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A modest proposal for [higher education]

2456

Posts

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The average time to complete a "four year" degree is already inching up on five years. I don't hate the idea of adding vocational training, but it has to replace something in the curriculum (for cost reasons if nothing else.) I have a hard time imagining how you would squeeze an actual two year trade school into the bachelor's degree process.

    Also I kind of don't know where the "demand for the trade skills" thing in the OP is coming from. I'm not familiar with all of them obviously, but I have at least two buddies who have essentially quit their trade-related work to pursue more mundane white collar jobs, because their fields are getting killed too.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    To offer some perspective, Trades and such going unfilled is, I'd say, mostly a cultural issue.

    Here in Ontario (and maybe elsewhere in Canada, not sure) post-secondary is divided into Universities and Colleges.

    A University is a standard ... University. Bachelors of X, Profs, 4 years, Grad school, Grants, Tenure, blah blah blah.

    A college is designed for vocational stuff. Generally 2-3 years, costs alot less, easier to get into, no Proffesors and the training is specific to a certain job.

    You go to University for a degree in English. You go to College for some sort of certificate or whatever in Publishing or Editing or something. And, also, to make connections to get jobs.


    And the thing is, most people still don't go for trades and shit. Because everyone will tell you "You need to go to University". It's the expected. Nobody pushes trades and they are, in some cases, actively discouraged by people like guidance councilors and teachers. Not going to University is looked down on. It's shameful. (Interestingly, the newish thing is to do a 4-year degree and THEN go to college for specific job training type stuff)

    It's not that people CAN'T go in to trades, it's that our society in North America largely looks down on them. Especially in the middle class.



    And on top of that, Employers think alot the same. A college certificate for, say, publishing is ok, but what they really want to see is that plus you previously got a 4-year degree in English or something. For anything not a straight trade like plumbing or what have you, a degree still carries alot of weight. Especially for newbies.


    Just some thoughts from a slightly different system.

    shryke on
  • MadnessBAMadnessBA Registered User
    edited March 2010
    This thread just makes me glad the government is paying me to learn how to be an electrician AND how to run nuclear reactors.

    MadnessBA on
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    This is of interest to me, being a high school junior and all. Will agree that vocational training is given very little emphasis. As long as I have been in school I have never even heard of vocational training being mentioned by any of the educators as an option. Only college. And I think we all know the 'type', for whom traditional college of any sort will be useless.

    Muse Among Men on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)

    Lawndart on
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    My school only offers woodshop and that is it. No other vocational classes, unless you count art but that is mandatory.

    Muse Among Men on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Also I kind of don't know where the "demand for the trade skills" thing in the OP is coming from. I'm not familiar with all of them obviously, but I have at least two buddies who have essentially quit their trade-related work to pursue more mundane white collar jobs, because their fields are getting killed too.

    Depends on the local economy and job. I'm sure carpenters are suffering more than locksmiths.

    Quid on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    None at my highschool. Not enough money to fund them.

    shryke on
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think you are all mis-diagnosing the problem. I want to see some stats to back up the claim that there is a huge demand for plumbers and shit on a national level.

    Graduates can't find jobs because the economy is shit and there are no jobs to find. If the economy was still booming they would have. The devaluation of the BA or whatever is a trivial factor compared to this.

    If anything we need more people in college doing things like science and engineering because that's one of the few places we can expect to create jobs in the future.

    I think the deficiencies in our high schools are a part of this as well. No way would I consider someone who only finished high school to be equipped to be an informed, productive citizen.

    HamHamJ on
    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Also I kind of don't know where the "demand for the trade skills" thing in the OP is coming from. I'm not familiar with all of them obviously, but I have at least two buddies who have essentially quit their trade-related work to pursue more mundane white collar jobs, because their fields are getting killed too.

    Depends on the local economy and job. I'm sure carpenters are suffering more than locksmiths.

    I don't know what the American construction market is doing, but all the stimulus projects in Canada are being held up by a lack of skilled labour.

    Robman on
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    My high school sort of had two schools. When you registered for 9th grade you either registered for normal high school or for CAAT (some acronym about applied academics) which was basically a four year vocational school that met the state requirements for high school.

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    None at my highschool. Not enough money to fund them.

    My high school had a Cosmotology course, and a few agriculture classes that might be considered shop (I think one involved welding). That was also 12 years ago so I don't know how much of that remains. (Interestingly enough, they also had a course aimed at getting you certified with Microsoft Windows, but that left with the teacher the year I graduated. And not many people got certified).

