Democracy, Leadership, and the Role of Liberal Education

dublinbay z6 (KS)

The topic of a liberal education comes up periodically here on HT. It is usually conservatives/Trumplicans that bring it up in order to disparage it. For instance, they complain that a liberal education doesn't adequately train students for specific jobs and therefore it is somewhat irrelevant to our modern world. And that is sometimes cited as a major reason why the free college/university idea offered by several recent campaigners is a waste of time and of the taxpayers' monies.

Fortunately, not every poster agrees. Included below is an excerpt from the AACU (Association of American Colleges and Universities) which argues that the maintenance of democracy depends on an educated citizenship (paraphrase of a Jeffersonian idea).

Please note that in this article, the role of education in a democracy has nothing to do with training students for specific jobs.

----------------------------------------------

". . . [I]f such decisions as affairs of state are to be left directly to citizens or their elected representatives, the need for citizens to be educated assumes profound importance. Education in this vision of democracy calls on the classical notion of an informed citizenry--individuals who are able to think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care.

[. . .]


The tenets of liberal education are the basis for an educated citizenry--in this or any other climate. This is true not because through liberal education we offer answers, but because we are so good at asking questions, at holding competing ideas, and wrestling with complex conditions like the situation in which we presently find our country. On the one hand, we value civil liberties; on the other hand, we recognize the need for heightened national security. On the one hand, we understand the moral and practical uncertainty of engaging in war against an idea that has neither a constant face nor is limited to a single country; on the other hand, we see the need to subdue those who have already attacked us. . . . On the one hand, we admit that we have too often exported capitalism instead of democracy; on the other hand, we realize that those proclaiming a jihad are not interested in democratic human rights. And, on the one hand, we seek to understand the motives of those who would attack us; on the other hand, we remember from 1939 the lessons of appeasement to those bent on genocide.

Questioning, exploring, stating the unpopular, challenging poorly reasoned theories, wrestling with convoluted and contradictory positions--this is what liberal education asks us to do. And it is exactly what is needed in the present environment, as we struggle with competing and complex ideas. . . .


Another important role for our colleges and universities is to embrace the notion of educating the whole student. This is not a new idea, but it has rarely been so obvious that support and education for the whole student are needed. Our traditional-age students, after all, are the ones that have been insulated from American wars, the ones who are at conventional draft age, the ones who have been accused of focusing on consumption rather than service. . . . We need to provide our students with the personal and intellectual support to become engaged citizens in this democracy.

Finally, our colleges and universities can provide the outreach, research, and intellectual capital necessary to inform our national policy making. . . . In the present environment, there is a clear need for thoughtful, well-researched, seriously debated policy and scientific consideration. What are the lessons of our Middle East policy to date? What are the consequences of creating military coalitions with repressive states? How do we conduct a war against a movement rather than a country? How do we create meaningful civil defense? What would a modern day Marshall Plan look like, and could it possibly work? What methods do we have to combat bioterrorism? . . .


In addition to providing intellectual expertise on these questions, higher education has a strong tradition of outreach and exchange that can aid in furthering international understanding. From the Fulbright scholars program to junior year abroad schemes to foreign exchange programs, we invite students and faculty alike to engage on a personal level with the culture and academic world of other nations. These programs need to be supported and expanded; we should not succumb to a natural inclination toward isolation that the current climate could breed.


[. . .]

. . . David Held argues that "democracy is a remarkably difficult form of government to create and sustain." Liberal education has played and will continue to play an important role in sustaining our democratic form of government."


https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/democracy-leadership-and-role-liberal-education

------------------------

I could have posted this at the tale-end of one of these current debates, but I feared too many posters might miss it, so I'm putting it here for easy access.

Go to it--and ponder. : )

Kate


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adoptedbyhounds

Questioning, exploring, stating the unpopular, challenging poorly reasoned theories, wrestling with convoluted and contradictory positions--this is what liberal education asks us to do. And it is exactly what is needed in the present environment, as we struggle with competing and complex ideas. . . .

Kate, I support exploring ideas, stating the unpopular, and challenging what we believe to be poorly reasoned theories. I would like to see more of that here.

I think our discussions here would benefit from focusing on ideas and arguments, rather than on the people making them.


When I see the left pushing to create lists identifying supporters, donors, employers, employees and others who disagree with left wing ideas, I wonder how much exposure they've had to the kind of mindfulness you're calling for.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm glad to see we agree on the general premise, but I'm not sure what you are referring to in your last paragraph, adopt. What kinds of lists and under what circumstances? Who is calling for such lists?

Teaching students to read and write is much easier than inculcating "mindfulness" (great word!) in them. Where lacking, obviously more education is needed.

Kate

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whynottryit

I'm all for a liberal education. But it's a bit hard to achieve when back to school can mean this:

https://mobile.twitter.com/tweetmommybop/status/1174321456102236160

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Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse(5)

@whynottryit

Don't worry, I'm sure that the 'good guys with guns' will be there to save students from the bad guys with guns. Just not at every school. And the 'good guys with guns' are totally a practical idea.

/s

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adoptedbyhounds

Kate,

I'm thinking about fairly recent events. Debra Messing calling for a list of attendees at a Hollywood fundraising event for Donald Trump, and the Castro brothers putting out a list of names of San Antonio donors and their employers.

Both of those calls for public outing received public backlash. Nobody wants politically motivated mobs forming at their front door, as happened to Tucker Carlson's family while he was away.

That is why I said When I see the left pushing to create lists identifying supporters, donors, employers, employees and others who disagree with left wing ideas, I wonder how much exposure they've had to the kind of mindfulness you're calling for.


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Adopt, I don't think that is a commonplace attitude or activity of just those on the left. I certainly have never heard any Democrats "pushing to create lists identifying supporters . . .and others who disagree with left wing ideas."

Without knowing more details about who else is "pushing to create lists [of those] who disagree with left wing ideas" or why they do it, I can't say much more about the topic. But I do believe it is commonplace in campaigns for the candidates from BOTH Parties to identify who is receiving donations from the Koch brothers, for instance, (I suppose you might add from George Soros) or which famous person or company is endorsing which candidate. Is that what you have in mind? If so, I think both parties have lots of "guilty" members.

Kate

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cait1

Really?

through liberal education we offer answers

No, liberal education offers indoctrination. Disagree with your 'liberal' teacher and you'll be assured of a failing grade.

holding competing ideas

Left, more left and extreme left.

wrestling with complex conditions

Which box do we place the transgendered gay white male?

we value civil liberties

And will never mention natural rights because those you are born with and cannot be robbed of whereas civil rights we can pick and choose what you can/can't do then add/remove them at our will.

embrace the notion of educating the whole student

Again, not educate but indoctrinate. Why college grads these days are mostly composed of whiny SJWs.

"democracy is a remarkably difficult form of government to create and sustain." That's why our founders created a REPUBLIC! Unfortunately, the dolt who wrote that article doesn't even know the united States of America's form of government. And he wants liberals to educate our children?

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cait1

maintenance of democracy depends on an educated citizenship (paraphrase of a Jeffersonian idea)Paraphrase indeed. I highly doubt Jefferson used the word 'democracy'.

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell
– safe govt

2 Feb. 1816 Writings 14:421--23
No, my friend, the way to have good and safe
government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many,
distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the
national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its
foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights,
laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the
counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the
interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from
the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in
the administration of every man's farm by himself; by placing under every one
what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has
destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever
existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power
into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of
the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.

cont


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cait1

cont

And I do believe that if the Almighty has
not decreed that man shall never be free, (and it is a blasphemy to believe
it,) that the secret will be found to be in the making himself the depository
of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and
delegating only what is beyond his competence by a synthetical process, to higher
and higher orders of functionaries, so as to trust fewer and fewer powers in
proportion as the trustees become more and more oligarchical. The elementary
republics of the wards, the county republics, the State republics, and the
republic of the Union, would form a gradation of authorities, standing each on
the basis of law, holding every one its delegated share of powers, and
constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the
government. Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic,
or of some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the
government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every
day; when there shall not be a man in the State who will not be a member of
some one of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be torn out of
his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.

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Ziemia(6a)

Donors

https://www.opensecrets.org/2020-presidential-race

Follow the link - click on any name - you get the specifics.

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Ziemia(6a)

Though you do have to drill down further to get to all the names.

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Ziemia(6a)

Identifying donors is not doxxing.

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Ziemia(6a)

Was gonna delete my comments about donors as it's off topic - but I see other new comments are deflecting it also - albeit in a different direction.

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ohiomom

I think our discussions here would benefit from focusing on ideas and arguments, rather than on the people making them.


Amen sister, Amen


Could have used the above line earlier (^_^) but I so totally agree with you.



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catspat(aka)

Cait: definition of "liberal" with reference to education: "(of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person's general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training." It's not a political term in the context of this thread.


Some people do say "democracy" when what they are referring to is a democratic republic. Again, it's not a political statement, to be taken literally, just shorthand. Jefferson's idea that tyranny is best resisted by everyone having a role, at some level, in governance does rest best on there being an educated citizenry with the competence to weigh in wisely on matters large and small.

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whynottryit

liberal arts

[ˈlib(ə)rəl ärts]

NOUN

liberal art (noun)

  1. NORTH AMERICAN

    academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences as distinct from professional and technical subjects.

    synonyms:

    written works · writings · (creative) writing · literary texts · compositions · letters · belles-lettres · printed works · published works · humanities · arts

  • historical

    the medieval trivium and quadrivium.

ORIGIN

liberal, as distinct from servile or mechanical (i.e. involving manual labor) and originally referring to arts and sciences considered ‘worthy of a free man’; later the word related to general intellectual development rather than vocational training

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Delilah66

The question of states’ right will never be answered to the satisfaction of either party. It’s a bit like “but Obama...and Clinton.”

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whynottryit

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, we had college bound classes and vocational classes. With electives, some of those classes could overlap. The students in the vocational classes could choose from car mechanics, woodworking, business administration, accounting, secretarial skills, etc. The college bound students focused on a broad range of science, math, language, and social studies.

Regardless of which path one takes, however, logic and critical thinking is not only important but vital. Every decision we make requires us to look ahead to the possible outcomes and make the necessary cost/benefit analysis. If we do not provide this same advantage to the children of today, they face a dismally bleak future.

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catkinZ8a

Any links to the AACU official's and their administration's salaries?


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Ann

Kate, regarding your OP, I think it would be fairly straightforward to find studies indicating the career and salary path of recently graduated students from, for example, one big university offering a great variety of degrees. I bet they track that information as a tool in helping to counsel any students seeking that type of info as well as for their own internal information. I'm happy to be proven wrong about degrees like Women's Studies, Psychology or Art History. I think they are fine choices for those who clearly understand the potential employment limitations they might experience - as long as taxpayers aren't funding the cost - it's a fine choice. I don't want to take the time to locate a single university's statistics on their various degrees vs career and salary outcome, but I think it could certainly be telling.

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roxanna7

Adoptedbyhounds, I agree with what you said above -- until the final paragraph. In my advancing age now, I have become left-leaning to a degree, mainly because I am disturbed by the direction of our present government. Especially by the determination, clearly stated, of Mitch McConnell to refuse to allow any progress in the Senate to effect proper governing by that body. His position of only doing the People's business (as brought by the House and sitting on his desk for far too long) IF the present POTUS lets him know that the president approves and would sign legislation. That is not doing the job. The Congress is an equal branch of the government, and does not need the president's permission to act. The present president seems to think his position is greater in power than the other two branches and would/could/ should override them. Nonsense, and it is past time for the Senate to return to its proper direction.

Now, moving away from the political aspect and returning to the OP, I graduated from a small 4-year women's college in 1968, where the emphasis was on a liberal education as meant by the article. We had a very eclectic student body, with an emphasis on international students, from Europe and the Middle East and Africa, as well as a large cross-section of those from the States. This certainly led to a wider understanding of the world at large, both contemporary and past. Needed now more than ever, IMO.

To me, higher education is to be definitely pursued, encouraged and desired. If financial situations are not conducive, then self-education is certainly possible, which many people in the past made possible for themselves, through reading, etc. The point? Higher education in and of itself benefits all societies, personal, local and global -- the purpose of it is not to simply find a job. Understanding others will make better world citizens, especially in the more open globe we inhabit today. Whether learning about religion, politics, history, arts, or communication skills, education creates pathways to understanding our fellow travelers in this life.


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blfenton

Not everyone is geared to or wants to major in math or science or engineering. What a damn boring world it would be if those were our only choices. We need the sociologists and psychologists and the art historians and the political historians and the language majors and the political scientists and anthropologists. To believe otherwise is to negate the importance of new and evolving ideas from researching the past and present and analyzing the same.

If you don;t like liberal arts programs then don't major in them.

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catspat(aka)

Math and science ARE part of liberal arts programs. At UC Berkeley, physics, math, and biology are all in the College of Letters and Science, which is, as it proclaims, "The Home of the Liberal Arts at Berkeley". See: https://ls.berkeley.edu/home.

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catspat(aka)

Core curricula at many colleges and universities stipulate that, no matter what the major, students need to take at least a smattering of science, literature, social science, etc. courses in order to get a degree. This is the essence of a "liberal education". For example, I sometimes teach a general biology lab course geared for non-majors who need to fulfill a lab-science course requirement. It's not as technical as the majors course, but at least gives an introduction to the philosophies and methodologies of biological sciences.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Dublin: "through liberal education we offer answers"

Cait: "No, liberal education offers indoctrination. Disagree with your 'liberal' teacher and you'll be assured of a failing grade."

-------------------------


No, Cait. You omitted part of my sentence, thereby turning the statement inside out. Here is what my original sentence (a quotation, actually, from the cited source) said:

"This is true not because through liberal education we offer answers, but because we are so good at asking questions. . . . "

The source is saying that we do NOT offer answers through liberal education which, instead, asks questions . . . .

Admittedly, a rather awkwardly worded sentence.

I don't know what kind of teachers you had, Cait, but some of us (like myself) were fortunate enough to have liberal teachers ("liberal" in the academic sense, not the political sense) who encouraged and praised us for disagreeing with so-called authorities. And I attended a rather conservative undergraduate college.

Kate

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whynottryit

To question is to understand. One must understand before applying theory to practice. Rote memorization does not produce innovation or progress in any field. The permission to fail allows one to attempt creative leaps. Education is the key that unlocks minds and opens doors to exploration and discovery. We have settled for less for far too long.

