This has been a week for mulling college. First, Alexa Harrington, “Educated Nation” had one of her superb blots on the costs of college. [Link] I am not sure what effect this will have on high shul students or their parents but it definitely put me into an analytical frame. The message seemed to be that if you are one of those students whose parents have “chosen poorly” in how many children to have vis a vis their monetary capacity to educate (?) them, and you don’t have a lock on a full scholarship, then you need to stay away from private colleges. And if you don’t want to be a wage serf for years and extend the period to retirement past your life expectancy, not only don’t think about going out of state to college, but attend a college within commuting range so you can live at home. Or, of course, join the Yankee army and serve for tuition money.
Of course money is just part of the matter. You have to be intelligent enough to have decent grades but not so brainy you have brain problems and can’t get scores on standardized tests, and not so nerdish that you haven’t done meaningless public service things to pad your vita. Although in terms of the latter I have always though bathing felines was an underappreciated activity. But increasingly to get accepted to college you have to not be very distant from the mode.
Which in turn explains the root of the recent furor at the campus of the Boneyard over greased acceptances. This has resulted in a pogrom of the board of governors and the chief executive. Much lamentation of biblical proportions has occurred and all that has been missing from the circus has been any effective effort to blame the whole thing on the previous governor.
This strangeness has somehow crept into being general. Earlier this week I noted that the shul had instituted a minor in “LGBT/Queer Studies”. [Link] Now while this discipline (?) is one that emerged after my residence on campus, and despite the fact that I reside in Nawth Alibam (or Alibam itself) I have some idea of what the discipline is about. My question however, is what does one do with an education in this discipline? Are there positions in large organizations for coordinators/facilitators/counselors? Or is this one of those disciplines that one studies either for personal fulfillment, and then goes off after graduation to work for daddy or become a phone sales person, or to teach that discipline? Closer to home, does the college now also have a department of nerd and/or geek studies?
Even more strange is that the college has started participation in the “Collegiate Readership Program”, [Link] which is a program whereby students are charged a fee to receive access to college selected newspapers. Given the excellence of the student newspaper, one has to question the need? And do the students not get enough unreliable information via television and radio, if not lectures? I know when I was a student there the liberal arts courses promulgated some really unrealistic ideas. Or is this some effort by the college to shore up the failing journalism industry? But it definite;y makes us wonde about the quality of education these days.