Good news: Study confirms that college is pretty much a total waste of time

posted at 9:17 pm on January 19, 2011 by Allahpundit

You don’t even need to read the article; just follow the link and check out the graph in the left-hand sidebar.

What’s tuition up to these days at private universities, parents? About $30-35,000?

Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don’t make academics a priority, a new report shows.

Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students’ critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills.

After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.

Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.

Despite learning a little bit of jack and a whole lot of squat, students in the survey nonetheless managed a 3.2 GPA on average according to the study’s author, which tells you most of what you need to know about grade inflation and the rigors of modern higher learning. Another fun detail from the same study via McClatchy:

Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn’t determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin

The study’s authors also found that large numbers of students didn’t enroll in courses requiring substantial work. In a typical semester, a third of students took no courses with more than 40 pages of reading per week. Half didn’t take a single course in which they wrote more than 20 pages over the semester.

If you think false media narratives are easily absorbed now, wait until the Leaders of Tomorrow graduate and take their place in society. I keep thinking that the combination of a poor economy and ludicrous higher-education costs will solve this problem to some degree by re-normalizing the idea of entering the labor force after high school. If you’re a kid who’s unenthused about incurring a mountain of debt for the privilege of four more years of study with no guarantee of finding a job afterward to fund the repayment, why not pound the pavement for an entry-level/trainee position somewhere instead? The pay will be rotten to start and the lack of a diploma will make some future employers think twice, but in the meantime you’re debt-free and building skills — and if I’m right about re-normalization, the “no diploma” stigma will fade a bit culturally over time. The one flaw in my theory: Er, there are no entry-level jobs out there for kids, are there?

Something to inspire you while you ponder. Mild content warning.


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College men from LSU
Went in dumb, come out dumb too
Hustlin’ around Atlanta in their alligator shoes – R. Newman, Esq.

Knott Buyinit on January 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Actually, in my HS classes, I have noticed that my music students are some of the poorest performers in science.
They have wonderfully creative ideas, but couldn’t critically think their way out of a paper bag.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I guess your ancedotal evidence is valid. I won’t question your observations.

But, in point of fact, it’s not borne out by overall stats.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM

They have wonderfully creative ideas, but couldn’t critically think their way out of a paper bag.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 11:56 AM

There are exceptions, of course.
Some of the most dedicated instrument players I have had are also very intelligent when it comes to math & science.
But theyare not the norm.
I would agree in HS kids should take a broad range of subjects, apart from the basics.
But I encourage kids to go to tech schools & the like bcs they will spend far less time & $$ learning crap & more time learning a skill that can make them $$.
You can ‘discover’ yourself when you get a good job.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM

it’s not borne out by overall stats.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I would like to point otu to you that the ‘science’ of educational statisitcs is woefully inadequate.
It’s like climate science. There are WAY too many variables invovled to be able to make definitive conclusions & predictions about these things.
The ‘science’ you are referring to is badly flawed.
Their methods are too sketchy & iffy.
Check out any ‘educational study’ & pick it apart for scientific method.
Too much chaos.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Music and math are both about abstract relationships.

That is the key to critical thinking skills.

There’s really not much wrong with the studies that show who performs well on math, either. That’s not remotely fuzzy.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Art appreciation and women’s studies may or may not involve critical thinking, but the problem for many with those subjects as a major is finding a job that will pay off the college loan. We don’t want to end up like that woman the NYT profiled, who graduated 100K in debt with a degree in women’s studies and religious studies.
My aged mother said, without a hint of irony, ” Well, she could always become a nun”.

Fortunata on January 20, 2011 at 12:14 PM

As a conservative who went back to school to get an M.A. in History I can attest to the accuracy of this article as it applies to undergrads. Thankfully they are making me work for my degree. I believe history is one of those “liberal arts” degrees that is useful (so long as you are doing actual history and not “gender studies” or some other post-modern crap). You have to look at primary sources and come to conclusions. That is reasoning and is very important.

Problem is that if you are planning to make money, then the degree is not for you. I hope to get a position teaching at a college somewhere in the future (actually teaching, not just using students as props for my research).

Basically grad school here is where learning actually starts.