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Ann

Bry, I don't think you have. I'm suggesting to take one big college, that offers a very wide variety of degrees, and isn't a specialty university (like MIT) or an Ivy League university. Something like the University of Colorado (because I'm familiar with it and know they have extensive options within their various "colleges"). I'd bet (with confidence) that students with a degree in engineering, for example, from CU are doing far better after 10 years than students with a Psychology degree. I bet they were employed much faster, in much higher percentages, and are making more money on average (by a bunch).

So, keeping as many variables as possible constant - same university (and one that offers a wide variety of commonly chosen degrees). For example, not comparing a Harvard psychology degree to an engineering degree from a university no one has heard of and has an engineering program that doesn't even make the rating scale.

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Ann

Blfenton, no argument from me. Each student should choose whatever degree appeals to them, they can afford, and what they can handle or are geared toward. The individuality of people does make the world a far more interesting place. Just don't ask taxpayers to pay for all those choices. Free choice and personal responsibility are both great things.

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Ann
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Ann

AND, nothing about this surprised me in the least! These two sources came up on top of a list after about a 30 second or less google search. I'm not going to spend my evening with this topic or sources, but a few seconds certainly produced the exact information I would have guessed.


https://collegegrad.com/blog/top-ten-worst-college-majors-for-jobs

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Ann, this thread is NOT about college degrees and jobs. Go back and re-read the OP. Hopefully you will comprehend that this thread is about what makes an "educated citizen" in a representative democracy (or, if you are Cait, in a democratic republic) and why it matters.

As I noted in the OP, "jobs" is not the right answer. We have moved beyond that topic. Please do catch up.

Kate

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bry911

I'm suggesting to take one big college, that offers a very wide variety of degrees, and isn't a specialty university (like MIT) or an Ivy League university. Something like the University of Colorado (because I'm familiar with it and know they have extensive options within their various "colleges"). I'd bet (with confidence) that students with a degree in engineering, for example, from CU are doing far better after 10 years than students with a Psychology degree.

First, I have done this for you.

Next, your theory has been clearly demonstrated false so many times that anyone who doesn't accept the mountain of research is simply not willing to be convinced. As I have discussed before, people tend to worry about money as it is prevalent in our lives, and thus people believe that more money will end those problems. However, this is usually not true, if you are bad with a modest amount of money, you are probably going to be bad with much larger amounts of money.

We absolutely know this is a fact, and yet convincing people of that fact is an uphill battle. One in six surgeons has an alcohol related problem, which is almost three times that of the general population.

Furthermore, your limiting of time is a bit ridiculous. You are so bent on people finding jobs right after college that you ignore that a career will last more than 10 years. Did you retire doing the same thing you were doing ten years after college? Most people will change careers multiple times and so it seems so important to have a good job right out of college, but that isn't true.

Finally, your entire case is nothing more than the fallacy of relative privation, something you would see if you had a solid liberal arts education and one I bet most psychology majors would understand. Using your logic if you can't be a top chef, you shouldn't cook. If you can't play in the NBA then you shouldn't play basketball.

SOMEONE ELSE BEING "BETTER OFF" THAN YOU, IS IMMATERIAL TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE BETTER OFF THAN YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN.

Sorry for the caps, but I didn't want you to miss it. The entire basis of a free market economy is specialize and trade, and good psychology majors will add more value as good psychology majors than they would as bad engineers. Not to mention that engineers are valued because it is a skill set that doesn't interest everyone. Were everyone in college to suddenly become engineers then the field would be saturated and the jobs would pay much less. It is because the skill set and interest are somewhat rarer than the demand that those jobs pay well.

I could keep going and prove this with math, which I have done for you. Cite extensive studies on the wages of graduates from a mid tier school, which I have done for you. In fact, this isn't the first time I have pointed out your logical fallacy.

So, again, saying that you are happy to be proven wrong, when I have done so by any reasonable measure, seems a bit of a misstatement.

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bry911

I'm not going to spend my evening with this topic or sources, but a few seconds certainly produced the exact information I would have guessed.

I happen to know Brian Krueger, not closely or anything. However, he had a career hiring engineers for tech companies before he launched a website for recruiting (largely still tech jobs). So this isn't a study, it is an opinion piece of a guy who spent his entire career in a specific industry and now writes opinion pieces about his experience. It is about as biased as you can get.

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Ann

Bry, you went so far away from my premise, you aren't even on the same topic anymore.

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whynottryit

The salient point to me is that a well-rounded education, as provided in a liberal arts curriculum, lays the foundation for specialized study in a large variety of fields and allows more versatility in any number of diverse ones. In today's rapidly changing markets, the Jacks and Jills of all trades may surpass the masters of only one.

In terms of an educated citizenry, the liberal arts programs offer a broad spectrum of subjects which, combined with Socratic teaching methods and examinations of one's own philosophical views, enhance and engage participants in healthy exchanges of ideas and solutions. Again, rote memorization of facts eliminates the process of critical thinking, logic, and rigorous debate, all of which are necessary to maintain the kind of government envisioned by the founding fathers.

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roxanna7

^^^well said, whynottryit.

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adoptedbyhounds

Hi Roxanna,

I appreciate your comments. You expressed your own view, without attacking mine. I was not surprised to learn your educational background is much like mine, (although I returned to school as an adult).

Regarding my last sentence, we have different opinions, which you took in stride.

When I see the left pushing to create lists identifying supporters, donors, employers, employees and others who disagree with left wing ideas, I wonder how much exposure they've had to the kind of mindfulness you're calling for.

The events I referred to were widely reported in print and on television. The effort to consolidate public information about private citizens on a list came straight out of Hollywood. This time, the goal was to discriminate against conservative actors. To deny them employment. To punish them for how they think. I'm guessing you're familiar with Hollywood's last effort to punish people for thoughts the industry deemed unacceptable.


https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=debra+messing+&view=detail&mid=572AB673B99A815AEB88572AB673B99A815AEB88&FORM=VIRE

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Ziemia(6a)

As stated above, an important aspect of education is learning to ask questions - and learning ways to refine questions to meet varying needs. Another is knowing how to select options.

And the issue with "useless" degrees isn't the degree itself - it's the determination and confidence to pursue work.

******

An aside on those useless Psych degrees - for some they are a place holder - not yet knowing which choice is optimal. I have watched someone with one climb the ranks of corporate America extremely successfully.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

adopted, why don't you start a separate thread on those "lists"? This is a topic I know little about. I would be interested in seeing what others have to say about it also.

Kate

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bry911

I apologize in advance for the gross generalization I am about to make, but...



The point of education isn't job training, education has value in and of itself. Somehow a generation broadly determined the answer to rampant materialism was to make more money, and it was always the wrong answer. I hate to be cheesy but if you can't find happiness without stuff, then more stuff will not lead to more happiness. However, an entire generation sold that idea to their progeny. All we ended up with is ever increasing material collections and ever decreasing financial security.

A good well rounded education changes the way you view the world. It will probably change your priorities and make you more comfortable in your own head. A good active mind that tends toward critical thought rather than blind acceptance is worth far more than the salary its owner receives.

Finally, the real answer to rampant materialism is to take a good look at what really makes you happy. Odds are, it is not money. In fact, we have significant evidence that most financial stress is artificially created. I worry about money, not because I can't afford things, but because I set largely arbitrary financial goals for projects and then attach feelings of success or failure to those arbitrary goals. I lose sleep over projects that can't lose more than the dividends I will reinvest over that same period, and it really does keep me up at night.

-----------

As to graduate programs, I can tell you this, I left a fairly large school to teach at a liberal arts college. Our graduates are recruited all over the country. I have students who graduated last May at Oxford, USC, Vandy, MIT, Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, etc. I have people who fly over 2,000 miles to get in front of my class for 15 minutes in order to recruit my students to their graduate programs.

I have one son in a top engineering program who last year worked with one of our students who participated in a 3+2 engineering degree program. My son admits that he regrets not doing the 3+2 program. That student, who is no brighter than my son, is leaps and bounds ahead of him in the job search. His writing and communication skills are much more polished and job ready than the average engineering student.

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lurker111

Liberal education...Common core, sexuality, end of the world, hate, fear, racism, anti American = Idiots.

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Lisa

I think that the words liberal education are being misused. I don't think that anyone would disparage an education that provided a broad range of topics and views, but when the "liberals and progressives" deny the conservatives and moderates the right to speak on campuses, then that is not a liberal education. That is a biased, constrained, mind numbing indoctrination. A truly liberal education does not have safe spaces and speech limitations, no matter how hurtful or distasteful some might find it. A truly liberal education encourages peaceful discussions , especially with those whom we disagree. We should all be disturbed by this trend on both sides.

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-ongoing-challenge-to-define-free-speech/thwarting-speech-on-college-campuses/



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bry911

A truly liberal education does not have safe spaces and speech limitations, no matter how hurtful or distasteful some might find it. A truly liberal education encourages peaceful discussions , especially with those whom we disagree.

I don't believe this to be true. A liberal education accepts nuance and complexity and encourages those crucial elements of critical thought, however, that doesn't mean than any bigotry must be accepted as free speech. Liberal education systems exist largely to find and question underlying assumptions. That is what a broad education does, it exposes you to the idea that your underlying assumptions may be just as flawed as those you disagree with. However, those who refuse to question their own underlying assumptions are not participating in a liberal education and I see no reason why the liberal arts must allow that as acceptable performance of its goal.

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Ann

One problem is, while a liberal arts education might provide new ways to view the world and many of the other things many have pointed out, college is expensive and most can't afford to spend $100,000 without gaining good and lucrative career opportunities along the way (especially if they'll have costly student loans to pay back). Most people need to support themselves and a family, and a world view won't pay the practical bills.

Yes, like has been pointed out, I too know a couple people who have eventually found well paying employment with a psychology or similar degree, but I also know others who are saddled with student loan debt and working at close to a minimum wage job despite interview after interview. Conversely, an engineer or accountant (almost all of them) are buying a home, supporting a family, and taking an occasional family vacation.

While an engineer might have about a 90-95% chance of getting a pretty well paying job after a 4 year degree, I'd guess a psychology major might have a 10% chance. I'm just a realist, that's all. I'm not saying one is bad and one is good, but I'm pointing out the expected career outcome of one over another. If we get to the point where taxpayers are funding college, this MUST be considered IMO.

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whynottryit

Of course, consider only the $$$ amount. Give no consideration to the overall benefit of mental health, social work, teaching, or the multitude of other careers that may not produce a fat bottom line but make everyone's lives better overall. That type of linear, non-critical thinking condemns an entire civilization. Your "realism" has no basis in reality.

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Lisa

I proposed "A truly liberal education encourages peaceful discussions , especially with those whom we disagree."

bry911 says "I don't believe this to be true. " And therein lies the problem with today's college campuses.

Yes, bigotry is revolting and limiting, but it must be expressed if for no other reason than for children to learn that it is wrong. Always being in a warm, comforting place sound good, but it is the harsh cold of winter that prepares us for our futures. If the arguments of hate and bigotry are not presented and refuted, how will children (especially susceptible college students) be able to form opinions and reason.

We truly only grow and mature when we face evil , and then decide on another path.

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bry911

One problem is, while a liberal arts education might provide new ways to view the world and many of the other things many have pointed out, college is expensive and most can't afford to spend $100,000 without gaining good and lucrative career opportunities along the way (especially if they'll have costly student loans to pay back).

I have specifically, with math and a lot of evidence, proven this false for you several times. Your belief in something is not the same as a fact. No matter how hard you want a liberal arts education to be a poor investment, it isn't.

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Delilah66

While in college pursuing an engineering degree, I took a biology course well populated with pre-med and engineering students. The first assignment given was to read A Nation of Sheep by William Lederer. The book was over a decade old by then, so not in the headlines. The class “discussion” of the book was hilarious with all those pursuing money jobs trying to relate it to the biology class. Surely that’s why it was assigned reading. Those of us with less focus on trying to win the “A” got it. We had a wider frame of reference. I already had a “liberal” college degree.

Description

Synopsis: Discusses the effects of the apathy and ignorance of the American people on United States foreign policy, relations with other nations, and use of foreign aid funds.

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bry911

Yes, bigotry is revolting and limiting, but it must be expressed if for no other reason than for children to learn that it is wrong. Always being in a warm, comforting place sound good, but it is the harsh cold of winter that prepares us for our futures.

You went from "A truly liberal education does not have safe spaces and speech limitations, no matter how hurtful or distasteful some might find it," to students shouldn't be coddled.

Your original statement is not what a liberal arts education is. PERIOD.

As to your further assertion, it is my job to train the brain of students, not to be their parent. If you sent your child off to college unprepared to deal with the world for me to toughen up, I will do my best because I do give a crap. However, that must occur in an environment that is conducive to learning, and if your child runs around attacking people for their identity and attempting to quash speakers whose identity they don't agree with, I am going to put a stop to that very quickly, regardless of where your child falls on the political spectrum.

What you are actually paying for at good schools is classes full of engaged students. When political or social identity hampers that engagement then your child is just getting an overpriced community college education. Part of my job is to prevent that from happening. If you feel that isn't something I should do, save the money and send your kid somewhere else.

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whynottryit

The Ugly American is a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer that depicts the failures of the US diplomatic corps in Southeast Asia.The Ugly American

First edition coverAuthorEugene Burdick
William LedererCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglishGenrePolitical fictionSet inSarkhanPublished1958 by Norton

The book caused a sensation in diplomatic circles and had major political implications. The Peace Corps was established during the Kennedy administration partly as a result of the book. The bestseller has remained continuously in print and is one of the most influential American political novels.[1] It has been called an "iconic Cold War text."[2



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whynottryit

The Ugly American was required reading for my 10th grade class. Books like these are important to education because they are controversial. They open our eyes to the impact our country and its citizens have across the world, both good and bad.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

If your only educational goal is to get a job with the biggest paycheck, then follow the advice of Ann and others like her and get an engineering degree. Your choice, of course.

However, education can have larger and more comprehensive goals--such as developing an educated citizenry to maintain the health of American democracy. That is not a goal to be scorned, nor should taxpayers be any more reluctant to pay for such a college education--for the good of our country-- than they are for public school education K-12.

As for the issue of extreme radicals (some of whom are quite disruptive and create security problems for the college) being invited or refused to college campuses, extra-curricular student activities at a college are a significant part of the total "college experience," but they should not supersede the academic experiences provided by classroom studies under the supervision of a professor--which is what most people think of as the primary purpose of college. If your classes and professors provide you with helpful, even valuable, instruction (and, I would add, in a broad range of academically liberal areas of study, regardless of what your major is), then you are getting your money's worth, in my opinion and your country is getting what it needs to function well as a representative democracy (or democratic republic, if you will): an educated citizenry.

