too surprised if a significant % of people point to Arizona instead (assuming the borders were there). Would that 'fail' the test?

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Old 10-31-2013, 05:01 PM   #31
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In today's real world? Yes. Of course it makes sense. I'm not "blaming" students at all. They have to live in a reality that may not be their utopian fantasy -- especially now that college costs have become ridiculous.

I just think it's a little sad that this "real world" means only being concerned about education that gets you employed (hopefully with a decent salary). ...
But is it really the employer's responsibility to see that I get a 'well rounded' education? Maybe that should be my responsibility? (not arguing, just raising the question)

For example, I'm interested in music, and little in photography, heck, even my beer brewing has increased my knowledge of chemistry and some physical processes. I can recall specific times where my hobbies actually did help me with my job - I drew on some of these experiences to come up with solutions for more specific problems (still in a technical sense, not really 'humanities' as such).

But to some degree, having these outside interests put me ahead of my 'competition' in some ways. But should I count on learning these things in a formal setting? Could they have been taught to me, or was it the fact that I went searching for them that made them valuable and useful to me in other areas of my life?

It's all a but fuzzy and abstract for me at this point, it's been so long. But I should ask my kids about their humanities courses. I suspect they just wanted to get them out of the way. But maybe it sinks in a little?

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Old 10-31-2013, 05:25 PM   #32
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About employer's needs... and hiring because of educational background.

Well, yes, in some disciplines... a hospital shouldn't have to educate a doctor, and perhaps an engineering firm shouldn't be a classroom for engineers, but in an age of specialization, instead of requiring a 4,6 or 8 year degree for most jobs, wouldn't it be a better option to subsidize businesses to train employees for their own specialized occupational needs.

I'd suggest that that most jobs do not really require a broad based college education.

This has been tried multiple times, in operations run by government, whereby potential employees would be directed towards businesses with specific needs, and subsidized during the training period. Chicago experimented with this a dozen or so years ago, with bad results because of the bureaucracy, but the general concept was good. (the bureaucrats ended up getting more than the employers or the trainees).

A typical subsidy might be on the job training for automobile mechanics... whereby the shop would receive a $5/hr subsidy for a one year apprenticeship, with a 2 year job guarantee for a member of the program.

Many ways to implement, including classrooms, on-line educational subsidies or one on one apprenticeships.

All in all, I dislike paying high overhead prices for many services... medical, legal, financial etc, because of the required, expensive educational requirements for the employees, when they are performing rote or low value activities that don't need the higher level of education.
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:51 PM   #33
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But is it really the employer's responsibility to see that I get a 'well rounded' education?
Partially.

The employer has every right and reason to want to hire people who are capable of doing the job. Part of the problem is that the definition of "able to do the job has changed so drastically.

It's unreasonable to expect a public (i.e. taxpayer-funded) institution to give them exactly what they need without OJT. And employers are getting so greedy that they won't provide OJT any more. Even companies posting record profits expect new hires to come in and know almost everything on Day One.

I know the world has changed in the last 47 years.... BUT -- my dad was a pilot in the Air Force, and in 1966 he was grounded by high blood pressure. (Today he would have been able to fly with approved medications if it could be managed, but not in 1966.) He left the Air Force after 13 years and moved to California and became a computer programmer. And eventually, a project leader. With NO degree.

And he retired better than 95% of us can hope to.

But the point is, the employer hired for aptitude and trained from there. Employers today know they have the leverage, so they privatize the profits and put the costs on the public. I know enough about how you feel about things and about one group putting its costs on other that I'm surprised you seem to be OK with a system that expects taxpayers to provide specific skills that for-profit businesses want in order to make more profit. You may not like a system that pays for students to get the skills needed to get hired, so why do you seem to be OK with a system that allows employers to milk the system and make the same taxpayers pay for their training?
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:33 PM   #34
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Partially.

The employer has every right and reason to want to hire people who are capable of doing the job. Part of the problem is that the definition of "able to do the job has changed so drastically.

It's unreasonable to expect a public (i.e. taxpayer-funded) institution to give them exactly what they need without OJT. And employers are getting so greedy that they won't provide OJT any more. Even companies posting record profits expect new hires to come in and know almost everything on Day One.

I know the world has changed in the last 47 years.... BUT -- my dad was a pilot in the Air Force, .... He left the Air Force after 13 years and moved to California and became a computer programmer. And eventually, a project leader. With NO degree.