    High school should have options for both vocational and college prep. Of course, "college prep" should teach you many of the things that you get out of a 4-year liberal arts degree before you even get in one. Not the knowledge side of things but rather the skills you learn. Colleges are definitely picking up slack from the failing public school system.

    Tomanta on
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Tomanta wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    None at my highschool. Not enough money to fund them.

    My high school had a Cosmotology course, and a few agriculture classes that might be considered shop (I think one involved welding). That was also 12 years ago so I don't know how much of that remains. (Interestingly enough, they also had a course aimed at getting you certified with Microsoft Windows, but that left with the teacher the year I graduated. And not many people got certified).

    High school should have options for both vocational and college prep. Of course, "college prep" should teach you many of the things that you get out of a 4-year liberal arts degree before you even get in one. Not the knowledge side of things but rather the skills you learn. Colleges are definitely picking up slack from the failing public school system.

    It was a real game changer for me to walk into Dalhousie University, (not exactly Party State U) and in a highly competitive, highly exclusive science program... to find out that we would be re-learning the fundamentals of derivation and integration. Or to find out that we would be re-learning the basics of momentum and projectile motion. Or to find out that we would be covering the basics of chemical kinetics again.

    The point is, that my first year of university was entirely wasted outside of Psychology and learning how to research (part of the program was a four month supervised research project that was approximately as intensive as an honours research project.) At least, I found it to be a waste of time, because I had the luxury of going to one of the best high schools in Toronto. A public school, rarely recognized, but the staff there were truly exceptional. It had a genuine engineering design course, where we would be assigned tasks such as building a bridge, or building a robot to get through an obstacle course, we would be taught basic theory, split into groups, and left to design and succeed/fail on our own merit. The university stream Chemistry professor held a PhD in the subject. My calculus marks went up in university, and I scored a 5.0 on the AP exam and was a relatively average student in the subject.

    The music program was similarly exceptional, the woman who ran it's husband was one of the best jazz guitarists in Toronto, and brought a steady stream of talent to do sectional classes as well as group sessions on improvisation and some pretty advanced music theory. All this in a school that also had a robust auto mechanic program, a hairdressing program, and a carpentry program.

    The point of this rather long post? The "death" of public education is a rather tired talking point. My experiences in high school are hardly unique. Can the education system use a vigorous examination and re-invention to maximize effectiveness and efficiency? Certainly. My experience should have been the norm, rather then the exception. But don't announce the death rattle of the public education system.

    Robman on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    The point of this rather long post? The "death" of public education is a rather tired talking point. My experiences in high school are hardly unique. Can the education system use a vigorous examination and re-invention to maximize effectiveness and efficiency? Certainly. My experience should have been the norm, rather then the exception. But don't announce the death rattle of the public education system.

    There are certainly some good public schools in the U.S. but by and large they are underfunded schools that focus on one thing: passing the next standardized test so they can continue being underfunded rather than severely underfunded. Large cities tend to be better off since they can afford to have a school where they send the more promising students (magnet schools) but many small school districts have to cater to everyone and do it poorly.

    Tomanta on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Tomanta wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    None at my highschool. Not enough money to fund them.

    My high school had a Cosmotology course, and a few agriculture classes that might be considered shop (I think one involved welding). That was also 12 years ago so I don't know how much of that remains. (Interestingly enough, they also had a course aimed at getting you certified with Microsoft Windows, but that left with the teacher the year I graduated. And not many people got certified).

    High school should have options for both vocational and college prep. Of course, "college prep" should teach you many of the things that you get out of a 4-year liberal arts degree before you even get in one. Not the knowledge side of things but rather the skills you learn. Colleges are definitely picking up slack from the failing public school system.

    It was a real game changer for me to walk into Dalhousie University, (not exactly Party State U) and in a highly competitive, highly exclusive science program... to find out that we would be re-learning the fundamentals of derivation and integration. Or to find out that we would be re-learning the basics of momentum and projectile motion. Or to find out that we would be covering the basics of chemical kinetics again.