Kate

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HU-763239319

There are many engineers and Asperger types who enjoy the booooring, worker bee jobs in Silicon Valley, working like slaves, 80 hour weeks, for the entrepreneurs and visionaries. If you are talking about the most successful in these sectors, it’s the big thinkers, the Steve Jobs types, who knew how to recognize and hire talent.

Those who are most successful definitely benefited from a liberal arts education, or like Jobs, no formal education, and are the financiers and marketing professionals. Those who think outside the box.

Is it the word “liberal” that drives the most far far right, single minded crazy?

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I think you are right, HU-763. The "far far right" has trouble viewing the word "liberal" in any but a political context--no matter how many times we explain here that the academic meaning of the word "liberal" (as in "liberal arts") has no political connotations.

Kate

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Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse(5)

@bry911

"...What you are actually paying for at good schools is classes full of
engaged students. When political or social identity hampers that
engagement then your child is just getting an overpriced community
college education..."

Community college students aren't necessarily less engaged than students who attend the top universities. As long as the price tag for attending a four year school from freshman through senior year is so high, there will be students for whom spending the first two years at a community college and transferring to finish their bachelor's program is a more affordable (and necessary) choice for any number of reasons or life circumstances. :)

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I am not sure we can expect a liberal education to begin in college. That seems a bit late to instill liberal values. The bedrock principles of how we view our fellow citizens, our country and our responsibilities begin from a very young age at home.

The ability to think critically cannot begin in college- surely that is far too late- I imagine habits of mind are deeply ingrained by the time you have spend 12 years in a classroom.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

PS It seems to me this country did very well instilling liberal values in its citizenry long before college educations became de rigueur.

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bry911

Community college students aren't necessarily less engaged than students who attend the top universities. As long as the price tag for attending a four year school from freshman through senior year is so high, there will be students for whom spending the first two years at a community college and transferring to finish their bachelor's program is a more affordable (and necessary) choice for any number of reasons or life circumstances. :)

I am finding it a challenge to address this in a way that those without specific experience will understand. I have taught in a lower tier setting, a large mid tier, and a private upper tier.

Probably the best illustration of my point is an example. At a large State school I had the pleasure of teaching one of the brightest young men I have ever met. I am sure he could have aced the course at any school in the country, yet the education he received pales in comparison to that of a struggling student where I currently teach.

I am limited by the average students. They set the tone and rigor of the class. When your average student walks into class already having made the effort to review and understand the material it is a different depth of engagement than you see at a typical community college. That doesn't mean there are not brilliant students, but unless the average student is brilliant that will make little difference.

----

We don't accept transfer credits from most schools. I doubt many top tier schools do. The expectations are so different that a typical student transferring in misses far too many foundational courses that are crucial for success. We have found it is generally a recipe for disaster. Not to say that those are bad or poor students, as I found my time teaching at a community college one of the most rewarding, but they are different.

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Wants to Grow

The AAC&U is a political activist organization, based in Washington, DC, who doesn't respect individual learning. They are all about Marxist ideology, promoting globalism and social justice. For them to redefine the US government from a Constitution Republic to a democracy shows how they advocate for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class.

They either fail to understand or they are opposed to the concept that capitalism is the very definition of liberty.

The problem with these activists inserting themselves into our academia, is their indoctrination of academic participants into accepting the premise of their New World Order. Bottom line, they hate foundational American values and seek to destroy them.

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Ann

"If your only educational goal is to get a job with the biggest paycheck, then follow the advice of Ann and others like her and get an engineering degree. Your choice, of course."

The problem with this is that "get an engineering degree" is far easier said that done. Many, many, many of us simply can't as they wouldn't grasp the class material and pass the classes. That's a very good reason individuals with engineering and applied math degrees do very well and are highly sought after - there aren't many people with the capabilities to pull it off. I have one somewhat distant family member with a PHD in Electrical Engineering and I'd take a wild guess that maybe about 1% of our population (if even that many) would have the ability to pull that off. Supply and demand plays a big role here. While many of us here could fairly easily get a degree in Psychology (if we could afford it), very few of us here could get a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Sure, there are issues of personal preference, personal skills, mental health and all that was previously mentioned. But, my experience was a great example of one who simply had to make a "practical" decision. My parents were capable of and willing to send me to college, but I took a class or two here and there back then and even chose to be a Dance major at one point. My father wisely told me that was a better hobby than career, but I didn't listen. But, then I married young and had children young and didn't return to college until my late 20s. At that point, college was no longer something my parents were offering and I did need student loans to fund all of it. Then, my choice was all about practicality and choosing a path that would help support our family, save money for my children's later college, and pay back my student loans. Feeling that huge sense of responsibility, I chose very, very carefully! At that point, I well understood my father's advice about hobby versus practical, sensible responsibility for the financial future of my family.

So, I will vote election after election to help ensure my hard earned taxpayer dollars do not pay for anyone's degree choice of Women's Studies or Dance. If we do ever get a liberal government in place that offers "free" college tuition, I hope it will be packed with restrictions (and I'm one who strongly believes in freedom of choice - on your dime). But, if "free" college doesn't come to be, I encourage anyone who wants to major in Dance to follow their dreams (if they so choose), and also to pay their own way for school and then personal and family support in their life beyond college.

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Ann

Zalco, don't worry, liberal education begins in Kindergarten these days, and it's hard to find a school that is not flooded with it. Note, that as this trend escalates, enrollment numbers seem to be struggling.

I haven't looked, but I wonder how enrollment numbers are at Pepperdine and Hillsdale (a couple of the few non-liberal institutions)?

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Ann, by liberal education, I mean liberal in the sense of the ancient Greeks, not political correctness or left of center politics. From wiki, here is a nice definition explaining how the liberal in liberal education is from the Latin for free and refers to how to educate a free person.

Wiki:

A liberal education is a system or course of education suitable for the cultivation of a free(Latin: liber) human being. It is based on the medieval concept of the liberal arts or, more commonly now, the liberalism of the Age of Enlightenment.[1] It has been described as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a stronger sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement ... characterised by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study" by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.[2]Usually global and pluralistic in scope, it can include a general education curriculum which provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and learning strategies in addition to in-depth study in at least one academic area.

Liberal education was advocated in the 19th century by thinkers such as John Henry Newman, Thomas Huxley, and F. D. Maurice. Sir Wilfred Griffin Eady defined liberal education as being education for its own sake and personal enrichment, with the teaching of values.[3]

The decline of liberal education is often attributed to mobilization during the Second World War. The premium and emphasis placed upon mathematics, science, and technical training caused a shift away from a liberal concept of higher education studies. However, it became central to much undergraduate education in the United States in the mid-20th century, being conspicuous in the movement for 'general education'.

As for liberal versus conservative schools, I have been mightily impressed by The University of Chicago's commitment to being a marketplace of ideas, a fountain of liberal education that refuses to shut down free speech.

From the U. Of Chicago's statement on free speech, which I think is essential for a truly liberal education:

In 2014, President Robert J. Zimmer and then-Provost Eric Isaacs appointed a committee of University faculty to articulate “the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate.” The resulting “Chicago Principles” have since been adopted by universities and colleges across the country.
Learn more.


https://freeexpression.uchicago.edu/



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heri _ cles

My experience with those who have immersed themselves in academia for much if their lives ( like high school teachers, college professors) is that (as a general rule) they have a narrowed view of the business world and generally what it takes to make it on ones own in society. Many in the teaching profession have the luxury of assured, tenured positions, health and retirement benefits, guaranteed time off every weekend, holiday, Spring vacation, summer vacation, etc. Then of course there is the fact they primarily deal with teenagers and young twenty-something kids on a daily basis rather than having to interact with adults who compete in a dog eat dog world every day, scraping and scratching for everything we can get.

On-line education and free college will soon even the playing field by broadening college opportunity and of course, the opportunity we all have to learn things throughout our lives on our own. Years ago, we only had physical books, libraries and encyclopedias in our homes, if we were fortunate enough to have them.

A an added benefit a more level playing field with college will minimize the snobbery and elitist attitudes that we see from some who brandish their diplomas from "top-tier" schools.






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whynottryit

To limit anyone's ability to participate in a given field simply because we feel it not to be practical is beyond self-absorbed. The creative fields of art, dance, writing, etc., can and are often the inspiration for technological breakthroughs and scientific advancements. How short-sighted to live in a world dictated solely by practicality. That must truly be a dreary existence.


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Ann

Whynot, no one will limit anything unless the government becomes the "manager". All government programs have various rules, limitations, guidelines, restrictions, etc. That's the problem with government programs. They, by definition, remove some level of freedom of choice for all areas they enter. Hopefully, taxpayer paid/government involved college with not become the norm.

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bry911

My experience with those who have immersed themselves in academia for much if their lives ( like high school teachers, college professors) is that (as a general rule) they have a narrowed view of the business world and generally what it takes to make it on ones own in society.

I don't disagree with this, having spent 20 years in business before I decided to teach, I am often shocked at the decisions and attitudes of those in academia, having said that, I was often pretty shocked at the decisions and attitudes in business. So much so that it is what I study, inefficiency in project acceptance.

In my experience all people tend to project their experiences as an understanding of the world. Your experience in your business may seem the norm when you could be the outlier in reality.

On-line education and free college will soon even the playing field by broadening college opportunity and of course, the opportunity we all have to learn things throughout our lives on our own. Years ago, we only had physical books, libraries and encyclopedias in our homes, if we were fortunate enough to have them.

A an added benefit a more level playing field with college will minimize the snobbery and elitist attitudes that we see from some who brandish their diplomas from "top-tier" schools.

I truly wish this would happen. I enjoyed teaching at a community college as I felt I was profoundly bettering lives and wish that everyone's educational opportunities were somewhat equal.

Having said that, it will not happen and you have stumbled on one of the real problems of education today. Rankings matter more to employers than they ever have before. You can fool yourself into thinking that American business cares about achievement, but I assure that a 2.0 from a top tier school will get a job before a 3.5 from a mid tier or a 4.0 from a lower tier. Realistically, a top tier graduate will have a job before they enter their Junior year. They completely demolish all the good internships and that is what really leads to good jobs.

The median base salary for the Harvard Business School class of 2018 was $140,000, with a median signing bonus of $25,000. You can tell me all day long about leveling the playing field but the reality of college in America today is more a fight for admissions than education. Once you are admitted you win the job lottery. I don't see free college and online education as the solution to that problem.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Wants to Grow said: "The AAC&U is a political activist organization, based in Washington, DC, who doesn't respect individual learning. They are all about Marxist ideology, promoting globalism and social justice. For them to redefine the US government from a Constitution Republic to a democracy shows how they advocate for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class."

Wrong!

AACU is NOT a political activist organization. AACU is the American Association of Colleges and Universities--its mission is academic, not political.

Here is its mission statement:

". . .to advance the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy."

If you go back and read the earlier postings on this thread, you will find a number of posts explaining that the ACADEMIC meaning of "liberal education" refers to the broad range of liberal arts courses offered in the College of Arts and Sciences: literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences--as distinct from professional and technical subjects.

When you impose the political meaning of "liberal" on such statements, you completely mangle what the advocates of liberal education are saying. Your definition of "liberal" has nothing to do with the academic use of "liberal."

Liberal education is very different bird than is liberal politics. How many times do we have to repeat that before you actually hear us? Or are you willfully playing deaf?

And by the way, a Constitutional representative republic is not really different than a Constitutional representative democracy is, and most people use the terms interchangeably--although it is clear that you, Wants to Grow, have your own very different meanings you personally attach to each term.

Must make it difficult for you to communicate clearly to others when you insist on using your own personal meanings for such terms. Your message doesn't get across to others.

Kate

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whynottryit

If we do ever get a liberal government in place that offers "free" college tuition, I hope it will be packed with restrictions...

Ann, that is your hope. Not mine.

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whynottryit

Interestingly, Pepperdine appears to have quite a broad liberal arts curriculum. Perhaps misconceptions of the two meanings of the word liberal still confuse some posters.


https://www.pepperdine.edu/academics/programs/

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cait1

@ catspat

Cait: definition of "liberal" with reference to education... not a political term in the context of this thread.

I disagree. I actually read the entire linked article, did you?

FTA:

"The importance of education is implicit in the history of democracy
itself
. Some of the earliest philosophers, Plato and Aristotle among
them, shared a concern (born of elitism as much as intellect)
about rule
by those deemed less qualified to make decisions--the mob
(those who adhere to democracy)... Over time, these concerns were muted... ."

... by a complicit citizenry who didn't fight against the detriments of leftist politics.

Plato had nothing good to say about democracy.

"Plato uses the "democratic man" to represent democracy.
The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Unlike his father,
the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires."

Plato was concerned with 'mob rule' and its elitism and that is exactly what America's current education system is full of - mobs (democrats) pushing the cultural Marxist agenda.

The 'liberal' education described in the article is consumed with social engineering toward a specific goal. Read the article:

"...the need for diverse centers of leadership is part of the contemporary
writing on leadership. Alexander and Helen Astin, themselves established
leaders in American higher education, have recently published

Leadership Reconsidered: Engaging Higher Education in Social Change."

IOW, Cultural Marxism.

"...our colleges and universities can provide the outreach, research, and
intellectual capital necessary
to inform our national policy making.
During a time of relative peace and prosperity, perhaps we could afford
to place political spin above complex policy development
."

We also know for a fact that most higher ed faculty are leftists.

"We investigate the voter registration of faculty at 40 leading U.S.
universities in the fields of Economics, History,
Journalism/Communications, Law, and Psychology. We looked up 7,243
professors and found
3,623 to be registered Democratic and 314
Republican
, for an overall D:R ratio of 11.5:1. ...The
results indicate that D:R ratios have increased since 2004
..."

https://econjwatch.org/articles/faculty-voter-registration-in-economics-history-journalism-communications-law-and-psychology

Churning out fellow Marxists to tyrannize the citizenry is what 'higher' ed is about. Medical schools are now even forced to teach leftist global warming garbage.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/medical-schools-are-pushed-to-train-doctors-for-climate-change-11565170205

Waste of money, IMO. Waste of a brain.

And NB, I back up what I write with links, can you?

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cait1

@ Kate

Liberal education is very different bird than is liberal politics.

Not in my eyes. Indoctrination is not education.

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Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse(5)

@bry911

"...We don't accept transfer credits from most schools. I doubt many top
tier schools do. The expectations are so different that a typical
student transferring in misses far too many foundational courses that
are crucial for success. We have found it is generally a recipe for
disaster. Not to say that those are bad or poor students, as I found my
time teaching at a community college one of the most rewarding, but they
are different..."