Pattosensei on January 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

What’s humorous to me? I come from a family where all but one grandparent graduated from college.

And we are definitely a music/science family. One half is medical/science research and the other half is music.

So blow it up your baloney.

And that’s our own family’s term for those who don’t get it.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:27 PM

blink on January 20, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I take it you’re not interested in really reading on the topic.

That’s OK. Blogging is casual. But then, quit asking for links.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:28 PM

…college is pretty much a total waste of time…

But can you jump straight to graduate school, skipping college? Not in my field (R&D).

Sir Napsalot on January 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Come think of it, my boy completed Army BCT before graduating high school and starting college. Stark difference between his attitude and the majority on campus.

bloviator on January 20, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I must disagree with the headline where it says college is a waste of time. I was a professional student for about 11 years. I don’t regret one minute of it. I was in school to learn what I wanted to learn. The degree was secondary. I learned useful things even in classes I didn’t like and had nothing to do with my major. I made friends. I got a respite from the usual rat race. I went back to school at 33 when I got sick of driving a garbage truck. I delivered pizza during that time and one of the best things I learned from it was that there are ways to live that are not the regular 9 to 5.

Even if the major is cake, there are benefits to the overall experience. But being an older student when I was in college it was clear to me that many of the traditional age students are indeed wasting their time in college. I think people should go to college when they’re interested in learning. I think it’s more valuable as a life experience for many people than it is as an educational experience.

deewhybee on January 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Pattosensei on January 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Oh, every assignment and every job assignment taught me skills.

My time working as a secretary strengthened my own ability to organize material. I had to set up a file system. The first one was beautiful, color-coded, and impossible to maintain. I learned.

I personally think working at McDonald’s is excellent. I remember when my son came home from his first few weeks and expressed how hard it was to put together those happy meal boxes fast.

LOL*

He was truly challenged, and just barely the age of consent to work. It was a very good experience.

I think more kids just are so spoiled today that they don’t know how to learn or value it much.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Actually, your repeated reference to these supposed studies is fuzzy.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I was so good in geometry, the teacher used to skip out on Fridays and let me teach the class in highschool.

I sort of “see” it. I can’t explain it, but I just see it.

Logic comes easy to me. I attribute that to my musical studies.

It’s rather intuitive, actually.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Oh, and everyone cheated off of me in Chemistry. I was surprised by that.

But I was a whiz in both Chem and Physics.

Go figure. I have zero interest.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM

My younger sister was not able to complete her studies at a university because of a life threatening health issue, and upon recovering, she never went back to complete her studies.

She got married, had a child, got a starting position as a technician in a cancer laboratory. Because of her analytical skills, attention to detail, and curiosity about medical science, and people skills, she soon was running that lab, eventually managing a quite large staff in another teaching hospital in the Midwest.

In her later years, she shifted, because of her facility at explaining difficult concepts in lay language, to fundraising. These days she is the very successful head fundraiser at a quite famous hospital, teaching her donors who are then eager to contribute to it and its life-saving projects.

She has often expressed to me a mild sadness at never finishing her studies, mostly because of social stigma, but she never lied to any employer about her lack of a degree. In turn, because of her accomplishments, they have never hesitated to employ her and pay her well for her expertise.

She is living (if anecdotal) proof that not everybody needs a diploma to have a happy and useful life and career.

marybel on January 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM

What does your family have to do with it? As I’ve previously stated, smart people are often smart in many areas of aptitude. There are dozens of such correlation studies that show this.

However, I’m challenging you to show me a study with valid design and data which suggests that exposure to music helps develop someone’s math skills better than, you know, actually teaching them math.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I’m seriously not responsible for your unwillingness to explore the bibliography offered.

That one is on you, bud.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Speaking for my experience as an engineering undergrad, if you don’t know something new of value after two years, you haven’t been going to class.

J_Crater on January 20, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I still enjoy reading about science and math, although most of the recent real studies lose me. You can’t really keep up with a field from a general standpoint, I’ve found.

We all are rather stuck in that regard. We have to trust.

And those fields are just as bogged down with politics as any other.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

So your high school geometry teacher allowed YOU to teach the class even though you admit that you can’t explain it.