    The point is, that my first year of university was entirely wasted outside of Psychology and learning how to research (part of the program was a four month supervised research project that was approximately as intensive as an honours research project.) At least, I found it to be a waste of time, because I had the luxury of going to one of the best high schools in Toronto. A public school, rarely recognized, but the staff there were truly exceptional. It had a genuine engineering design course, where we would be assigned tasks such as building a bridge, or building a robot to get through an obstacle course, we would be taught basic theory, split into groups, and left to design and succeed/fail on our own merit. The university stream Chemistry professor held a PhD in the subject. My calculus marks went up in university, and I scored a 5.0 on the AP exam and was a relatively average student in the subject.

    The music program was similarly exceptional, the woman who ran it's husband was one of the best jazz guitarists in Toronto, and brought a steady stream of talent to do sectional classes as well as group sessions on improvisation and some pretty advanced music theory. All this in a school that also had a robust auto mechanic program, a hairdressing program, and a carpentry program.

    The point of this rather long post? The "death" of public education is a rather tired talking point. My experiences in high school are hardly unique. Can the education system use a vigorous examination and re-invention to maximize effectiveness and efficiency? Certainly. My experience should have been the norm, rather then the exception. But don't announce the death rattle of the public education system.

    Haha, I had the same issues in University. It's amazing how pathetic some people's high school educations were.

    shryke on
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    Tomanta wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    None at my highschool. Not enough money to fund them.

    My high school had a Cosmotology course, and a few agriculture classes that might be considered shop (I think one involved welding). That was also 12 years ago so I don't know how much of that remains. (Interestingly enough, they also had a course aimed at getting you certified with Microsoft Windows, but that left with the teacher the year I graduated. And not many people got certified).

    High school should have options for both vocational and college prep. Of course, "college prep" should teach you many of the things that you get out of a 4-year liberal arts degree before you even get in one. Not the knowledge side of things but rather the skills you learn. Colleges are definitely picking up slack from the failing public school system.

    It was a real game changer for me to walk into Dalhousie University, (not exactly Party State U) and in a highly competitive, highly exclusive science program... to find out that we would be re-learning the fundamentals of derivation and integration. Or to find out that we would be re-learning the basics of momentum and projectile motion. Or to find out that we would be covering the basics of chemical kinetics again.

    The point is, that my first year of university was entirely wasted outside of Psychology and learning how to research (part of the program was a four month supervised research project that was approximately as intensive as an honours research project.) At least, I found it to be a waste of time, because I had the luxury of going to one of the best high schools in Toronto. A public school, rarely recognized, but the staff there were truly exceptional. It had a genuine engineering design course, where we would be assigned tasks such as building a bridge, or building a robot to get through an obstacle course, we would be taught basic theory, split into groups, and left to design and succeed/fail on our own merit. The university stream Chemistry professor held a PhD in the subject. My calculus marks went up in university, and I scored a 5.0 on the AP exam and was a relatively average student in the subject.

    The music program was similarly exceptional, the woman who ran it's husband was one of the best jazz guitarists in Toronto, and brought a steady stream of talent to do sectional classes as well as group sessions on improvisation and some pretty advanced music theory. All this in a school that also had a robust auto mechanic program, a hairdressing program, and a carpentry program.

    The point of this rather long post? The "death" of public education is a rather tired talking point. My experiences in high school are hardly unique. Can the education system use a vigorous examination and re-invention to maximize effectiveness and efficiency? Certainly. My experience should have been the norm, rather then the exception. But don't announce the death rattle of the public education system.

    Haha, I had the same issues in University. It's amazing how pathetic some people's high school educations were.

    I had the same experience as well. And I went to public high school. Where we did things like dissect cats and clone genes in biology lab that I didn't get to do again until my junior year of college.

    Kistra on
    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    What spectacular-sounding schools did you guys go to?

    Muse Among Men on
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    http://schools.tdsb.on.ca/danforthcti/home.html

    It's kind of interesting, because it looks like they've pulled together a lot of what the teachers were organizing on their own into some sort of a coherent program.

    Robman on
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Do they not have shop class in high school anymore?

    I mean, that's where I learned I can't sew, assemble things from wood, or construct electronic devices.

    If anything, high school should be where vocational training is emphasized for some students, not college (or at least not a traditional 4-year liberal arts college.)
    Our high school offered extensive vocational and shop classes, and actually had a separate building for some of them. You had woodworking, auto mechanics, carpentry, agriculture, welding, office skills (Excel and stuff like that), pre-nursing classes, probably some other stuff I've forgotten about. In about your freshman/sophomore year you decided whether you wanted a standard diploma (which freed up your schedule for lots of vocational electives) or college-track diploma (threw in some extra requirements like foreign language, more sciences, etc.).