The transfer center counselor that I worked with starting when I was about 2/3rds of the way through at the local community college had me follow the general education coursework transfer plan for independent/private - IGETC? - (not Cal State or UC) universities. That way, when I went to meet with the admissions officer at Chapman University, I didn't have any "You have to take courses X-Y-Z before we can admit you as a transfer student" type surprises. While the content of and work I did in the classes I took while at community college wasn't exceptionally difficult for me, I know that some students struggled. My parents also were willing to pay for me to see a career counselor while I attended community college; that experience helped me zero in on what I wanted to do with my life, the universities I might want to apply for transfer to with what major, and of course I took a whole battery of tests in the process. :P When I started college, I was an English major, with the intention of becoming a high school English teacher. On the advice of the high school English teacher who really inspired me, I got a job as a teacher's assistant in a local school district and learned that I am not cut out to be a teacher. I think my dad actually cheered when I told him I was changing my major and intending to pursue something besides teaching as a career. Education has gone through a lot of changes over the years, and both of my parents saw things on the front lines. I'm just glad that I realized that teaching is not the right fit for me (and went from a minimum wage restaurant hostess job to being a teacher's assistant being paid $10, so it wasn't *all* bad) before I was standing at the front of a classroom as an English teacher with 30+ x 6 students.

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Delilah66

"If your only educational goal is to get a job with the biggest paycheck, then follow the advice of Ann and others like her and get an engineering degree."

I resemble that remark holding French and engineering degrees, well-integrated when I was stationed in France managing environmental requirements of a manufacturing operation.

"We don't accept transfer credits from most schools. I doubt many top tier schools do."

My engineering degree school accepted my French language credits.

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bry911

@ Jenn,

I apologize for not being more clear. At our school and most of our peer institutions there are few courses that transfer for new admits. There are exceptions to that but largely for electives only. If you spent two years getting your prep courses done, you would still have to complete the entire Freshman sequence and probably half of the Sophomore sequence. It largely just isn't worth it.

Our students do a lot of writing and oral communication and the concern with transfers is that it will be too much for a student to walk into without the courses that helped develop those skills and coping mechanisms. It is honestly common for a student to have 80 - 100 pages of various research papers due the week before finals.

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bry911

My engineering degree school accepted my French language credits.

I don't think we are talking about the same thing. I lived in France before attending engineering school and they accepted my proficiency with French for credit. But that is not the discussion we are having. At many state schools you can do two years at Community College, taking courses that transfer over, in fact, that was a large selling point for Community Colleges. However, there are concerns about doing that and many private schools have really limited the number of courses that can be taken at non-peer institutions. Not because we are being mean, just because those students tend to struggle more.

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Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse(5)

@bry911

My experience is limited to the California system, where most CC's have developed transfer agreements with state schools (Cal State and UC) and private institutions. I recall taking not just the general education courses but also the lower division classes applicable to my major.

What do the non-traditional students do, if they can't afford to go to a 4 year school straight out of high school or even require remedial classes in math and/or English? Are they just...SOL...if they are hoping to get the bachelors degree that has increasingly become a requirement for anyone seeking a well paying job? Maybe the state schools where you're located are different in terms of accepting transfer credits and such?

A lot of people believe that it's possible for anyone (no matter what socioeconomic demographic they start out in) with the drive that puts in the effort can go to a top college, putting them in the position of successfully going on to highly paid employment. Not everyone starts out in the same circumstances, and there's not as much upward mobility as there once was for a greater number of people (but not all).

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Delilah66

I tried to edit my post to no avail. Both of my degrees were at state universities: MD and MI. Not MIT or Harvard, but well-respected schools.

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whynottryit

Not in my eyes. Indoctrination is not education

Amazing. Check out a dictionary. Those eyes apparently are willfully blind. A liberal education is as close to liberal politics as a liberal amount of cream in a cup of coffee. Homonyms are common in the English language -- one of the things I learned from my liberal education.

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bry911

My experience is limited to the California system, where most CC's have developed transfer agreements with state schools (Cal State and UC) and private institutions.

For brevity I tried to gloss over this a bit, but apparently I am not doing a very good job of that.

We do actually accept all transfer credits that we deem to be academically equivalent, as do most schools. Having said that, it is rare that a student could find academically equivalent courses to our Freshman and Sophomore sequence. During their first two years students will take 6 classes that are focused on written or oral communication.

The first Freshman written communication class begins with two reading summaries each week that are 2-3 pages each. The point of those papers is to help students identify the important points when reading. Then it moves to a weekly five page reflection paper where they summarize and expand on the reading. This moves to a weekly ten page paper where students bring in external research and reading and then end the semester with a 20 page research paper. Additionally the students will have weekly one on one paper conferences with the instructor during the course.

The oral communications class works just about the same way beginning with recorded multiple weekly 5 minute presentations and working up to a live 15 minute and recorded 20-30 minute presentation, again with one on one presentation conferences.

By the time you are a Junior it is expected that you have mastered those skills. It is very rare that a student transferring in from a Community College would have done so, and thus they are discouraged from starting upper division courses until they have. Would there be some advantage to students for taking classes at a Community College? Yes. More education is always better. Would there be a tuition cost advantage? Yes, they could probably graduate a semester earlier than they otherwise could have. Would there be a time advantage? No, they would essentially turn a 4 year college experience into a 5 year college experience and delay working all the longer which really creates a financial disadvantage.

We are not alone in this type of arrangement. Most of our peer institutions have some mechanism that ends up working much the same way.

-----

The reciprocal arrangements that you are describing are fairly common among state schools and sometimes mandated by states for private schools receiving state funds. It is a practice with some very legitimate criticism, the rigor at community colleges is different and the savings don't materialize for too many students. Of the students who transfer from Community College to a four year degree only about 40% finish their bachelor's degrees in the next 6 years.

For most students the cost of education is reduced by going to a two year school and transferring, however, the net cost of education is often increased as those students have significantly lower four year graduation rates. and thus delay entering the work force.

This is not to say that there are not exceptions. There certainly are. However, I would think long and hard about any purported savings from doing the first two years at a Community College.

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bry911

We should note that there are many institutions that have both a liberal arts focus and allow students to achieve engineering degrees. Harvey Mudd College, Swarthmore, Smith College, and Dartmouth immediately come to mind, as well as some of the prominent 3+2 programs where students graduate in 5 years with two Bachelor's degrees.

A liberal education doesn't exist as an either or choice, it is just the idea that there is inherent value in exposing students to a broad education.

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Ann

"We do actually accept all transfer credits that we deem to be academically equivalent, as do most schools. Having said that, it is rare that a student could find academically equivalent courses to our Freshman and Sophomore sequence."

This would also be the case for a student entering a College of Engineering, but for a somewhat different reason. Because that degree is so loaded with math and engineering requirements and so light on electives, there is very little that would transfer and apply to the engineering degree being sought. You'd have to start from scratch with all the many, many specific engineering/math class requirements unless you were transferring from another engineering program. For example, at CU, even the math classes obtained in the College of Arts and Sciences would not transfer to CU's College of Engineering as an equivalent class - and that's all within the same big university. But, if you were transferring from a community college or another university into the College of Arts and Sciences for a degree program offered there, you could likely have much better luck with transfer credits. Students these days do effectively save a great deal of money by starting at a community college. I think it's a great cost saving plan for the situations where one's degree choice makes it an option.

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bry911

This would also be the case for a student entering a College of Engineering, but for a somewhat different reason. Because that degree is so loaded with math and engineering requirements and so light on electives, there is very little that would transfer and apply to the engineering degree being sought.

I am not trying to be rude, but much of what you say simply is not at all accurate. At this point 3+2 programs at engineering schools are not a rarity. I can find multiple options in almost every state. In fact, some of the top engineering programs in the country participate in those programs, so it is not at all hard for students to transfer into an engineering program and complete the degree in the final two years, without having any specific engineering classes before. I can't speak to CU but I assure you that we have a dozen 3+2 students finishing up engineering degrees all over the country and all of them will finish their engineering requirements in 2 years.

Additionally, your comment about PhD's in electrical engineering is based on little more than an assumption. PhD's take an incredible amount of drive and discipline but any engineering student who graduates with better than a C average would probably be smart enough to get a PhD in engineering. Typically school gets easier when you go further, as you trade breadth for depth. PhD's tend to be incredibly focused areas of knowledge rather than wielders of any particular brilliance. They are not easy for sure, and certainly some of the social sciences might struggle a bit with the statistical analysis, but that would not be that challenging for engineering students. Once you manage to get through 3-D calculus, stats shouldn't be a major challenge.

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Ann

Bry, with a parent and two of my children having degrees in engineering, I'm quite familiar with the curriculum and class progression from semester to semester, and I'm not trying to be rude either.

I don't disagree that any student can get multiple degrees in various ways (as offered by their university) if they so choose and want to take the extra time to do so.

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bry911

with a parent and two of my children having degrees in engineering, I'm quite familiar with the curriculum and class progression from semester to semester, and I'm not trying to be rude either.

It doesn't matter if you are the King of Engineers, what you said was not correct. Engineering schools will accept transfer credit and most programs have mechanisms to consolidate students into the engineering program with some ease.

Let's address this logically shall we...

The following two statements can't both be true.

1.) You'd have to start from scratch with all the many, many specific engineering/math class requirements unless you were transferring from another engineering program.

2.) I assure you that we have a dozen 3+2 students finishing up engineering degrees all over the country and all of them will finish their engineering requirements in 2 years.

If you can finish a four year degree in two years, you don't have to start from scratch. There is no further discussion needed.

But just in case, my undergrad was a double major in Chem E and Accounting. I started my career doing cost analysis for petroleum exploration and have hired more than my fair share of engineers. Additionally, I advise our 3+2 students, so would like me to start linking all of the schools that prove your generalization wrong?

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Ann

I don't know what generalization you think you are proving wrong. My point is, while previous credits may be transferable with a student entering engineering school, few of those credits will likely satisfy the course requirements for that engineering degree, unless they are coming from another engineering or applied math program. You can provide whatever links you want, and I well understand you think you know exactly what you are talking about, but I well understand what I'm talking about too. For example, while Liberal Arts credits may transfer, they will do nothing to satisfy Engineering Computing, CAD, Materials, Statics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, etc., etc., etc.. Depending on what is transferred, some may fulfill a few of the only 7 or so non-tech electives, but that's about it. The technical load is so high that even if a student could transfer all 7 non-tech electives, the technical portion of the engineering program would be difficult to complete in less that 4 years. IMO, it would be far more common that that transfer student would still need the 4 years and would ultimately graduate with more hours than the minimum required (because I think it highly probable a number of their transferred hours would only end up being additional hours that wouldn't have otherwise been needed at all in the engineering program). So, nothing would be wasted from the transfer, but little may be gained toward completion of the engineering program and the time in engineering program may not be reduced due to the transferred hours. Now, if a student's budget and timeframe is fine with 5 or 6 or more years of college, go for it - pile on the degrees if one so chooses.

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Lidia

Universities are businesses. They make make money from tuition and do everything they can to generate as much as possible. Universities are not non-profit, they are not for profit, HUGE difference. Receiving a liberal education is a luxury and the financial cost is high for all those but the 1%’ers. You can discuss transfer credits and gen ed courses but all the while the job of that institution is to separate the customer from their money, legally and they can change some of the rules/requirements and cause the student not to be able to transfer credits. Unless you’re trying to get into an Ivy League school, most every college will accept every applicant, they need the money. More than ever, students must become smart consumers regarding their education...faculty and universities only care about getting paid and keeping the gig going as long as they can.

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HamiltonGardener

I’d be hesitant to continue following the assumption that those who don’t take liberal arts degrees aren’t just as capable of being an informed citizenry, able to think, reason, analyse and reflect. It suggests they (unlike liberal arts students) don’t ask questions or can’t entertain competing ideas.


Its a heck of a position from which to start a defense of a liberal education. Sort of...reinforces the current stereotype of liberal arts as elitists.

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whynottryit

I see your point, HG. In my mind, the difference between a liberal arts program and a vocational one is that liberal arts focus more on theory than practical applications. The best educated usually have both. College co-op students and medical interns are great examples of combining theory and practice before receiving a degree.

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HamiltonGardener

Well,Ann has a point as well.

In the end, you have to eat. As long as you can pay your way through life, you succeed.


And I know this seems cynical, but I agree 100% with Lidia. Education is completely just a money making machine now. Get them in, get their money, keep them in as long as possible.


There was a time when, if a young person was not suited to the rigours of academic life, we would sit them down and be honest with them. Help them make an assessment of better options. Now, universities find ways to keep them gliding their way through. Paying customers. Doesn’t mean they are coming out educated.


Diploma mills.

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Ann

For me, since I blew my opportunity to complete a degree when my parents were both willing and able to pay for it, my degree ended up being a big risk in that it was a huge financial burden to my young and poor family. Furthermore, I already had children and it was critical to me that I would later also give them the opportunity of college on our dime, not theirs. So, college simply had to lead to a lucrative career or my decision to get that degree would have been a huge burden to an already financially challenged young family. It was a means to a career (not just a job) for me, first and foremost. The degree decision was made with very logical consideration and the outcome was even better than planned and hoped for. College can certainly be extremely valuable to one's financial well being, but it certainly isn't a guarantee.

I hear painful stories of graduates with substantial debt and complaints they can't find a good paying job, let alone a lucrative career. Degree choice is a huge pet peeve of mine (when I've assumed the responsibility of funding that degree) because I think that choice can, and often does, drastically alter the financial well being of the rest of one's life.

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bry911

Universities are businesses. Universities are businesses. They make make money from tuition and do everything they can to generate as much as possible.

Of course they are businesses, they have capital expenditures and labor costs to achieve revenues and the revenues have to cover the expenses. Having said that I don't think the goal is profit so that is very different.

Universities are not non-profit, they are not for profit, HUGE difference.

Ignoring the fact that the words are typically interchangeable, it is absolutely not true. Almost all universities draw down their endowment and depend on reinvestment from donors to reestablish that endowment.

Receiving a liberal education is a luxury and the financial cost is high for all those but the 1%’ers.

Again, this simply isn't true. Liberal arts institutions tend to have higher tuition but also typically have faster graduation rates, fewer other expenses and much more financial aid. For example, using Ann's University of Colorado the average undergraduate cost after aid is $21,053 for a school that is ranked 104th in National Universities. Williams College which is ranked number 1 in Liberal Arts colleges has an average undergraduate cost after aid of $20,315. That is not particularly unique either, #2 Amherst is $18,480, #3(tie) Swarthmore is $22,557, #3(tie) Wellesley is $21,216, #5 Pomona is $19,205...