Great.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

He was pretty careless, no doubt. But, I saw geometry. I never had to memorize the theomes.

I just saw them. Intuition is impossible to explain.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

There’s no better training for math than piano lessons, btw.

That’s the basic.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I’ve got 5 guys around me that have 4 year degrees. They’re making the same as I am, and I don’t have a 4 yr degree.

This is telecom though. Its AFU right now, so it could get better. Or worse.

44Magnum on January 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I’ve got 5 guys around me that have 4 year degrees. They’re making the same as I am, and I don’t have a 4 yr degree.

This is telecom though. Its AFU right now, so it could get better. Or worse.

44Magnum on January 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Good to hear. I think the worst aspect of what’s been happening is the idea that a credential is the key.

That has opened the doors to numerous degrees, which are really nothing more than tuition grabbing.

It’s rididulous. It’s downgraded the entire idea of higher education.

And it’s mostly another way to soak the middle-class.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM

deewhybee on January 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I guess this is an anecdotal example of how you too can earn while you learn, stay in school for eleven years, and grow up to deliver pizza and pick up garbage.

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM

I was so good in geometry, the teacher used to skip out on Fridays and let me teach the class in highschool.

I sort of “see” it. I can’t explain it, but I just see it.

Logic comes easy to me. I attribute that to my musical studies.

It’s rather intuitive, actually.

AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Now that’s scary and crazy at the same time. You can’t logically explain “it”? I thought Geometry was all about logical proofs… hmmmmmm

MeatHeadinCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Now that’s scary and crazy at the same time. You can’t logically explain “it”? I thought Geometry was all about logical proofs… hmmmmmm

MeatHeadinCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

You are staring into the Event Horizon. It may be too late for you. Sorry!

Inanemergencydial on January 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Reading about math?

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

From zero to infinity … and beyond! ;)

Hey, there are a lot of people that like reading about the “pop-culturification” of math and science…

MeatHeadinCA on January 20, 2011 at 1:02 PM

You are staring into the Event Horizon. It may be too late for you. Sorry!

Inanemergencydial on January 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM

:D

MeatHeadinCA on January 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Engineers don’t get no respect. Attending my son’s PE soiree, the speaker answered why we certify and license engineers. We praise hollywood types and rock stars. We laud the policemen, firemem, and military for being there and doing their jog. No one hugs the engineer. You drive down the highway, secure in your knowledge that the road is not going to disappear into the next culvert because some engineer did his job. You believe the engineering on the aircraft is more than enough to get you to your destination. You aren’t worried about the elevator falling anymore. You operate your ipod without knowing the surface metallurgy that went into its construction. You never hug the engineer. Your lives are saved a hundred times over more by the good engineer doing his job than by the other public heros that you adore. That is, an engineer has a BS, MS, or PhD.

Please Google “Sons of Martha” by Rudyard kipling. Right after that, try “Gods of the Copybook Headings”.

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

I totally agree. Hats off to you and your colleagues around the world, and throughout history.

Missy on January 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Then I quickly realized that they didn’t know any better. Many people think that they can master a math and/or science subject (quantum physics is both) simply by reading a book about it.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

You pretty much nailed it. I know this sounds horrible, but I’d prefer people remain ignorant about certain things instead of pretending that because they watch the Daily Show and PBS, they are just a step below Einstein. Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t want people to be intelligent … I just wish they’d spend their time perhaps balancing their check book or teaching their kids some arithmetic (if they can).

MeatHeadinCA on January 20, 2011 at 1:19 PM

“Idiocracy”

It’s a documentary!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

hadsil on January 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

If you go to Podunk U then yeah you’re probably wasting your money. If you go to Harvard you’ll make 10X return on your investment.

Same goes with law and business school.

angryed on January 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Or ENGINEERING or COMPUTER SCIENCE school. Most new graduates make $60K or better, and can help Mom and Dad pay off the loans.

But that requires studying math and science in high school, and why be a nerd when you can be a jock or a cheerleader?
Besides, teaching math and science is HARD–why bother explaining all those nitpicky analytical details when you can get a fat pension as a tenured self-esteem teacher?