And he retired better than 95% of us can hope to. ...?
Well, maybe I've been out of the job market too long, and/or maybe my experience is too narrow, but we really didn't expect fresh-out engineers (and I hired plenty of 'em in my career) to hit the ground running on Day One. Just about every place has specific systems - what you get out of a fresh-out is they should know enough to be able to absorb the info you give them, and start working with it. They have a lot to learn.

Heck, when I first started at MegaCorp, they threw me a set of binders and told me to study it. They said it wouldn't make much sense, but I'd probably pick up enough to help me with the training sessions that started next week. It wasn't all that much different when I left.

As far as your Dad, yes, that was a different time. The computer industry was young, and a sharp guy w/o a degree could do well for himself. That is harder today, no doubt.

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Old 10-31-2013, 06:56 PM   #35
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Doubtless, a science or other technical education would have proved more remunerative, but at this point, would not trade the breadth of study and knowledge for money.
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I tend to agree with ya. I'm also a Liberal Arts grad. I managed to somehow scrape by and support the family despite not having a technical degree. And I enjoyed my education, despite working my way through school, and don't think I'd change the way things worked out.
Would you advise an 18-21 year old today to choose Humanities/Liberal Arts? And if that's where their hearts & minds are leading them, when they ask about what job security and standard of living they might expect from those degrees, what would you tell them?
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:57 PM   #36
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If one views a college degree as something to be used in the service of capitalism and/or the global economy, then it stands to reason that an education in the liberal arts and humanities is unnecessary. It seems our culture is transforming into one that places little value on intellectuals who are fashionably scorned in the mainstream media and made to feel out of place in a society that only values ideas that serve the interests of the markets and the wealthy. Where would our nation be without intellectuals like Martin Luther King, William F. Buckley and Dubois who challenged convention and the status quo along with precipitating social and economic justice? Theirs is a dying breed of intellectuals who were willing to take risks and fight for matters of freedom, justice, transparency and equality. It is in fact the arts, literature and music along with critical, intellectual thought that separate us from the barbarians. Attempting to quantify the value of the arts & humanities in any culture is difficult, however, investing in them is not always intuitively obvious like investments in finding cures for diseases or advances in things like engineering. Just because something can't me measured doesn't mean it is without value. Have we arrived at a point where we only value those things that have dollars attached to them and provide some sort of measurable economic gain? If so, what does that say about us as a people and our culture?
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:08 PM   #37
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When I lived in California in the 1980s, my native CA neighbors thought Connecticut (where I am from) was a foreign country, let alone find it on a map.
Just today, elders had to explain to the youngster (30+ yrs old, running his own business) where "New England" is! We live in Pennsylvania! This is scary to have to explain grade school stuff to adults.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:17 PM   #38
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If one views a college degree as something to be used in the service of capitalism and/or the global economy, then it stands to reason that an education in the liberal arts and humanities is unnecessary. It seems our culture is transforming into one that places little value on intellectuals who are fashionably scorned in the mainstream media and made to feel out of place in a society that only values ideas that serve the interests of the markets and the wealthy. Where would our nation be without intellectuals like Martin Luther King, William F. Buckley and Dubois who challenged convention and the status quo along with precipitating social and economic justice? Theirs is a dying breed of intellectuals who were willing to take risks and fight for matters of freedom, justice, transparency and equality. It is in fact the arts, literature and music along with critical, intellectual thought that separate us from the barbarians. Attempting to quantify the value of the arts & humanities in any culture is difficult, however, investing in them is not always intuitively obvious like investments in finding cures for diseases or advances in things like engineering. Just because something can't me measured doesn't mean it is without value. Have we arrived at a point where we only value those things that have dollars attached to them and provide some sort of measurable economic gain? If so, what does that say about us as a people and our culture?
You tell us...

I think we may have a chicken or the egg question here though.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:23 PM   #39
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I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.John Adams
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Has Adams's hoped-for evolution stopped? Maybe Adams didn't know about globalization.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:25 PM   #40
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Would you advise an 18-21 year old today to choose Humanities/Liberal Arts? And if that's where their hearts & minds are leading them, when they ask about what job security and standard of living they might expect from those degrees, what would you tell them?
In short... I do understand that times have changed.
As to advice... I have 2 grandsons both of whom are in accelerated programs... one in IMSA, and the other at NC Illinois... both science oriented. Careful mentoring by their dad is directing them into balanced courses and providing opportunities for educational travel and exposure to the arts.
If I were to be starting again, I would definitely be looking for security first... you are correct!.

I have never regretted my broad based education... Inspiration for lifetime curiosity and satisfaction.
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