As you can see Liberal Arts Colleges are really no more expensive than the typical state school. Additionally, they tend to have much higher four year graduation rates. Again the University of Colorado has a four year graduation rate of 45.1% and a six year graduation rate of 68.6%. On the other hand Williams college had a four year graduation rate of 88% and a six year of 95.4%. Looking at the other 4 year graduation rates among the top Liberal Arts schools we see #2 Amherst is 89.5%, #3(tie) Swarthmore is 94%, #3(tie) Wellesley is 98.2%, #5 Pomona is 88.8%...

You can discuss transfer credits and gen ed courses but all the while the job of that institution is to separate the customer from their money, legally and they can change some of the rules/requirements and cause the student not to be able to transfer credits. Unless you’re trying to get into an Ivy League school, most every college will accept every applicant, they need the money.

This is again, a misconception. Acceptance rate and class size matters for ranking and unfortunately rankings matter. No small school in the top 100 is going to admit more than 70% of students and most will admit around half of applicants. Most smaller private schools simply don't have the Capital required to significantly expand, they are often stuck at their numbers. The problem being that faculty are largely a step cost and the golden ratio is under 10:1. So the highest you can reasonable go is one faculty per every ten students. Most small colleges are simply not capitalized enough to build housing, classrooms and hire the faculty required to bump up admissions without destroying their ranking and thus losing their appeal. So most are cost locked between the 1,500 and 2,500 mark.

More than ever, students must become smart consumers regarding their education...faculty and universities only care about getting paid and keeping the gig going as long as they can.

You may not agree with me for various reasons but I assure you that I don't do it for the pay and neither do most of my peers. After teaching, consulting gigs and speaking gigs, I might clear 30% of what I did 10 years ago. Most of my peers could make more money doing something else, and the few who couldn't are often the most loved by students.

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bry911

It is understandable to be bitter or angry over the cost of college. I personally have two kids in college right now. Having said that, the culprit is not colleges jacking up prices for profits, it is really something called Baumol's cost disease. In the long run, possibly revamping the classroom model for independent study might be the answer but we are very long way from that happening.

To be fair we get it, there is not a single week that goes by when we don't have discussions trying to solve the problem of the rising cost of higher education. We have a four year graduation rate is well over 90% and we still worry about those few who don't graduate. College loans may be reasonable for those who end up with a degree but they are brutal for those young people who spend a couple of years in college and walk away without a degree.

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bry911

My point is, while previous credits may be transferable with a student entering engineering school, few of those credits will likely satisfy the course requirements for that engineering degree, unless they are coming from another engineering or applied math program. You can provide whatever links you want, and I well understand you think you know exactly what you are talking about, but I well understand what I'm talking about too.

From University of Colorado Boulder:

Colorado Community Colleges

Students who begin at a Colorado Community College can transfer directly to CU Boulder to finish their degree in engineering. Thanks to an integrated partnership, this pathway can be attractive to both community college students, as well as qualified high school students taking concurrent enrollment classes at a local community college. CU Boulder has partnered with four community colleges to provide a pathway and easier transition between colleges. At our partner community colleges, you can complete classes before transferring to CU Boulder and have the peace of mind that your credits will apply directly to your engineering degree.

So can we please put this particular misconception to bed?

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"I’d be hesitant to continue following the assumption that those who don’t take liberal arts degrees aren’t just as capable of being an informed citizenry, able to think, reason, analyse and reflect. "


Hamilton--I apologize if my OP and comments gave the impression that I believe those who don't get liberal arts degrees aren't capable of being informed citizens.

In fact, I'd go one step further and say that there are informed citizens even among people who don't get any kind of college degree. If they already have the habit of questioning, exploring, stating the unpopular, challenging poorly reasoned theories, wrestling with convoluted and contradictory positions, they already qualify as "informed citizens."

Most students, however, need to hone, sharpen, and refine those skills, and that is what a liberal education is particularly designed to develop and promote.

As far as engineering degrees go, I know little about them--my university has technology degrees, but not engineering degrees. Perhaps someone could enlighten me. Don't engineering students have to take what are called "general education" courses during their freshman and sophomore years? If so (and technology students at my university do), then liberal arts courses form the foundation for the engineering/technology degrees--since most of the "general education" courses are liberal arts courses. In other words, like most other majors on campus, the specialized studies of one's major do not seriously begin until the student's junior and senior years. Liberal arts courses like English, Western Civilization, Biology, and sociology are part of most students' college education, so perhaps we should cease making absolute separations between a liberal education and a non-liberal education. They would seem to combine for many college students.

Kate

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Ann

Again Bry, we're talking about apples and oranges, at least when it comes to a degree in Engineering. The colleges you listed are liberal arts colleges and at none of them, can one obtain a traditional engineering degree like BSEE or BSME - not even Swarthmore (since I'm guessing that will be your next argument). But I did take a little time to look into various options you've already discussed at those colleges, and sure, it looks like with 5 years of college, a student could get a liberal arts education with a generic engineering "sort of" degree which would set them up nicely to go into a masters program or just go to a traditional engineering program and spend a few more years getting a degree which would directly apply to a career in engineering. So, 7 or so years after entering college, they'd be all set.

I was unaware of the CU partnership with 4 specific community colleges in the area. That's a wonderful option for students looking to keep cost down in the early college years and a good business decision for those 4 community colleges to provide these offerings. It's very much caught my eye as I have a grandchild who is a sophomore in high school and very strong in math. Should they be able to use a local community college to further math beyond what their large high school offers, that could be beneficial in their junior and senior year of high school. They were able to go to the high school for math (for the first hour of their school day) when their middle school ran out of options, but I wondered what happens when they've moved past all the high school offerings. Maybe this community college option is precisely the answer. I'll ask my child if that's the plan.

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maddie260

Ann, I just have one question: why do you think an engineering degree is the only degree worth having? It's the degree you appear to put on the pedestal above all others EVERY single time? I could put my children's degrees out there - they weren't engineering- and I can assure you, dollars and cents because that also appears to be what matters to you, they are making more than engineers! There is more to life for most than being an engineer!

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Ann

Kate, the answer to your question is no. A traditional college of engineering starts a student off on day one with a heavy load of engineering related classes. There are only about 7 non-tech classes taken in the entire 4 years and even they have to fall within particular areas (like one in writing, for example). Additionally, 6 of those 7 non-tech electives are taken in the junior and senior years of the curriculum. The entire first two years (which is typically 20 different classes) includes only one class that is an elective. 19 of 20 classes during the first two years is either math, physics, or engineering.

When we went to orientation for my first engineering child, the Dean started by saying "Look to the student on your right and your left. Only one of you will graduate with degree in engineering.". This appears to be pretty close to what my quick google search is indicating. I think this is exactly the supply/demand reason engineering is a good career choice in terms of job availability, career advancement, and salary. Not many people can pull it off.

"A gulp-worthy 60% of freshmen engineering students eventually drop-out or change majors. Over 40% don't even make it through year one. The primary reason why students drop out of engineering programs is a lack of preparedness for the high level of rigor."

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Ann

Maddie, no. There are and have been so many engineers in my family, it's a career path I know well and it's been a good one for all of them. When a person is very strong in math ability, it's a somewhat natural and logical path. One thing I like about it is that a BS in engineering is very valuable in the job market and that's not the case with many a degree path. For example, a teacher typically needs a masters (even a grade school teacher) to easily obtain employment and the difference in salary between a 4th grade teacher with a masters and an engineer with bachelors is very, very significant. Same situation when looking at the medical profession. Doctors do well with salary, but certainly not with a 4 year degree. So, as far a bang for the buck, if a person has the aptitude and interest to become an engineer, it's an excellent and highly marketable choice. But, it's only a good fit for those with very high math aptitude and interest.

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Ann

Maddie, if your children (say in the middle of their careers) are making more than succesful engineers are making in the middle of their careers, they are certainly in excellent shape financially. Good for them and I'm sure you are very proud of their success!

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Ann

Maddie, by the way, I don't have a degree in engineering. I often wonder if I would have had the smarts and fortitude to get one. I'm not sure I would have.

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maddie260

My children are NOT in the middle of their career paths; they are at the beginning of career paths. And, yes, two are making more than most engineers in the middle of a career path. Two had the liberal art degrees that appear to be much despised by some here, and one is completing med school. I'm sure I'm as rightfully proud of my children with liberal arts degrees as you are of your children with engineering degrees; neither degree is more valuable than the other.

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Delilah66

“Not many people can pull it off.” That’s a lie. Degreed engineers are plentiful. But what difference does that make? If you love the career you chose and if you’re wise, you will adjust your lifestyle to accommodate your income. Alternatively, change your profession to meet the lifestyle you want.

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Delilah66

Please raise your hand if you disowned your child because you disapproved of their choice of college majors or because they refused to go to college or because they pursued a path less traveled. Please refrain from raising your hand if you disowned them for other reasons. Those with your hands up are despicable.

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Delilah66

Oh, and my kingdom for good teachers no matter which subjects or grade levels. I wish I had the temperament to be a teacher because I loved school and never wanted to miss a day or a class. Even history which did not come easy for me...all those dates and who was doing what when someone on the other side of the world was doing something else.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"If you love the career you chose and if you’re wise, you will adjust your lifestyle to accommodate your income."

Good observation, Delilah.

Kate

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woodnymph2_gw

Ann, your bias seems to be slanted in favor of obtaining an engineering degree. And up-thread you expressed doubts that Art History majors, for example, could find well-paying careers. That was my major and there are plenty of museums, historical societies, academic libraries and research facilities, even in America, that utilize degrees in art and history. And you seemed to express doubts about psychology majors, as well. I wonder about your opinions on these matters.

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maddie260

Medical schools are actively pursuing those with liberal arts degrees as they are more ‘well rounded’ people!

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chase_gw

Adding to Maddie's comments...my daughter has a liberal arts degree followed by a one year post grad certificate in digital marketing. She is making upwards of 150K ....and is 32. Head of e-commerce for a large multi national food company.

Lucrative careers are not restricted to STEM type degrees...not by a long shot.

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whynottryit

It appears to me that, as is often the case, this thread took a hard turn away from the benefits of a liberal education to democracy and leadership toward a cost/benefit analysis of various degree programs. When the financial bottom line becomes the litmus test for the value of education, we should not be surprised to see greed and corruption close by.

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chase_gw

Some just don't value the concept of "education" . They see it simply as job training. The benefits of a well educated populace cannot be underestimated.

When I had to downsize my department some of the poorest performers were engineering grads....not that there weren't liberal arts grads too...but the value of an employee is not limited to their "discipline".

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Ann

Nah, greed comes in when a student is smothered in student loan debt, can't find a job because of their degree choice, whines about income disparity, and then, almost out of necessity, begins to feel entitled to the income of those who did take the proper steps obtain a successful career.

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Ann

Well, I'm sure some of you want to ignore the statistics you'll readily find if you google degrees that have the best track record for leading to employment/good salary and those that have the worst track record. Then we resort to the discussion of all "the exceptions" and the discussion of which students have the better world view (like a liberal world view pays any bills). But, that liberal world view does teach one to love huge government, high welfare numbers, high unemployment, increased poverty, high taxes, and being told how to live. Woohoo!

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cattyles

If you can’t win the argument insult all liberals. Woohoo!

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chase_gw

What a load of carp. I have worked every
bit as hard as any conservative, I pay all my bills and always have, I
live within my means and enjoy a lovely life style ...fully paid by me. I
don't believe in overly large government although I do value education
and healthcare over military might.

I saved for my retirement, paid my kids way through university and
happy to see them leading very productive lives. Nobody tells me how to
live...nobody! I know of know liberal who thinks as you describe....none

There is a huge difference in what degrees may lead to a "job" and
what degrees may lead to a career. After your foot is in the door , who
you are and the skills you have, beyond your education, take over. I am
not talking exceptions , I am talking the rule.


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chase_gw

I want to add how terrible it would be to grow up with parents who felt that you must excel in certain subjects when maybe that is simply not how your brain works. The pressure and the strain must be terrible.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

You just can't resist substituting a political definition of "liberal" for an academic one, can you, Ann. Especially when you run out of arguments--so you switch over to politics and bring out the canned conservative/Trumpster caricature of a political "liberal.

How many times do we have to explain (and quote dictionaries) that indicate the political and the academic meanings of "liberal" are two DIFFERENT definitions?

And I might add, the only person claiming that "greed comes in when a student is smothered in student loan debt, can't find a job because of their degree choice, whines about income disparity, and then, almost out of necessity, begins to feel entitled to the income of those who did take the proper steps obtain a successful career" is YOU, Ann. That isn't a liberal hang-up. That is a far right/trumpster obsession.

It is most unfortunate for you that you were so badly scarred by your college experience. Most of us were not--and probably would agree that college and post-college were some of the better experiences of our lives.

Kate

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chase_gw

One last thought. My niece is brilliant at math and science, brilliant. Straight A's all the way. She is also very artistic, fabulously creative and vert talented. My brother pushed her and pushed her to enter engineering but she wasn't having any part of it. He finally convinced her to go into architecture thinking she could apply both of her talents.

She hated it, won't go into the details but she had two terrible years before dropping out. My brother almost lost his daughter and it really shook him. After a year off school she enrolled in George Brown in a jewelry design course with his blessing. She is happy and thriving and who knows where it may lead...maybe the next Gucci!

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Delilah66

OMG! I wish I knew you woodnymph! I would drag you to every museum and art gallery and have you explain it all!

Chase, I guess you didn’t raise your hand in response to my question up thread.

Open-mindedness: have or keep an open mind; to be willing to listen to other people’s opinions about someone or something

Liberal - accepting different opinions and ways of behaving and tending to be sympathetic to other people

Tolerant - willing to accept someone else’s beliefs, way of life etc without criticizing them, even if you disagree with them

receptive - willing to listen or to consider suggestions

broad-minded - willing to accept many different types of behaviour and not easily shocked

adaptable- adaptable people can change their behaviour or ideas easily in order to deal with new situations

enterprising - willing to try or think of new ideas or methods

open - willing to consider many different possibilities

live and let live - used for saying that you should accept other people’s beliefs and way of life, even if they are very different from your own


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whynottryit

I have three children whose IQs are all 130 and above, tested and verified. Raising them was a harrowing yet highly rewarding responsibility. None of them had the same interests and they all excelled in whatever captured their imagination. One is now a computer engineer and designs training simulation programs for Army pilots. Another is a computer network administrator and the third is a paralegal by day and an artist in multiple mediums by night. All have high level mathematical skills as well as critical thinking and logic capacities.