Which is why most of our engineering students come from China and India, where education is a virtue. Come to America, all you smart Indian nerds, maybe your son or daughter will be a Republican Governor!

Wake up, America–your kids need to study math and science!

–The Word of Nerd

Steve Z on January 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Logic comes easy to me.
AnninCA on January 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Thank you so much for the chuckles on an otherwise dreary day.

LegendHasIt on January 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I don’t doubt this, but you’re incorrect.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Very persuasive.

I love saying, “No, you’re not technically savvy. You’re just a competent operator. The engineers that designed the device for you is technically savvy.”

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

I’d imagine that they often respond, “well at least I understand subject/verb agreement.”

crr6 on January 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Some people make a hash of their educational opportunities? Beer retards educational progress? Is that the thesis?

Stop the presses!!!

Akzed on January 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

crr6 on January 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM

“… if a work of science contains true and important propositions, its value as a work of science will hardly be diminished by the fact that they are inelegantly expressed”. Alfred Jules Ayer, Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College, London.

I see crr6 falls back on the liberal troll’s tactic to attact the editing, not the fact or argument. Crr6 – you might introduce yourself to an engineer sometime. It will probably be a unique experience for you to learn things from a competant person instead of your radiclib talking point memos.

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Actually, I’m quite sure I understand subject/verb agreement better than they do. I noticed the singular verb usage immediately after I hit submit. Haven’t we all been fooled by singular objects of prepositions when typing/editing quickly?

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Relax, blink. It’s not that big a deal. Your intelligence is apparent. You are completely in control. No one is laughing at you.

crr6 on January 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Yes Dr. Ayer also had a number disagreement in his writing, and this old engineer hit the “t” instead of the “k” in attack. It must be because I don’t work for the New York Times.

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Total waste of time? Not if you’re an Alpha..

Dork B. on January 20, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Logic and modesty are both indignant.

Schadenfreude on January 20, 2011 at 1:55 PM

I can only speak from experience about the math and the music subject. Math is a language and it is the same all over the world. You may not speak a language but when you put the math problem up on the board anyone with the math skills can come up with the proper answer. The same with music because it too is a language understood by musicians all over the world. What makes these two subjects compatible is the purity encased in each subject. Let me explain it this way. A person learns to play a piano, sounds good, limited to the music playable and considered so, so. You take math through high school and you are a “C” student or, so, so. Now we take the two examples and instill in them the love of the subject and the results when the answers are perfect. Math needs to be perfect as possible and depending on the decimal points as the music needs to be as perfect as possible with endless practice. With this mind set math students are generally good musicians and visa versa.

mixplix on January 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

A few years ago, I remember people starting to tell me that they had suddenly taken an interest in and/or learned quantum physics. Some of these people had no math or science background so I began to dig into the claim. I asked one woman if she knew how to use the Schrödinger equation. She looked at me like I had four heads.

It turns out that some guy had written a book about sub-atomic particles making us who we are and affecting interpersonal relationships or something. What amazed me is that some people would shamelessly claim that they understood quantum physics after reading a book which contained no math.

Then I quickly realized that they didn’t know any better. Many people think that they can master a math and/or science subject (quantum physics is both) simply by reading a book about it.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Another one of my pet peeves, but modern “quantum physics” and “string theory” has become extremely speculative, divorced from experimentation, with no way to prove or disprove a theory.

How can anyone believe wild theories about charmed and strange quarks when no one can build a detector to distinguish the two, if they exist?

Or string theory, which claims that a particle and its anti-particle remain “married” forever, and forces experienced by one have opposite effects on the other, even if they’re light-years apart? So they use extremely complicated math in 11 dimensions to theoretically derive these conclusions, but since we can only measure in 4 dimensions (including time), there’s no way of testing whether the theoretical equations hold in the other 7 (imaginary?) dimensions!

Albert Einstein was an exceptional genius, able to develop his theories of relativity by thought alone, and was proven correct experimentally decades later.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that the position and momentum of a particle can only be known to within a certain minimum error, and for subatomic particles, the act of measurement (usually with an electric field) CHANGES the position and momentum of the particle.

