Thursday, May 05, 2005

Stepping Stones

"College, at this point, has largely become just a stepping stone to graduate programs because it's almost impossible to find a good job in most fields without it."

This is a major pet peeve of mine towards the educational system in the US. Everyone needs a college degree nowadays because it is perceived that high school is not enough of a general education. But why can't it be?

In other countries, like in Europe and Russia, students are learning calculus and other college level courses by the age high school students are here. Students are fully capable of studying such things. So much time in elementary school is also wasted as most schools only actually learn every other year. Schools in the US are geared towards the lowest common denominator and the quality of education has crumbled as a result.

A college degree was once held in very high regard. Nowadays, since the whole quality of education has sunk from the elementary school level up, a college degree is needed for jobs for which just high school would have been needed 60 years ago. College, in a way, has turned into high school. And since everyone needs a college degree, the schools have again focused on the lowest common denominators to keep with demand. A college degree is hardly worth the paper it's printed on anymore. You get a society filled with people who think they're educated, but really have just wasted four years of their life learning what they should have covered in high school.

So, to replace the prestige of the college degree, every scholar must now get additional graduate schooling. But as places like school-by-mail institutions increase, they are again devaluing the meaning of a graduate degree. When will it end?

The whole situation bothers me. The attitude of college as a stepping stone is prevalent throughout the country, but some institutions openly cater to it. It should be fought, not normalized.


Sarah said...

Its not that I don't understand your point. I would tend to agree - it is frustrating that that's what the educational system has become. My statement was not meant to be in agreement behind the philosophy, but rather an acknowledgement of what is fact. I'm not sure I see the point of being upset for more than a passing moment about something that I have really no control over. The facts of the situation are that in order to support a family, I will have to attend graduate school. Do I like it? No. But I guess there are more important things I'd rather change out in the world than that one.

Also, I would hazard a guess that out of the Northeast and other highly urbanized areas of the US, a college degree is still held in high esteem. You still hear all the Midwest kids who join the army so that they can be first ones in their families to attend university. The phenomenon may not be as widespread as it seems from where we sit.

As for Touro, that's why I tend to stay as far away from Brooklyn as I can now that I'm semi-out. People aren't quite as crazy outside our little world.

bluke said...

Believe it or not I just saw a quote in the NY Times that less then 9% of the US population has more then a bachelor's degree and someone with a bachelor's degree is in the 91st percentile.

Orthoprax said...


I don't know about the New York Times or what you may have read but according to the last US Census in 2000 close to 25% of the population over 25 years of age have a Bachelor's degree or higher.

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