The limitations of a nonliberal arts program would not have served my children well. Even with the level of teaching in their early school years and specialized programs, I had to challenge all of them to go one or more steps further to maintain their focus on any given project or subject. As they got older, they internalized those lessons and learned to challenge themselves. Delving into the why of math, science, or any other subject is vital for curious minds. Simply being taught the what may result in a product but it will not produce the innovation needed to move forward, regardless of the field.

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Delilah66

Chase - your niece should refuse to sell anything to “she who knows freak nothing about avocation.”

With such a narrow view of what constitutes a successful college career, “she” should be banned from every theater, museum, concert and store. All that is contained within those venues relies on way more than engineering and science. If “she” wants a new blouse, “she” should be made to wear a potato sack. If “she”’wants to read a book, “she” can collect those potato sacks and read the writing on them. If “she” wants to adorn her house, “she” should buy some crayolas and do-it-herself. “She” knows “she’s” in a hole, but refuses to throw down the shovel.

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chase_gw

Was just thinking the same thing. In fact up thread I commented on the fact that those who poo poo liberal arts education don't seem to understand how much richness those degrees bring to their own lifestyle.

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Delilah66

Chase, they take those riches as their due because they are entitled.

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bry911

Most of the points made about jobs are a logical fallacy and moreover really fly in the face of the free market economics the right pretends to worship when it is expedient to their point.

I will try one more time, although I know it will not work...

There is a selection bias in the stated position. Engineering jobs are predominantly taken by people who want to be engineers. This doesn't mean that a field full of people who really don't want to be engineers would have the same result.

So just because people who want to be engineers get paid more doesn't mean you will get paid more if you pursue an engineering degree.

Furthermore, most all college degrees have positive net present value. Really we talk about loans in the abstract like they are some big unassailable obstacle but if you max out your undergrad loans you only need to make $3,400 per year more than you would have made without a college degree to make it marginally beneficial.

Therein is your relative privation fallacy. Just because someone can make more money than you or find a job faster than you doesn't mean you are not better off too.

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Chi

In my experience, the degree isn't what makes someone successful. My husband went to MIT for computer science, I went to the University of Chicago for economics. We are doing well but we both feel we would have had the same career path and success at any decent college.

I never had the ambition to have a highly successful career. I'm not interested in the long hours and the stress. DH is a gifted programmer but has no interest in managing people or projects so his career options are also limited a bit by that.

My point is that anyone who has the drive and the ambition will likely be successful regardless of where they go to school and what they study. While it's true that some degrees or programs make it easier to get into certain fields or companies, eventually that advantage fades, and people need to rely on their other strengths to keep progressing in their careers.

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Ann

"How many times do we have to explain (and quote dictionaries) that indicate the political and the academic meanings of "liberal" are two DIFFERENT definitions?"

Kate, if you think liberal thinking in a political sense is not being shoved down a child's throat from kindergarten on, you're dreaming! It's relentless in our educational system. It's pushed the hardest of all in college level "liberal arts" classes, whether they be psychology, sociology, philosophy, history, etc. At least in a calculus class, it simply doesn't have room to be so woven in. I have no idea where Bry teaches or what he teaches, but I'd be stunned if his students were not well aware of many of his life views and in great detail. Teachers at all levels are relentless in pushing their views on students. In some cases I don't think it's a goal of theirs or even recognized by them; as much as it's just them speaking from their perspective (exactly like we all do here on HT - and look at the enormous difference in perspective from the liberal and conservative HT posters). All my grandchildren are in middle or high school and there is not a conservative teacher in the bunch of all their various teachers. I'm simply speechless when I pick them up from school and ask what they learned or discussed in classes that day. The topics are just dripping with politically charged themes!!!!! The social engineering is blatant!

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heri _ cles

You are so wrong Ann.

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whynottryit

Bring your grandchildren to Alabama, Ann. The conservative mindset is rampantly blatant here.

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Chi

"Kate, if you think liberal thinking in a political sense is not being shoved down a child's throat from kindergarten on, you're dreaming!"

I used to teach kindergarten. I can assure you that not a single child knows who I voted for or my political leanings. How ridiculous and offensive to teachers.

Also, don't underestimate how many kids echo what their parents say at home, and share opinions with their friends. I could easily picture a child sharing a comment and causing a discussion in class. But I guess it's easier to blame the "liberal" teachers than to accept just how liberal the country is.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I meant to delete the last two paragraphs about gender non-conforming as that is not so much school related and I still can't edit my comments.

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chase_gw

Would love an example of liberal political thinking being shoved down the throat of grade school students .Perhaps Ann can share given she has seen so much of it.

Now from what I hear of the curriculum in the south........no science, no evolution , no slavery.......

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whynottryit

Don't forget the faith based education...in the public school.

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whynottryit

Actually they do teach science. I haven't seen the textbooks in a long time but it hasn't gone that far.

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chase_gw

Well perhaps no science was inaccurate. .....but selective science when it comes to evolution and the environment.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

There must be a verboten word in this piece by Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine about how children are indeed being affected by a leftist bent in the curriculum. It's a great piece. Here is the link.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/09/andrew-sullivan-when-the-ideologues-come-for-the-kids.html

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

PS I'm sorry for being unclear ^^^^. I had copied a lot of the Sullivan piece and could not get it to post, hence I am just providing the link.

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Ann

OMG Zalco, that is such an excellent (and incredibly frightening) link! That is precisely what young children these days are being exposed to in the midst of this liberal social engineering project!

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

When I would teach a poem by Emily Dickinson, in what way was I "shoving liberal thinking in a political sense . . . down a [young adult's] throat"? I can't imagine how that would be done, especially since she was not particularly interested in politics even though she lived during the Civil War time period.

Let's try this well-liked Dickinson poem:

~

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

Are you -- Nobody -- Too?

Then there's a pair of us!

Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

~

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!

How public -- like a Frog --

To tell one's name -- the livelong June --

To an admiring Bog!

~

OK--now what would I have to say about that poem that would cause conservative/trumpster students to accuse me of shoving liberal political ideas down their throats? I'm really interested in how this would be accomplished.

Kate

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cait1

I'd go one step further and say that there are informed citizens even
among people who don't get any kind of college degree. If they already
have the habit of questioning, exploring, stating the unpopular,
challenging poorly reasoned theories, wrestling with convoluted and
contradictory positions, they already qualify as "informed citizens."

Thank you for the compliment, Kate... I think. There's still a smell of elitism hanging about.

We can take that further, since you make such a distinction, and perhaps apply it to the voting population. Maybe 'uniformed citizens' shouldn't be able to vote since they are unquestioning, incurious, PC-talking, submissive and apathetic.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

You are free to express any idea you wish, Cait. Just don't confuse it with anything I would advocate.

Kate

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maddie260

Just so glad I insisted that my 3 children were taught by.....??????????. Therefore, they think for themselves with the necessary critical thinking skills. Sorry that some of you think that some of your children/grandchildren can't think for themselves.

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bry911

Despite what people think, engineering doesn't take a lot of brains to get through. Sure it takes some, but if you can handle Calc 1 in high school, something that 15% of all high school students do, there is a good chance you can make it through Calc 3. Anyone who makes it through 3-d calculus is smart enough to be an engineer, but that doesn't mean you can do it.

Engineering degrees are very good about sorting out people who don't really want to be engineers. My accounting degree took me maybe 5-10 hours of studying a week and my engineering degree took at least 25 and probably closer to 35 or 40. Just one problem requiring two pages to answer and having a dozen problems to do. Exams that were three blue books, one per question, and I worried about having enough time to finish.

So the last thing I would do is ever tell someone to consider an engineering degree because of the job market. It is an excellent choice for those people who really want to be engineers, it is a terrible choice for those people whose parents really want them to be engineers. When you push people to engineering degrees that they wouldn't have otherwise self-selected, you are setting them up for an expensive failure.

-----

I believe all degrees have some version of this. In the end, employers want to pay for the person behind the degree and the ideas that come from that person. Employers actually value brilliance and excellence more than they value the certification. There are certain degrees at every school who attract the more brilliant students and those students are going to see more pay naturally. However, that in no way means that a student in a degree that isn't always noted for attracting brilliance will not themselves be brilliant and will struggle to find a job just because mediocre students in that degree do. The reality is that employers want inspired people and inspired people gravitate towards whatever degree inspires them.

All of our students are excellent academically, they wouldn't be admitted otherwise and most are smart enough to be engineers if they wanted to. Most will find fields they want to be in, often they will find happiness in those fields or they will make impressive sums of money in pursuit of happiness.

-----

Part of the liberal versus conservative bias in education is a conservative self-inflicted wound. Conservatives seem obsessed with some monetary valuation of your life and career. Anyone who picks a degree that conservatives don't see as a path to monetary enrichment is ostracized by conservatives. I was going to say that conservatives yield 70% of college degrees to liberals without a fight, but that isn't really true. You push 70% of college degrees away as if even touching them might corrupt you. You complain because liberals corrupt your children and indoctrinate them into Women's Studies degrees, but it is you who decided that Women's Studies degrees were incompatible with your party, not them. They didn't leave Republicans, Republicans pushed them away. Are you telling me that the party that constantly brags about leading the push for freeing the slaves can't handle people looking at freedom and equality issues for women?

In the end, if you would just decide that a person's worth is more than the money they want to make, and stop ostracizing children who follow their passion to places you wouldn't have, you would find a lot more conservatives in college.

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Ann

"You push 70% of college degrees away as if even touching them might corrupt you."

Yes I do push about 70% of college degrees away (and that's probably darn close to the percentage I feel that way about). But certainly not because I think they'd corrupt, but because I think they'd needlessly waste a large sum of money and years of time on an utterly useless outcome. But, I firmly believe in someone else's freedom of choice to do as they so choose (with their own money).

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Ann

"Conservatives seem obsessed with some monetary valuation of your life and career."

It has nothing to do with obsession or monetary valuation, but is a simple and logical matter of personal responsibility, which happens to be an important value to many a person with strong conservative beliefs. Personal responsibilty is closely related to a love of and belief in the critical importance of freedom and personal choice. One (freedom) can't exist without the other (personal responsibility) IMO.

Bry, no reason here to go off onto the subject of how one manages their finances or how little one can comfortably live on or how someone who can't manage on a small income will also struggle to manage on a large income (a topic you veered off to earlier and I'm just remembering in my words, not yours). With me, you've run into someone I'd guess you might find as arguably good at and dedicated to budgeting as I would guess you might view yourself. Furthermore, if you think squandering income is a conservative trait, I think you are far off track. It's individuals who feel "entitled" who tend to overspend, IMO.

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bry911

es I do push about 70% of college degrees away (and that's probably darn close to the percentage I feel that way about). But certainly not because I think they'd corrupt, but because I think they'd needlessly waste a large sum of money and years of time on an utterly useless outcome.

This is a perfect example of why you actually push those degrees away. I have proven to you that these degrees that you push away are not a waste of a large sum of money. They are actually good investments, I have done so with facts and math with long explanations of where I got the data, why the data was actually a solid representative sample, provided lots of statistical evidence and support, yet you still refuse to accept anything which you makes you the least little bit uncomfortable.

That is what being a conservative is today. When the facts challenge your preconceived notion you simply deny the facts. I am never going to convince you that these college degrees that you don't want to be good investments actually are, because you believe that your belief is enough to overcome reality.

So I fully do not understand the liberal elitism moniker. Conservatives surround themselves in an impenetrable barrier of belief and deny facts, yet claim those who are willing to change their opinion when the facts don't correspond to them elitist. I truly don't get it, yeah I am an elitist for believing the earth is round because there are pictures proving it.

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Carro

Conservatives place value on self sufficiency, independence and the dignity that comes from hard work and earning what you've got.

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Carro

That is what being a conservative is today. When the facts challenge your preconceived notion you simply deny the facts.

Conservatives are far more based in science than Leftists who think secular religion can pass as facts.

I give you science which says there are 2 sexes and the progressive Left which says there are are indeterminate amount.

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bry911

Furthermore, if you think squandering income is a conservative trait, I think you are far off track. It's individuals who feel "entitled" who tend to overspend, IMO.

It is not OK to state something as a fact and then put IMO at the end of it. Can you offer some reasonable evidence that individuals who feel entitled tend to overspend? Because I am pretty sure you can't. You just want to believe that the poor are poor because they overspend. Let's control for income though and see which group of people overspend. I am willing to give odds that there is not a statistically significant correlation between spending and feeling entitled.

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Ann

Bry, I said nothing at all about the poor. Some people in all income categories live beyond their means.

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bry911

Bry, I said nothing at all about the poor. Some people in all income categories live beyond their means.

Again...It is not OK to state something as a fact and then put IMO at the end of it. Can you offer some reasonable evidence that individuals who feel entitled tend to overspend?

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Ann

Bry, as far as your opinion (and supposed proof) about the value of various or all degrees, disagreement with your opinion is extremely abundant. This quote does give a liberal arts degree credit for "critical thinking", just as many of the comments in this thread have.

"7. Liberal Arts

Although liberal arts may be the go-to punch bag for all those ‘dumbest degree’ barbs, this might be a little unfair; after all, it encourages the development of critical thinking and other various soft skills that a university education is supposed to arm you with.

The problem is that’s all it does. In a STEM-driven economy, fewer than 2% of employers are actively looking to recruit liberal arts graduates as a result of their lack of vocational skills or work experience. Unless you’re willing to rack up even more debt chasing additional qualifications in order to bridge the gap, you’re unlikely to find much return on your investment. After all, all college degrees develop cognitive skills – you might as well pursue one with job prospects at the end of it."

https://www.careeraddict.com/useless-degrees


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Joaniepoanie


Carro

Conservatives place value on self sufficiency, independence and the dignity that comes from hard work and earning what you've got.

*******

Gee, DH and I are liberal and self-sufficient, independent, worked hard all our lives and earned everything we have. All our liberal family and friends have done the same. A majority of the people where you live are liberal and they have done/are doing the same.


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Ann

"Again...It is not OK to state something as a fact and then put IMO at the end of it."

Twice now. Okay, I understand my sentence structure bothered you. Okay and oh well.

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Carro

Gee, DH and I are liberal and self-sufficient, independent, worked hard all our lives and earned everything we have. All our liberal family and friends have done the same. A majority of the people where you live are liberal and they have done/are doing the same.