So, on the subatomic level, eggheads less intelligent than Einstein can invent the most imaginative fairy tales about charming quarks and married particles in 11 dimensions, which “charm” non-scientific readers of pseudo-science magazines, while the writers hide behind the Uncertainty Principle to explain the lack of experimental proof.

But if a beautifully elegant theory can’t demonstrate any measurable results in the real world, what good is it? Selling magazines full of fanciful stories? It might be fun, but it’s no more scientific than “The Lord of the Rings”.

Science is really about trying to explain nature as it is, in order to derive something useful, not wishful thinking set to equations. Some “expert scientists” have lost track of the connection of science to experiment, because wishful thinking and writing is cheaper and easier than long hours in the lab, and have deceived millions into believing fascinating yet unproven speculation.

Real science is about trial and error. Show us a trial, otherwise you may be in error.

Steve Z on January 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

But many might be laughing at you for not knowing the difference between a mistake and a lack of understanding.

I might make a mistake making a quantum mechanics calculation. That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the topic.

You seem to lack critical thinking skills. Maybe you didn’t learn enough music.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

You need to relax about mistakes, blink.
Your acute attention to details is fine & dandy, but you don’t always have to have it all perfect.
You did a bang up job exposing Anninca’s ridiculous statements.
Sorry Annica-but you are completely clueless.
One thing I have learned as a teacher: if you don’t know it, you can’t explain it.
Knowing something inside & out means that you can explain it to someone & they GET IT.
So your admission of how you just ‘get it’, but can’t explain why, is admitting you don’t know JACK about this stuff.
I have to teach ALL the science in HS.
ALL of it.
I am a geologist with a HS composite science degree, meaning I had to take another year of courses to round out my science education in the areas that my geology studies didn’t take me. That year did not include the additional years of education classes I had to take to become a certified teacher.
I am the 1st to admit my gaps in knowledge about some things I teach, like Anatomy/Physiology, some physics concepts, some chemistry concepts etc. Bcs that was not my major.
However, my major does involve parts of most of those things.
So I teach from what I know & try & learn about things I do not know.
One thing is certain is that you lack the ability to discern true scientific conclusions based upon sound experimentation that resulted in good data from ‘junk’ science.
This is the battle I wage in my classroom from the time I get these kids as freshmen, to their end as Srs.
Just bcs someone ‘says’ they’ve done ‘studies’ without posting HOW they did the studies & all of the dirty details about the methods does not mean that their conclusions are viable.
In fact, it often means they are not.
There is way too much of this crap where people just ‘trust’ what these other ‘scientists’ are saying.
Not enough people are digging into the dirty details of the claims that are being made.
Blink, I commend you on the exposing of this ignorance.
BRAVO!

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Steve Z on January 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

This is what happened to the AGW crowd.
They were hailed as heroes for their climate predictions about the dire consequences human activities were having upon Mother Gaia (a FALSE ‘hypothesis’) until other scientists started picking their BS apart & exposing their house of cards.
These guys had been publishing papers, run through the rigged ‘peer’ review process without having to make any damned sense whatsoever.
They coul.d throw a graph up there, not provide the data, make a bunch of crazy wild consluions & predictions, & bcs there was no way to do any experimentation to prove their claims, they turned it into a propaganda war.
The anthroplogy community has this problem.
So do linguists.
These people have these wild ideas which may, or may not be true, claim them as SCIENCE, when indeed, it is NOT, & the public is FOOLED.
All the while, the other scientists who are hollering: HEY! You are full of CRAP!
Those guys instead of being listenend to as the voice of reason, are put on public trial & smeared in the media.
The politicians’ ears are only listening to the hacks.
I believe the same thing pretty much happened in the area of nutrition.
And the Internet, while being a great communication tool amongst scientists all over the world, is also science’s worst enemy.
Bcs the rumor mill runs 24/7.
All you gotta do is cut & paste the lies over & over again & people are believing them bcs they encouter those lies more frequently.
It’s NUTS.
(PS-I’m not spell checking this-just deal with it perfectionists!)