    I never took too many of them because I was on the college-track, although several of my friends did. From what I gathered they were generally pretty decent - with the possible exception of ag class, which was basically getting a grade for showing up and sitting on the back steps to smoke. Or maybe that was welding? I forget.

    Duffel on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    enc0re wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    enc0re wrote: »
    Community colleges offer occupational in addition to academic programs. Sounds like that's what you want.
    do they really? I'm surprised they have time to do both in just 2 years.
    2 years in sociology at a community college is very different from 2 years in construction materials at a community college.

    They offer both, but the two rarely intersect.

    Usually the occupational programs have an option where you get an A.S. instead of just a certificate, in exchange for extra liberal arts coursework. It's a nice combo. After two years, you have a nice skill (plumbing or whatever) and two years towards a B.S.

    This is what I'm doing, and getting an inordinant amount of shit from my family about it. I haven't found the downside yet though.

    override367 on
  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Also I kind of don't know where the "demand for the trade skills" thing in the OP is coming from. I'm not familiar with all of them obviously, but I have at least two buddies who have essentially quit their trade-related work to pursue more mundane white collar jobs, because their fields are getting killed too.

    Depends on the local economy and job. I'm sure carpenters are suffering more than locksmiths.

    I don't know what the American construction market is doing, but all the stimulus projects in Canada are being held up by a lack of skilled labour.

    Im a canadian electrician, currently attending my 3rd term in school.

    90% of the guys that are in school with me, are laid off because of lack of work.

    That being said, the industry can bounce back pretty damn fast, and I love that I make 26$ an hour at 21 years old.

    Slo on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    What spectacular-sounding schools did you guys go to?

    My school wasn't even crazy with the special labs and such.

    It was just they were very committed to actually teaching us the shit in the curriculum.

    shryke on
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Ah, calculus. I have no idea why schools hold off on teaching it for so long. Even middle-schoolers should be able to work their way around slopes and histograms. Or am I being overly optimistic?

    jothki on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jothki wrote: »
    Ah, calculus. I have no idea why schools hold off on teaching it for so long. Even middle-schoolers should be able to work their way around slopes and histograms. Or am I being overly optimistic?

    Man what? No. It took two tries for me to get through Algebra II by the skin of my teeth. Calculus isn't any more doable or necessary for some people than higher level foreign language class.

    Quid on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    middle schoolers do work their way around slopes and graphs. Slopes and graphs ain't calculus.

    Really vocational training ought to begin taking place in high school, rather than in undergrad, so that prospective four year students can actually evaluate their options. I took intro calculus in high school and I have no idea why, other than that it was "next" on a math track and supposedly colleges wanted to see four years of math.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I think we need to step back a second, the economy in nearly every sector has flushed its diapers and the mess is far from cleaned up. That, I think, is why you see 4 year grads working for $9 an hour, not the proliferation of degrees.

    We might get to a point where you need a masters to work at mcdonalds, but we're by no means there

    override367 on
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    My high school had a high achiever magnet program, which I was in. It was one of I think two in the county. I took AP calculus and physics my junior year, largely because I had a teacher who really really wanted to teach it, along with american history and I think english. I passed all my ap tests with 4's and 5's. My senior year I took ap government and that was about it, because I had basically run out of classes to take, my school didn't offer anything higher. I technically took BC (as opposed to AB) level calculus, but really there were only 3 of us in that class, and we were in the same room as another lower level calculus class, so we didn't really do much learning. And again, this was the HIGH ACHIEVER program of my school.

    The only reason I was prepared for college at all is because of a couple of spectacular teachers I had my last two years of high school, and even then it was a rough fucking transition, with me getting a 1.7 gpa my first year.

    Granted, this is an american school, in a poor section of a state on the lower end of the educational scale. But I think that it's probably more indicative of the public school situation than your school with great teachers with expertise in their areas and great funding.

    SageinaRage on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Saammiel wrote: »
    Institutions can sort it out, alongside industry. For those jobs where a degree doesn't translate to a job, they would hopefully back off of requiring a degree if we shaped the incentives accordingly. I'm not going to deny that shaping those incentives would be an enormous challenge, but our existing education market isn't functioning all that well.