"Gee", Joanie, why on earth are you OK with the government taking half of what you have and giving it to people who didn't work for it?

Seems like you're a capitalist to me.

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Carro


Ann

"Again...It is not OK to state something as a fact and then put IMO at the end of it."

Twice now. Okay, I understand my sentence structure bothered you. Okay and oh well.

Dear God, it matters not if the "IMO" goes before or after. That's all they've got.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"Conservatives place value on self sufficiency, independence and the dignity that comes from hard work and earning what you've got."

Carro, so do non-conservatives. What makes you think you have a monopoly on those values?

Your assertion is based on nothing but thin air and inflated self-image.

Kate

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catspat(aka)

Science is an area where Republicans, and conservatives in general, are significantly under-represented, whether in academia, government, or business, and an example of a field of studies that they seem to have pushed away. Scientific researchers generally make comfortable livings, not big bucks, so if making money is what's important to conservatives, that would be an explanation. Others cite the conservatives putting centrality of religion over all else, and scientific findings frequently are at odds with religious views. From the 2009 Pew Research study:


Slightly more than half of scientists (52%) describe their own political views as liberal, including 14% who describe themselves as very liberal. Among the general public, 20% describe themselves as liberal, with just 5% calling themselves very liberal.


Most scientists identify as Democrats (55%), while 32% identify as independents and just 6% say they are Republicans. When the leanings of independents are considered, fully 81% identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party, compared with 12% who either identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. Among the public, there are far fewer self-described Democrats (35%) and far more Republicans (23%). Overall, 52% of the public identifies as Democratic or leans Democratic, while 35% identifies as Republican or leans Republican.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Bry: "Again...It is not OK to state something as a fact and then put IMO at the end of it."

Ann: "Twice now. Okay, I understand my sentence structure bothered you. Okay and oh well."

Carro: "Dear God, it matters not if the "IMO" goes before or after. That's all they've got."

-------------

"Obtuse" is the word that comes to mind.

This is your idea of intelligent come-back? Why would you think it is somehow cool to act dumb?

Kate

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Anyone care to return to the topic of the OP?

". . . [I]f such decisions as affairs of state are to be left directly to citizens or their elected representatives, the need for citizens to be educated assumes profound importance. Education in this vision of democracy calls on the classical notion of an informed citizenry--individuals who are able to think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care.

[. . .]

The tenets of liberal education are the basis for an educated citizenry--in this or any other climate. This is true not because through liberal education we offer answers, but because we are so good at asking questions, at holding competing ideas, and wrestling with complex conditions like the situation in which we presently find our country."

----------------------------------

Further comments?

Kate

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Joaniepoanie

Carro


"Gee", Joanie, why on earth are you OK with the government taking half of what you have and giving it to people who didn't work for it?

********

Maybe because some us have compassion for people in need and we recognize gray areas. Why does the right live their lives in contempt and suspicion of everyone who doesn’t meet their standards and see everything and everyone as good/bad, black/white?

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bry911

"Twice now. Okay, I understand my sentence structure bothered you. Okay and oh well."

Every post you make just furthers my point. I don't have a problem with your sentence structure, the problem is that you can't turn an objective statement subjective by adding a disclaimer.

If one says 9 out of 10 cars sold in America today are red, in my opinion. That is a problem with their thinking not their sentence structure. You don't get to invent facts, even if you disclaim them.

You also don't get to refute facts and data with opinion pieces. Being right isn't about finding someone who agrees with you. You can find a million other people or even 300 million people who agree that a certain degree is useless and you will all be proven wrong when one person with good data and a calculator does the math.

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Ann

I simply can't imagine what it would be like to be a student in class! Bry, every single time you get heavily involved in a conversation on HT, that same thought bubble pops up. I certainly hope every single student agrees wholeheartedly with every point or keeps their mouth tightly closed. Now, that would be one heck of a class environment.

Bry, I simply don't agree with your "opinion" on many a topic and, furthermore, I don't accept that your "opinion" is fact, despite your tactic of claiming all your opinions are indeed fact. I understand you like to pick and choose statistics to support your views - which makes you no different from someone who might also pick and choose statistics to support a different or opposing view.

If, for example, you were to claim a bachelors degree in psychology would be just as beneficial to the career outcome of 100 randomly chosen graduates with a bachelors in psychology; as a bachelors degree in mechanical or electrical engineering would be to the career outcome of 100 randomly chosen graduates of those degrees - I'd say you are completely full of it! It would take some substantial time and effort for me to find statistics to demonstrate my point (with fair, logical and reasonable assumptions in the gathering of data - like roughly equivalent university quality, no additional degrees after the first, and so forth), so I'm not going to even begin this search. But again, if that were to be your assertion, I'd confidently opine/say/predict/guess you are full of it.

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chase_gw

Wonder how much money is wasted "directing " children to degrees that they either don't like , or can't handle, and end up dropping out or switching majors.

As far as I'm concerned too many kids are" forced" into programmes they don't like or don't have the apptitude for. I know that I fired more than one engineering grad , and also MBA grads , that simply could not cut it in the work environment.

Each year we had a programme to hire new grads. The quotas for engineering, vs MBA charged from year to year but the results were always the same......less than half ended up making the grade after 1 year......and this programme only accepted students with top grades.

A particular degree may get you a job but it sure as heck w

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bry911

"If, for example, you were to claim a bachelors degree in psychology would be just as beneficial to the career outcome of 100 randomly chosen graduates with a bachelors in psychology; as a bachelors degree in mechanical or electrical engineering would be to the career outcome of 100 randomly chosen graduates of those degrees - I'd say you are completely full of it!"

Again, this is a logical fallacy called relative privation. Just because engineering degrees get paid more than psychology degrees doesn't mean that a psychology degree is a bad investment.

Houses in California tend to appreciate faster than houses in West Virginia. However, that doesn't mean people in West Virginia would be better off buying houses in California than West Virginia.


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chase_gw

Darn the the edit function...last sentence should read

"A particular degree may get you a job but it sure as heck won't keep you one."

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koyse

Opinion: degrees in liberal arts, psychology, and communication are useless (according to careeraddict.com)

Fact: in 2017 unemployment rates of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders in communications and communication technologies, STEM fields, and psychology were 3.2%, 3.3%, and 3.5% respectively
Source: Digest of Education Statistics 2018

Opinion: degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering are more beneficial to “career outcome[s]” than a degree in psychology

Fact: in 2017 unemployment rates of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders in mechanical engineering, psychology, and electrical engineering were 3.8%, 3.5%, and 3.0% respectively
Source: Digest of Education Statistics 2018

Fact: Surveys show that liberal arts majors lead satisfied lives, and earn salaries that may not be as high as majors in the sciences, but are not too far behind.
Source: The Hechinger Report May 17, 2018 (as reported on usnews.com)

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maifleur01

Interesting report but there is one fallacy with it. Nothing in that small part of a report even mentions that the people were employed in their field of study. To find more than an entry level job in the sciences and math you must have an advanced degree often at a lower salary level. Many companies still only ask if you have a degree not caring what that degree is in.

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Ann

Hmmm Koyse, I clicked on your link which simply took me to US News and not to your source. So, still wanting to read the source, I googled "The Hechinger Report May 17, 2018" and this is the first thing that came up. I thought maybe it was the source, but clearly not, because if you read it, I don't think it's the least bit supportive of the point you appear to want to make.


https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2018-05-17/liberal-arts-programs-struggle-to-make-a-case-for-themselves


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Ann

Scrolling down my google search list, I noticed this and decided to read it. It's from 2015, but it sounds like someone who very much shares my opinion and has also mentioned one of the colleges Bry discussed earlier.


https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/the-evils-of-a-liberal-arts-education



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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Here is a report on student defaults by the NY Fed. Spoiler alert, liberal arts majors excel at defaulting. https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2017/11/who-is-more-likely-to-default-on-student-loans.html

Does that mean liberal arts degrees are worthless? Not in my book.

But I don't think majoring in the humanities is the best choice for students who are not self directed and able to plan their future well from convocation onward.

OTOH, you can't show up in college and suddenly decide you want to be an engineer. You need a base level of math and science to manage the engineering sequence.

We seem to graduate a lot of students, drop them into universities and expect a good outcome. Students need strong academic and life skills to make the most of their college experience. The actual major is not as important, I think. Of course, a girl with a mechanical or computer engineering degree is going to start out earning more than her classmate with a history major. But where you start is not where you finish. And so long as you are able to earn a living, the relative utility of the additional dollars is not as important as being satisfied with your work.
And, yes, there are liberal arts majors who out-earn engineers. For me those are the outliers who are at the top of their class in academics and life skills.

That's this philosophy major's two cents ;-)

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maifleur01

Wondering Ann and others what advantage does a degree in science and math give to someone that does not work in those fields?

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Ann

This came from an article talking about Stanford grads (in Liberal Arts) who did very well finding employment. I remember Bry discussed graduates from schools like this much earlier in the thread. But then, the article continued as quoted below. I'd say the moral of this story is if you can get accepted to Stanford, can afford Stanford, and prove to be the cream of the Liberal Arts crop - excellent! That liberal arts degree will likely pay off.

"The stories Stross tells about Stanford grads who ventured out into the world with only their liberal arts degrees are inspiring. The question is whether they will lead more employers to give liberal arts grads serious consideration, rather than filtering them out because they don’t look like employees who are ready to “hit the ground running.”

I suspect that it won’t, due to a problem that Stross dimly perceives—Stanford’s reputation for only admitting really sharp students. Stanford’s “brand” opens up doors that would be closed to graduates of less selective institutions. Many employers want and need workers who have the drive, mental acuteness, and communication skills that Stanford grads like Meredith and Stephen have, but they know that the graduates of many other schools aren’t comparable to them.

Liberal arts grads at many other colleges don’t have the innate ability of Stanford students to begin with, then they coast along to their degrees, taking a lot of undemanding courses. They never develop much of the “soft skills” that Stross extols. He looked at the cream of the liberal arts crop; most other students would be of doubtful value to an employer.

Although Stanford’s “brand” is still good, the “liberal arts” brand in general has been badly harmed by the erosion of academic standards and the diffusion of the curriculum. That is why so many students and their parents are drawn toward the “hard” majors. It requires a lot of discipline to earn a STEM degree. There are right and wrong answers. Professors don’t let students fake understanding of the material. Those degrees demonstrate knowledge and ambition.

College is largely about signaling your trainability. STEM and serious occupational degrees signal that the individual can meet challenges, while liberal arts degrees—sadly—only signal that the student has accumulated enough credits of some sort to graduate. They might have been tough credits that honed the student’s mind, but most business recruiters are rightly skeptical.

Yes, the liberal arts can be a practical education, but at too many schools there isn’t much education going on in their programs. Despite Stross’s fine book, liberal arts degrees will probably continue to be disfavored"


https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/11/liberal-arts-education-not-necessarily-waste-time/

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maifleur01

Zalco it does not follow that someone with an engineering degree will be paid more to start with. Those without the PE behind their names even though they are graduate engineers are merely entry level engineers. Depending on the type of engineer will depend if they can even find a job in their field. There were engineers working with my husband that made half of what he was making and his salary was not that high.

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haydayhayday

Just glancing at the median salaries, looks like Fine Arts is the loser and Computer Engineering is the Winner.

English Majors and Psychology Majors are less than average (median).

Hay

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Ann

Interesting Zalco. I read Zalco's link and grabbed this for those who don't open and read the link.

"In analysis not reported here, we find that Arts majors have the highest overall default rates, while STEM majors default at the lowest rates. Both Business and Vocational majors default at higher rates than STEM majors, but at rates closer in magnitude to STEM majors than to Arts majors."

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haydayhayday

Electrical and Mechanical Engineers earn way more than Psychology or English Majors.


Hay

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bry911

Electrical and Mechanical Engineers earn way more than Psychology or English Majors.

Yes, and cardiologists earn more than plumbers...

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haydayhayday

Accountants earn less than all but one Engineering Degree.

All but one, Economics, of the so-called "Social Sciences" earn less than any Engineering degree.

Hay

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bry911

Just to be clear 25 -29 year old Psychology or English majors still make 31% and 25% (respectively) more than 25-34 year olds who didn't attend college (Please note that this stat includes the higher average of an additional 5 years of employment, but that is all the IES report has).

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Ann

Kind of a fair comparison, I'd say. Electrical Engineer/Psychology Major vs Cardiologist/Plumber. Now, when we consider the cost to achieve each of these 4, I think we have a standout loser in the group.

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bry911

Accountants earn less than all but one Engineering Degree.

I would feel slighted by that, but tell me which engineering degree earns the most money?

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bry911

Of course, engineering degrees make more money, No one has said or implied otherwise, but that doesn't mean that other degrees are a waste. Would the world be a better place if all college students attempted engineering degrees and then either got that degree or dropped out?

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Maifleur, exceptions abound. U of Michigan says engineering majors earn an average salary of 66k. English majors, according to The National Association of Colleges and Employers, English majors get 36k out of the gate. Internships at top SV firms get engineering students 6k per month, plus great perks.

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Ann

I'm kind of surprised Mechanical Engineers in their 20s make a tad more than 20 something Electrical Engineers. After having two of my children obtain degrees in Mechanical Engineering and hearing all the stories, Electrical Engineering students were kind of viewed as the cream of the crop of Engineering students and the Mechanical Engineering students were kind of viewed as the slackers, lol:)

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haydayhayday

I missed seeing those at the very bottom.


The lowest paid is Social Workers and Theology and then it's Fine Arts.


Hay

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Ann

Then, 10-15-20 years later, the career path of and demand for a successful engineer is an impressive thing to witness, especially in this economy!

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whynottryit

The link above is for 2011. This link is for what appears to be the most current -- 2017.


https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_505.10.asp?current=yes

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koyse

Ann, you miss my point. The Fox Business article is an opinion piece that provides no factual support for its assertions about the “evils” of a liberal arts education other than graduates of elite liberal arts schools earn less after 10 years than graduates of highly selective research institutions. The Hechinger Report argues that a liberal arts education is of value, based on data showing that:
“Nearly nine out of 10 people with degrees in humanities fields are happy with their jobs, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences pronounced in February, for example; those who never went further than bachelor's degrees earn $52,000, which is lower than the median for all college graduates ($60,000) but equal to the salaries of life-sciences grads and more than those with degrees in education.”
and
“Employers continue to plead for college graduates to learn such things as communication and problem-solving skills that can come from studying the liberal arts. Surveys show that liberal arts majors lead satisfied lives, and earn salaries that may not be as high as majors in the sciences, but are not too far behind.”
The challenge for liberal arts colleges is, according to the Hechinger Report, correcting the misperception that exists about the value of a liberal arts education.