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Problem is that if you are planning to make money, then the degree is not for you. I hope to get a position teaching at a college somewhere in the future (actually teaching, not just using students as props for my research).

Basically grad school here is where learning actually starts.

Pattosensei on January 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Good luck! Hope you can find a college who will let you put students first. Most academia is dog-eat-dog competition for research grants, & publish or perish is the order of the day.

winfield on January 20, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Because of this, everyone that cares about their credibility should take measures to avoid mistakes that demonstrate a systemic ignorance of grammar.
blink on January 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I have to disagree with you on that one, blink.
I work with a lot of people in our ‘ranching’ circle who are not long on grammar & ‘properness’ of any kind.
My husband is one of those people who has wanting spelling & grammar skills, & yet, is very intelligent.
People like this are often given the short stick on things bcs they don’t know how to communicate what they know in fancy words. They use plain speech.
There are some of these people who are intimidated by people with perfect lingual skills.
Consider the many charlatans & snake oil salesmen who ‘wow’ the masses with their ridiculous mental gymnastics.
Those in the know can spot a fake a mile away, no matter how fancy & smart they sound.
The rest of the ignorant populace are dazzled by their pretty words.
The wise & knowing can spot the real deal.
I compare this to, for instance, DUDES.
We come up against dudes on occasion.
Someone we know brings a dude to the branding & we all get quite a kick out them as they make a fool out of themselves.
These people got their knowledge of a cow or horse from books & the Interent. These are the people who often go out for the lone occasion & buy a hat, boots, jeans, maybe even spurs & some chinks or chaps.
Anninca is a dude. And so are the others like her who say, I just ‘know’, but I can’t tell you how or why that is supposed to be that way.
And a lot of times they feel they just know this stuff bcs they took like one class in astronomy or chemistry or physics or calculus or geology etc.
My limited knowledge of anatomy/physiology does not make me a Dr, even though I teach the subject in HS.
All those trained, however, in the disciplines of science math CAN spot a faker, regardless of whether they’re an expert in that discipline or not bcs the scientific method is identical in ALL disciplines.
You are correct blink,in that the scientific community has been silent for way too long by letting these jackwagons hijack their credibility by making a total mockery of science in general.
The scientific community has a long row to hoe to gain back any trust from the general public on this one.
They need to PURGE these posers.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Relax, blink….Your intelligence is apparent.

crr6 on January 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

I’m sure it is.

blink on January 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Of course it is. You have a high-level understanding of subject/verb agreement, and you are excellent at correctly citing Supreme Court justices. You never make a fool of yourself. You are widely respected and admired. Again, no one is laughing at you, and you are completely in control of the situation.

crr6 on January 20, 2011 at 4:02 PM

I possess a Ph.D. in Chemistry and teach at the undergraduate level.

When I was in school there was the party crowd; serious students were not part of that group. We studied. Having taught at large public institutions and small private universities I can tell you that the party crowd still exists, and in private institutions the percentage of students who “roll with that group” is quite small relative to the larger state schools.

I teach my assigned courses and those that apply themselves earn their good grades; those that do not earn their failing grade. I also have my research projects and my students who conduct the work are good students with a deep desire to learn and gain valuable experience at the bench that will be applied later in life regardless of profession.

As I tell my students, I am here to help you learn but the learning is up to you; either way I still get paid.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

You disagree with what?
blink on January 20, 2011 at 4:07 PM

This:

Because of this, everyone that cares about their credibility should take measures to avoid mistakes that demonstrate a systemic ignorance of grammar.
blink on January 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Good spelling & grammar is not the sole value of someone’s credibility on a subject.
In fact, some of the most eloquent speakers & writers I have known in fact, don’t know a damned thing about anything.
Excepts words.
Which can be powerful, I agree.
But not always valuable & useful.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:24 PM

As I tell my students, I am here to help you learn but the learning is up to you; either way I still get paid.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Well in public education they want to link teacher salary with student performance.
Oh this sounds great until you realize exactly what you just said.
I cannot make anyone learn.
I can only provide them the opportunity to do so.
The rest of that is up to them.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Our local little Dickinson State University has been known to pressure some of the science professors into making some of the 101 courses ‘easy’ on students.
I think this is so wrong on every level.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Therefore, it’s in the best interest of the smart people to avoid mistakes.
blink on January 20, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I could counter that people who are really smart, got that way in the first place by making a lot of mistakes.
I have no problem with people making mistakes.
The problem is in not admitting to them, glossing over them, & outright acting like a smarty when you are not.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM

And one last thing I would like to add.
The notion of having to be perfect in all of your grammar & spelling so as to make sure the ‘unsmart’ people can’t call you dumb is sorta of an elitist attitude.
I encounter this with so many people who are highly ‘educated’ & from those who perceive themselves as ‘intelligent’.
It’s pretty pathetic, IMHO, that just bcs of spelling & grammar errors people will consider others stupid or uneducated.
That is a pretty $hitty way of assessing people if that is the only reason you are going to count or discount the opinion of someone.
If a troll like crrap6 discounts something that I say bcs of spelling errors, then they deserve to spend their lives in their trough of self-induced stupidity.
There are a lot of people in this world who don’t judge a book by its cover.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Two year trade school in 78-80 was all I needed.
I didn’t need a bunch of liberal garbage. I knew what I wanted and how to get it and have been successful ever since.
Not once in 30 years have I been unemployed.
Some of these kids go to 4 year schools just to party, then want a 60K or more a year job when they get out, full package without having to PROVE themselves in the real world.

p51d007 on January 20, 2011 at 5:46 PM

I’d feel betrayed if I didn’t recognize in retrospect how stupid it was of me to think a political science degree would get me a job in the first place!
College isn’t worthless, but it offers an absurd amount of worthless degrees that appeal to slacker rich kids. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I studied engineering. Or went to technical school. Anywhere where I would’ve learned to, um, do something.

galenrox on January 20, 2011 at 7:17 PM

As I tell my students, I am here to help you learn but the learning is up to you; either way I still get paid.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Well in public education they want to link teacher salary with student performance.
Oh this sounds great until you realize exactly what you just said.
I cannot make anyone learn.
I can only provide them the opportunity to do so.
The rest of that is up to them.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I agree with that linking and I support testing to make sure kids have basic skills coming out of high school as I have found many of my students come lacking certain basic english, math and science skills. If you are encouraging and pushing college, which is NOT for everybody, then you owe it to them to give them the proper training before they enter college.

College really is not for everyone and most in college really should not be.
If you lack the discipline to study regularly and the desire to learn “why”, college is not for you.
If you do not know that you lack the above qualities coming out of high school then college really is not for you. What is for you is learning how to use an “idiot stick” (a shovel).

I cannot make anyone learn.
I can make the material exciting and relevant and explain to them the “why things react as they do” and do it in proper American english while telling them the best way to learn science is to do problems and problems and more problems and give them said problems as well as my time when they need help. This I can and do provide. The grunt work of learning is up to them. Granted not all subjects are understandable by all people but you should have an idea of what areas you are good at and wish to pursue before entering university; it will save you much money and time.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Our local little Dickinson State University has been known to pressure some of the science professors into making some of the 101 courses ‘easy’ on students.
I think this is so wrong on every level.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM

I ran into the same thing at a large public institution I was at as well. I was “strongly encouraged” to pass as many students out of nursing chemistry as the nursing school would not accept students with less than a C in nursing chemistry. I always had a large number of older ladies in the course who, now that their family had grown and gone off, returned back to school to become the nurse of their dreams. To a women they had massive trouble with basic algebra, as did most of the incoming freshmen. My failure rate (D or less) was very high – 60%+. This created much concern to the higher ups and lead to the denial of tenure for a colleague in the same boat but different department and my move to a different institution after that.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 7:38 PM

blink on January 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I like you blink.
Sometimes you really think too much.
But I do love the way you kicked Annica’s virtual a$$ today.

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 7:38 PM

I have been pressured to pass kids, too, bcs of SPORTS as well as whining parents who thought their precious wasa smart, when they clearly were not.

Badger40 on January 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

In the end, it’s the employers that will make the difference, if they announce that they’re no longer hiring graduates just because they have a B.A. It’s already happening in Britain.