    I'd definitely agree that our existing system needs work at all levels: primary, secondary, post-secondary, job-requirements... But there seems to be a theme both in your post and in the OP that, to one extent or another, the point of higher education is job training. I don't think that I agree. A degree in engineering trains you to be an engineer, but I feel like the job is less the point of the degree and more a byproduct. Turning universities into job-training centers might improve the quality of job applicants, but I think that doing so would be destroying something important. Knowledge for its own sake. Learning for its own sake. Maybe we're destroying it anyway by increasing the cultural expectation that everyone should have a 4-year degree, I don't know. But I think that universities serve a critical role beyond getting people ready for their career.

    That's why I think it's a much more desirable goal to see job requirements drop, allowing universities to serve those students who actually want to learn rather than being High School Part 2 and "proving that you can work on something for 4 years". When I was in highschool that was, word for word, what I was told the point of highschool was. Of course fewer students would only mean higher tuitions... but university tuition is a whole other kettle of fish.
    I don't really think the point of higher education is job training, and I tried to emphasize that in the OP when i said that I still think studying liberal arts is valuable for it's own sake. However, just being realistic, you have to get job training SOMEWHERE. If you didn't get it in highschool or in university, and you can't find a company that's willing to train you, then where are you supposed to get it? Are you supposed to just pick it up on your own, during your free time at university? That seems to be how a lot of people get their first jobs after graduation. I'd just like to see the system become a little more straightforward, so that people will know what they're getting. If nothing else just tell incoming freshman "a liberal arts degree, by itself, will not get you a job, . You need something else on your resume, and you're on your own for that."

    Pi-r8 on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I think you are all mis-diagnosing the problem. I want to see some stats to back up the claim that there is a huge demand for plumbers and shit on a national level.

    Graduates can't find jobs because the economy is shit and there are no jobs to find. If the economy was still booming they would have. The devaluation of the BA or whatever is a trivial factor compared to this.

    If anything we need more people in college doing things like science and engineering because that's one of the few places we can expect to create jobs in the future.

    I think the deficiencies in our high schools are a part of this as well. No way would I consider someone who only finished high school to be equipped to be an informed, productive citizen.
    Yeah I've tried to find stats on this, and it's really hard to find. I'm just going by anecdotal evidence right now, where it seems like anyone who's in a skilled trade makes at least a decent wage.

    Of course if the economy was better there'd be more jobs for graduates, however, wouldn't those jobs still consist of either unskilled labor, or on-the-job training? Because when you look at the average college graduate- someone with a degree in english, art, foreign language, psychology, or even math or science, it's hard to think of any job for which their college degree has actually prepared them. I really admire the engineering programs because those at least make an effort to prepare students for some jobs, while still being a full college degree and not a vocational school.

    Pi-r8 on
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    Ah, calculus. I have no idea why schools hold off on teaching it for so long. Even middle-schoolers should be able to work their way around slopes and histograms. Or am I being overly optimistic?

    Man what? No. It took two tries for me to get through Algebra II by the skin of my teeth. Calculus isn't any more doable or necessary for some people than higher level foreign language class.

    D:

    I had to take Algebra twice and need a tutor for Algebra 2. Fuck no we can't all work our way around slopes and histograms. I don't consider anything above algebra as being very useful to most people (though geometry wasn't that bad). Drawing classes are the same thing to many people too (though I guess being able to draw sexxay ladies would be a welcome skill for many), and art is mandatory at my highschool. I would have liked to not take the classes and take something more 'enriching'.

    [Edit]: Hey, I do think psychology is pretty spiffy, but I wouldn't want a career out of it. Following this line of discussion, would taking AP Psycology for my senior year be a good option?

    Muse Among Men on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    Ah, calculus. I have no idea why schools hold off on teaching it for so long. Even middle-schoolers should be able to work their way around slopes and histograms. Or am I being overly optimistic?

    Man what? No. It took two tries for me to get through Algebra II by the skin of my teeth. Calculus isn't any more doable or necessary for some people than higher level foreign language class.

    D:

    [Edit]: Hey, I do think psychology is pretty spiffy, but I wouldn't want a career out of it. Following this line of discussion, would taking AP Psycology for my senior year be a good option?
    I didn't know they had an AP Psychology class. Sounds like it might be a fun class for your senior year, but it's probably not gonna help you in college unless you actually want to major in Psych. Check with your university, though, and see what kind of credit they'll give your for it.

