[–] VIP740 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

It’s time to marginalize the university. Universities have come to play an outsize, unwarranted, and often malign role in American life. But their influence and prestige doesn’t stem from any recent intellectual accomplishment or even insidious political agenda. Instead it comes down to “power” to use a word much in vogue among academics. And this power, more than anything else, is economic.

Where did this power come from? From what I can tell, academics (K - 12 and college) weren't taken too seriously in the US until relatively recently. Completing high-school wasn't a priority for most Americans, and college was considered an extravagance reserved for the rich.

From what I gather, children were forced into grade school as their jobs were replaced by industrialization. Higher education seems to have been embraced as a consequence of economic history. Before the Great Depression the prevailing attitude seemed to be more like what was depicted in October Skies, where the mindset was "Quit daydreaming about spaceships, there's work to be done. My father grew up in an area like this. But when the depression came along, honest workers were shamed by their inability to provide for themselves and their families.

Then WWII came along, and smashed up the world's infrastructure. America came in late, so they picked up the slack in global production, spawning an economic boom in the US. This seems to be when Americans full-heartedly embraced academia. Not so much for the pursuit of intellectual growth, but as a means for their children to obtain wealth, security, and social status. The jobs which failed during the Great Depression weren't good enough any more; and with the booming economy many families could afford to send their children to college for the first time. But this seems to have left formality dominating formal education. People seem more concerned with their children getting a diploma than an education.

I can tell you, had I gone along with what my parents and the school wanted me to do, I wouldn't be able to read or write with the ability I gained from personal pursuits.

Not having been around to see these events first had, I can't be too sure of my assessment though. Also, I don't have much knowledge of how education has developed in other countries, which would be important for gaining perspective. What are your thoughts?


[–] TheBuddha [S] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

America actually has a rich education. Boys would typically attend school until they reached what we call 6th grade and girls would typically go until 8th grade. Small rural towns often had single-room schoolhouses in close proximity and there were many of them. They were larger and more plentiful in the urban areas.

Academia, higher education, was after the 8th grade and was actually based on what we'd call "Liberal Arts" today. It had little to do with arts or humanities, but with sciences and mathematics, as well as history, literature, and philosophy. Those were the universities and inside the university would be a "college" which was dedicated to a single discipline.

After WWII, things had reached the point where they were becoming too technical to be gleaned without adequate starting knowledge and those who wished to do white-collar jobs would be better served to attend a university and attain a higher education. Their kids were all pressured into college, even if they weren't suited. It has since progressed to where we now urge everyone to go to college, even if they're not well suited for it.

I'm very, very much a fan of continued education. I'm not a proponent of the idea that everyone is best suited for university.


[–] BlipOnMap 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Cannabis cafes will be revolutionary for academia and will see an integration of the social classes in an intellectual environment.