Fortunata on January 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

It’s happening in rural America too. They can’t even find low end jobs. I work with a Master’s degree that can’t find anything in her field. She is working as a receptionist. Very sad.

wi farmgirl on January 20, 2011 at 8:37 PM

I graduated from college and got my BA back in 1971. It was a waste of time back then, too.

bugsy on January 20, 2011 at 8:43 PM

I think it’s funny. Colleges seem to have buckled to the pressure to get more students and increase enrollment, especially among ‘dis-advantaged’ groups, to increase budgets and justify some large salaries. To get them in, they’ve weakened the admittance requirements. To keep them, they’ve dumbed-down classes to the point where they can retain these students for at least two years. But, to try and keep their reputations, the classes get serious for Juniors and Seniors. However, at that point, you can only kick a certain number, and none of the ‘student athlete’ football players, so ‘Underwater Basket Weaving’ and ‘Municipal Engineering (playground maintenance)’ classes abound.

Phil-351 on January 20, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Good news: Study confirms that college is pretty much a total waste of time.

Study reveals some pay money to excel at wasting time.

rukiddingme on January 20, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Old Country Boy on January 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Yep. My experience, too. PE ME And country, too.

Caststeel on January 20, 2011 at 10:01 PM

College can be a waste- except in employment and income over your lifetime.

First- you have to deal with the fact the companies hiring you are looking for that sheet of paper, because they are run by people who have that sheet of paper.

Second- outside self-employed success stories and Rush Limbaugh, the hard fact is that sheet of paper means almost a million dollars more over a lifetime of work. And until that changes, well- sharpen your pencils and have your parents write the tuition checks.

archer52 on January 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

archer52 on January 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

There are still lots of careers that require no formal education.
I encourage my students in HS to look at the amount of $$ & time invested in college vs a career gotten through working from the ground up or a tech school.
The advantages of the tech schools especially are much higher IMHO than formal degrees.
As an educator, I could very easily get my Masters mostly online in education or administration etc.
And all it is is a bunch of busbody classes that teach you worthless & meaningless information that would allow you to make not a whole heck of a lot more $$ vs the cost of it for very little effort, other than the irritation & time factors.
If I am going to get my Master’s I would like to get it in a hard science, not education.
Education classes are by far the most worthless classes I have ever taken in my life.
I will say a couple of them were useful, but not many.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM

I’d like to know which Universities only cost 30k. We have 1 freshman away now at a private University, and a senior in high school who has applied to 5 private schools (and 1 public). I think all of the private schools we’ve looked at are more than 50k per year all in (including room & board, meals etc).

shanimal on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

40 pages-a-week??!! Not to sound too Yorkshire, but I would have gladly settled for 40 pages a week when I was reading 700 pages for each session of a twice-a-week class!! –Not to mention living in a street!

Axeman on January 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM

shanimal on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

I went to a community college 1st, then a state university in a sparsely populated state, & then a 4 yrs college in W. ND.
The most expensive tuition I have was at UWOY as a non-resident for the 1st year at $7,500/yr.
I got an excellent education in geology there, by professors who were very active researchers & published often.
For instance, Arthur Snoke was one of my professors, a well known structural geologist.
I encourage students to shop around.
Black Hills State in Spearfish SD, a 4 yr college, has a very good science program with many opportunities for undergrad study & research.
And it isn’t that expensive.
I think there are bargains out there.
Yale & Princeton etc are overrated sometimes.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 2:37 PM

40 pages-a-week??!!
Axeman on January 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM

LOL!
I thought that was pretty pathetic, too.
Most college level readers can read a book a day.
40 pages a night maybe sounds more reasonable.
But a week?
That is hardly worth an instructor’s time.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I meant UWYO.
Yikes.
My keyboard is kinda sticky.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM

LOL!
I thought that was pretty pathetic, too.
Most college level readers can read a book a day.
40 pages a night maybe sounds more reasonable.
But a week?

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Well TBF that’s 40 pages per week for each class. So if you’re taking 5 classes, that’s 40 pgs per weeknight.

crr6 on January 21, 2011 at 5:10 PM

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