    Pi-r8 on
  • Muse Among MenMuse Among Men Suburban Bunny Princess? Its time for a new shtick Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Oh, I just think it would be fun/interesting. I don't want a degree in it or anything. Just that the discussion makes the class seem like a better option (as opposed to not taking it senior year and maybe taking the class in college).

    Muse Among Men on
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited March 2010
    I would note that, as an engineering student right now, I notice that everything I learned in math from 2nd grade until now has been from an engineering standpoint.
    Is it good that a vast majority of kids are forced to take what is essentially pre-engineering training and eventually drop it midway through their sophomore year? Is it good that being good at pre-engineering skills is a requirement to get into an elite college? I'm not so sure that it is.
    Quite frankly, you can add high school physics and chemistry to that, as they were glorified algebra classes with a bit of subject specific memorization thrown in.

    In other words, I think I know where we're finding the space for more civics, cultural relativism training, all that stuff. If you want to be an engineer, it's tough to the point that you have to start early. Everyone else can go ahead and do the soft stuff.

    Of course, this is all assuming that the freshman in high school aren't reading on a fourth grade level when they show up. But that's a different problem.

    Picardathon on
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Quid wrote: »
    jothki wrote: »
    Ah, calculus. I have no idea why schools hold off on teaching it for so long. Even middle-schoolers should be able to work their way around slopes and histograms. Or am I being overly optimistic?

    Man what? No. It took two tries for me to get through Algebra II by the skin of my teeth. Calculus isn't any more doable or necessary for some people than higher level foreign language class.

    D:

    I had to take Algebra twice and need a tutor for Algebra 2. Fuck no we can't all work our way around slopes and histograms. I don't consider anything above algebra as being very useful to most people (though geometry wasn't that bad). Drawing classes are the same thing to many people too (though I guess being able to draw sexxay ladies would be a welcome skill for many), and art is mandatory at my highschool. I would have liked to not take the classes and take something more 'enriching'.

    [Edit]: Hey, I do think psychology is pretty spiffy, but I wouldn't want a career out of it. Following this line of discussion, would taking AP Psycology for my senior year be a good option?

    Is this a legitimate, H/A type question? If so, then any AP class helps, and you're likely to get a better grade if you're interested, so go for it.

    Picardathon on
  • legionofonelegionofone __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2010
    What I can remember most is when I was in 7th grade being told that I needed to know what I wanted to do in life right now by my guidance counselor, and that you needed to go to college to make money if you didn't want to end up homeless.

    Yeah, she was an idiot, but its a narrative I kept hearing over and over through high school as well. You need to go to college to be successful. I went to a school that taught vocational courses as part of the curriculum. For example you'd go to your academic courses for two periods and go to your vocational courses for two periods. I didn't get much out of my "Business" vocation, which pretty much taught you how to use Microsoft office and some basic accounting and management skills.

    While my peers ended up going to college for the most part, I joined the Army for four years as a paratrooper. I got out of the Army, worked in a prison for a bit, and then got hired as a federal agent. I'm pulling down great money, no college needed.

    Now that I talk to some of the people who graduated from my class, a lot of them are either working retail or hospitality, or they're going back to school to get a second degree. The common theme I keep hearing is that a lot of them had no idea WHY they were going to college, other than it had been expected of them in high school, and so they got a Psychology degree, and now they realise they can't do a damn thing with it. My girlfriend says the years I put in with the military and law enforcement are just as valuable for the life experience as any four year degreee.

    I think a lot of problems would be solved if our current education system wasn't geared to shoving everyone into college, and maybe finding the best fit for all involved. I know when I was in middle school, I was already pretty dead set on joining the Army. I had no interest in being an officer (cause you need college for that!) and got tons of crap for simply wanting to enlist as a rifleman from the guidance counselors at school.

    legionofone on
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Pi-r8 wrote: »
    I don't really think the point of higher education is job training, and I tried to emphasize that in the OP when i said that I still think studying liberal arts is valuable for it's own sake. However, just being realistic, you have to get job training SOMEWHERE. If you didn't get it in highschool or in university, and you can't find a company that's willing to train you, then where are you supposed to get it? Are you supposed to just pick it up on your own, during your free time at university? That seems to be how a lot of people get their first jobs after graduation. I'd just like to see the system become a little more straightforward, so that people will know what they're getting. If nothing else just tell incoming freshman "a liberal arts degree, by itself, will not get you a job, . You need something else on your resume, and you're on your own for that."

    The job situation sucks, both thanks to the shit economy and the age-old "you need experience to get a job, you need a job to get experience" conundrum. But I don't see how it's a university's job to fix that.

    If you're trying to go into a field that traditionally requires a related degree and you have an unrelated degree (e.g. trying for a job in software design with a BA in Art History) then you have made an error and that's your own fault. If you're trying to get a job that simply has no degree-equivalent background (Project Management, Human Resources, any of a hundred other middle-management-type positions) then it's not your alma mater's fault that you don't have experience. What would a human resources degree curriculum even look like? And honestly, who goes from high school into college thinking, "I'm going to get my degree and become a middle manager!"? If you want 4 years of preparation for project management or something, instead of going to school for four years get a normal minimum-wage job and spend four years doing internships and networking your way into an entry-level position.

    All of those job postings that say "4-year degree required" typically include "or equivalent experience". Nobody coming out of college has equivalent experience, but if your goal was a job that no degree translates to your time would be significantly better--and more cheaply--served by spending those years getting that experience.



    On the topic of calculus in high school: People suck at teaching math. People without math degrees suck even more. I wish I'd saved a link to it, but I read an article recently about a movement to get math removed from the lesson plans of elementary schools and left to be introduced until 6th grade. The basis was that elementary school teachers are so bad at math and at teaching the subject that in test districts, students who had no arithmetic lessons at all until 6th grade and an accelerated introductory course their 6th grade year performed as-well-as or better-than students with a traditional program of study up to that point. A survey of elementary school teachers found that most of them didn't know any math beyond what was required for them to teach and only barely understood that. Several were unable to answer "how do you compute the area of a rectangle", their excuse being "that comes later in the program than my grade level."

    I failed Algebra II in high school and had to take it again. Didn't really understand it the second time and only passed geometry because my teacher was too apathetic to bother failing anyone. I then went off to college and discovered that, under competent instruction, I loved math. I think the only math classes I didn't take that my university offered were Wavelets and Real Analysis II, the former because it always conflicted with something and the latter because I didn't like the professor. It may just have been my high school, but you'd think in 4 years of math someone would have been competent enough to show me that the subject was interesting.

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  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I don't think your performance in algebra really has any relevance to how you would do in calculus. I hated math until I got to calculus. Didn't do particularly well in it. Took algebra 1 twice. But calculus makes sense and I found it easy. I really think they should teach it earlier.

    EDIT: and yes, take AP psych. You will likely get a few credits for it and have a bit more freedom in college for taking things you want to take.

    Kistra on
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kistra wrote: »
    I don't think your performance in algebra really has any relevance to how you would do in calculus. I hated math until I got to calculus. Didn't do particularly well in it. Took algebra 1 twice. But calculus makes sense and I found it easy. I really think they should teach it earlier.

    EDIT: and yes, take AP psych. You will likely get a few credits for it and have a bit more freedom in college for taking things you want to take.

    I strongly disagree. Maybe Calc I where you're learning what a derivative is and what an anti-derivative is, how to do them "the long way" and then learning the chain rule, power rule, and what the integral of e^xdx is. But once you have the fundamentals of calculus down, it's all algebra. Most of your non-trivial integrations rely heavily on a solid understanding of algebra and trigonometry to re-work the term under the integrand into a form that matches one of the known rules.

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  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    enc0re wrote: »
    Usually the occupational programs have an option where you get an A.S. instead of just a certificate, in exchange for extra liberal arts coursework. It's a nice combo. After two years, you have a nice skill (plumbing or whatever) and two years towards a B.S.

    This is what I'm doing, and getting an inordinant amount of shit from my family about it. I haven't found the downside yet though.

    Sorry, get used to it. Making responsible choices rarely gets one peer approval.

    enc0re on
  • Space CoyoteSpace Coyote Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    In the UK, universities regularly offer 4-year sandwich courses (as opposed to the standard 3-year degree), which has a year in industry as a component of the course. Students spend a year working on a project for a company and then write it up as a project. Students gain workplace skills and get accustomed to applying their degree in a professional environment, as well as gaining valuable contacts (and getting paid). Companies typically take on the majority of their placement students.

    Are there programmes like this in the US? Are they as widespread as they are in the UK (all universities offer them for a large number of their courses)?

    Space Coyote on
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