You can refer to all the opinion pieces you can find that agree with your opinion, but you’re still left with only the fact that, in general, salaries for engineers are higher than the salaries for liberal arts graduates within a decade or so of obtaining a degree. That does not support your very broad assertion that career outcomes are far better for engineers than for those with degrees in liberal arts.

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haydayhayday

Whynottryit:

The link above is for 2011. This link is for what appears to be the most current -- 2017.

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_505.10.asp?current=yes

I was just in the process of seeing if I could find an updated version. You beat me to it.

It didn't seem to change much of any consequence on a quick scan.

I do notice that, at the bottom, they have now added new information:

STEM Versus Non-Stem

STEM earns $60,490. Non-Stem earns $46,430.

"2 STEM fields include biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, mathematics and statistics, and physical sciences and science technologies."

Hay

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haydayhayday

If you're looking to see which does better in life, someone who goes to college versus someone who doesn't go to college, I'm not so sure that it makes sense to compare average college degree to average not-college work. (Or even lowest paid college degree to not-college work.)

The average not-college person likely could never have gotten into college to begin with. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it's kind of useless to try including a person with a 70 IQ as a comparison to a computer engineer (or any other college degree) when you want to make a point about the value of going to college.

Hay

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whynottryit

The average not-college person likely could never have gotten into college to begin with. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it's kind of useless to try using a person with a 70 IQ as a comparison to a computer engineer (or any other college degree) when you want to make a point about the value of going to college.

----------

The "average" person has an IQ of ~100, college or not. Someone with an IQ of 70 is considered borderline impaired.

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haydayhayday

whynottryit:

" The "average" person has an IQ of ~100, college or not. Someone with an IQ of 70 is considered borderline impaired ".

I don't see how that affects anything I'm saying. Two sentences that I basically agree with but don't really add anything, positive or negative, to my point.

Neither here nor there.

The person with an IQ of 70 will make considerably less than a typical college grad whether he goes to college or not. Has very little to do with his attending college or not.

The typical college student, I'd bet, has an IQ greater than 100. The typical non-college worker has an IQ less than 100, I'd bet. If you're going to be comparing whether there's an advantage to going to college or not, you'd need to account for that.


Hay

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haydayhayday

Bry:


" Just to be clear 25 -29 year old Psychology or English majors still make 31% and 25% (respectively) more than 25-34 year olds who didn't attend college "


Hay

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

To return to the OP--

Premise of the OP: What is needed for our constitutional democracy (or representative republic, if you will) to function well?

Proposed Response: Since, in a democracy, "affairs of state are left directly to citizens or their elected representatives," the need for a generally educated or "informed citizenry"--such as liberal arts students (in the arts and sciences) and others who are trained to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care"-- assumes greater importance than it would under other forms of government.

You will note that the focus of that inquiry is the functioning of "our democracy," not jobs, salaries, or returns on (educational) investments, although we have had some very informative posts on those tangential concerns also.

In light of some of the previous discussion, I have somewhat rephrased and added to the thesis statement of the OP in hopes of clarifying some of the issues raised in the OP.

Anything more to say?

Kate



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Ann

Koyse, would you please provide a link to that specific report rather than just US News. Thanks.

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Ann

Well, for far less educational expense, an electrician or plumber can certainly have a pretty successful career. It looks like the median salary would be in the 50-60,000 range, but I would imagine we might see a pretty big gap in the career path over a decade or two vs a well paid college graduate who chose an in demand field of study. I would guess a plumber or electrician might have a cap that would be difficult to pass.

In all my reading and all the links looked at as a result of this discussion, I've noticed several times that nursing appears to be a quite good career choice at present. Nursing certainly takes a certain type of individual and I'm glad to see it rating as it does as a career - as haven't most of us run across nurses who were just spectacular at their job and where we've felt such gratitude for having been lucky enough to have that particular nurse by your side or by your loved one's (and the family's) side?

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Ann

Can't edit, but I meant a plumber or electrician might have a salary ceiling that would be difficult for them to exceed. My original wording didn't sound right.

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haydayhayday

Kate:

"Premise of the OP: What is needed for our constitutional democracy (or representative republic, if you will) to function well?

Proposed Response: Since, in a democracy, "affairs of state are left directly to citizens or their elected representatives," the need for a generally educated or "informed citizenry"--such as liberal arts students (in the arts and sciences) and others who are trained to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care"-- assumes greater importance than it would under other forms of government."

Hay:

I basically agree that a "liberal arts" education is a good thing.

But. We've got a big collection of college educated government officials in Washington, DC and I don't know that I would call what they come up with "enlightened".

I also don't think for one second that you're going to be able to take most people and train them to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care".

You can't fix stupid.

I'm always have in the back of mind a friend who kept telling me that you'd have better luck winning the lottery if you bought tickets in New York? Why? "Because there are more winners in New York." Try as I may, I couldn't convince her otherwise. Finally she said, "If you're so smart, why can't you explain it to me"? She's very educated and good in her chosen work.

You and a lot of others around here have been trying to "educate" the rest of us for just about forever to the best way to deal with our society. How's it going?

Hay

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haydayhayday

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_505.10.asp?current=yes

Guess which other group ranks at the very bottom in terms of earnings for college grads:

Educators.


Hay




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Ann

Yeah, that's true (educators). Also, to have a good chance at getting a job, even a grade school teacher needs a masters degree. So, a lot of student loans can pile up in the process.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I wonder how earnings coming out of college relate to rank of students going in? Are pre-med majors stronger students than history majors or education majors? How does that discrepancy affect outcomes?

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haydayhayday

Berfnie Sanders wasted 4 or 5 years of liberal arts education at the University of Chicago.

Mostly hunched over in the pits of the Library reading Marx and Freud.

Hay

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haydayhayday

Elizabeth Warren graduated with a BS in speech pathology and audiology.

Then a law degree.


Now she's a con artist trying to pass herself off as a statistician.(Bankruptcies and Medical Bills study)


Hay

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

As educators know only too well, hay. But try and convince others that educators should be paid more. No go! I think there is a firm belief out there in some quarters that teachers are somehow akin to charity-workers.

Back to the OP: You said--

'I also don't think for one second that you're going to be able to take most people and train them to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care". '

----------


All the more reason why we need to value and pay those workers with liberal educations (students of the arts and sciences) more. Our democracy continues to need more "informed citizens" than we presently have available.

Kate

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haydayhayday

Kate:

"All the more reason why we need to value and pay those workers with liberal educations (students of the arts and sciences) more. Our democracy continues to need of more "informed citizens" than we presently have available."

I'm not following that.

I'm supposed to somehow find a way to pay someone who has a Fine Arts degree more money? For the sake of our democracy?

I agree that education is good. To a point.

Hay

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Ann

Zalco, that's an interesting question. I also wonder if one (for example) looked at a large public high school - so not necessarily the kids whose parents could afford Stanford and not kids who have the advantage of the dedicated college placement departments at small, expensive private high schools - I'd actually be curious to know what degree choices the top 5% of students in a situation like that are making. Those highly motivated and intelligent students, from public schools, with middle class or poor parents (thus at least some student loans might come into play in their consideration). I'm guessing a lot of these kids are our high achieving STEM students.

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Ann

Kate, I think it's a matter of supply and demand.

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mudhouse

Proposed Response: Since, in a democracy, "affairs of state are left
directly to citizens or their elected representatives," the need for a
generally educated or "informed citizenry"--such as liberal arts
students (in the arts and sciences) and others who are trained to
"think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care"--
assumes greater importance than it would under other forms of
government.

Kate, maybe too obvious a question, but do you think that people who don't have a liberal arts degree are less likely to be able to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care"?

Are people with (for example) engineering degrees less likely to be able to do so successfully?

And are people who have no college whatsoever less likely to be able to do so successfully? For example, someone who works in construction?

(I'm not being argumentative, only wondering if that belief is behind the intent of the OP, and looking for more clarity.)

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bry911

The average not-college person likely could never have gotten into college to begin with. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it's kind of useless to try including a person with a 70 IQ as a comparison to a computer engineer (or any other college degree) when you want to make a point about the value of going to college.

That confirmation bias also exists between Engineering and English degrees though. News flash: Engineering degrees on average are among the most capable and prepared students entering college. So while it is absolutely fair to point out that the wages of people without college degrees includes people who would not be successful in college, it is also fair to point out that the wages of people with liberal arts degrees includes people who would not be successful in Engineering programs.

At least I believe it is fair, as I already pointed that out.

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bry911

Now, when we consider the cost to achieve each of these 4, I think we have a standout loser in the group.

This is the problem with your thinking. You are forcing a binary position that doesn't exist in reality.

In 2018 Jeff Bezos made approximately $39.2 billion. Aside from half a dozen other people everyone else is a standout loser. That doesn't mean you should quit your job and give up. So someone else on the planet somewhere made more money than you did, so an engineer out there makes a better living than you do. That doesn't mean your life is bad and your choices are worthless.

You are ranking things based on the assumption that everyone who doesn't make the best return on investment is somehow losing and that is not true.

---------

I have two sons in college right now. I have one son who is double majoring in two technical fields, one engineering and one closely related field (that many schools include in engineering). My other son is a double major in two of the most liberal arts degrees you can find.

My oldest son goes to a great engineering school in the states and will graduate with great career opportunities. My youngest is studying in England and will likely graduate with less assurance in his career. Both are equally intelligent in different ways, but both had college chemistry, college physics and calc 3, so both are capable of getting engineering degrees.

I pay for college and both kids have a monthly allowance set up by my father (against my better judgment). My oldest son (the engineer) will graduate with no significant savings. My youngest son (the liberal arts major) will most likely graduate with more than $80,000 and probably close to $100,000 in savings. Thus far he has never touched his allowance instead living on what he earns himself, even though he is faced with an unfavorable exchange rate. Which kid do you think I am more worried about? I am not telling you anything I wouldn't tell them, btw.

-----------

Money is fungible, thus spending less is exactly equal to making more. I believe that one of the powers of a broad, well-rounded education is finding fulfillment in non-material ways. There are a lot of unhappy people who make a lot of money, so we know that money doesn't equal happiness.

People often imagine their life with more money and believe they would be better off. However, there is no evidence that this is true. We have a mountain of evidence that indicates that money is not a major source of happiness once necessities are met. The problem is that people imagine their life with more inputs and don't adjust the outputs or the effort. Odds are, if you are bad with $40,000 per year, you are going to be just as bad with $60,000 per year.

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haydayhayday

Bry:

"People often imagine their life with more money and believe they would be better off. However, there is no evidence that this is true."

Just incredible. All that education and that's what you come up with?

How about we do a little experiment and you give me all your money.

I want to make you a happier person!

And with that, I'm off to work while the sun shines. Laughing all the way. I'm a happy man now.

Hay

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bry911

We have gotten on the topic of degrees versus the topic of a liberal education. We always do, because some posters can't seem to separate the two issues and must voice their judgment, all while proclaiming it is their money and they can do what they want with it...

I got a good liberal education and I had a double major in Chemical Engineering and Accounting. If you had to pick the two most non-liberal departments, I was in both of them. A good liberal education isn't about walking out the door with a liberal arts degree, it is, however, about walking out the door with a certain respect for those degrees.

The two classes that I feel I owe so much to are the History of Germany and a politics class focused on international relations. Sure my engineering and accounting classes got me a job, but those classes helped me see the world differently. Those are the classes that taught me to question my assumptions, that have sent me digging for data so I can confirm what I thought, that have forced me to change my thinking when the data didn't support it. They are also the classes I feel that have been most instrumental to my success, sure my two degree fields opened doors that wouldn't have been available to me otherwise, but those classes were a light that helped me find my path once inside those doors.

Too many young people today see classes without a clear path to monetary earnings as a waste of time. I believe they are lesser for it, I know I would have been. I understand that you don't believe me, and that is your choice, but I assure you that it is truly what I believe.

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koyse

Ann, as explained at the end of the online article you linked to, The Hechinger Report is a non-profit, independent news organization. I relied on the article in your link in my response. The point of the article is that even though some liberal arts programs are are being eliminated and some liberal arts colleges are closing, “a few liberal arts colleges are taking forceful steps to bolster their positions, usually by providing data that shows their graduates get good jobs.” My point is that data exists from which to form a justifiable conclusion about the worth of a liberal arts education rather than just relying on unsupported and biased opinions, anecdotes, imaginings, or suspicions.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"Kate, maybe too obvious a question, but do you think that people who don't have a liberal arts degree are less likely to be able to "think, reason, analyze, and reflect with discrimination and care"?"

I already answered part of your question much earlier in this thread when I said that there are non-college people who have developed the habit of thinking, reasoning, analyzing, etc. I added that "most students, however, need to hone, sharpen, and refine those skills, and that is what a liberal education is particularly designed to develop and promote."

Quite frankly, there are times when I look over a situation or scene and can hardly believe the amount and degree of "mushy" thinking that goes on in our country sometimes. I have to agree with Hay, in that respect.

It is because the liberal education is not focused primarily on job skills and professional training that it can perform more of the abstract function of introducing students to a wider range of knowledge, contexts, ways of thinking, and practices found in multiple disciplines. Students getting a liberal education must take several years of arts, sciences, and humanities courses, in addition to several years focusing more on their specific major.

No one is suggesting either that analytic skills and critical thinking skills, for instance, aren't developed in more technical and professional studies--just that those studies typically have less "room" for broad-based explorations in other fields and therefore the kinds of advantages that can bring. And certainly, a liberal arts major who squeezes by with a very low C- average will not be an impressive example of what a liberal education can offer. But then a very low C- average in technical or professional majors isn't going to impress many people either. There are degrees of development and accomplishment in all fields.

I guess that the "intent" behind the OP is to ask for a re-valuation of the purposes and goals of higher education, especially the role of liberal education in the university. Or think of it as countering the belief found so often in modern thinking that higher education should be devoted primarily to training workers rather than educating people--which means that liberal education should be drastically reduced or eliminated unless it contributes in an obvious and significant way to the training of the worker.

For example, when my university underwent a major revision of the overall curriculum, the technology department lobbied long and loudly to have all or most requirements outside the school of technology reduced or eliminated. That way they could spend all 4 years on technology subjects, and not be distracted by general education requirements (courses in history, social sciences, biology, etc.--the liberal arts, in other words). They did concede that the English Department course Technical Writing was a valid (that is, "practical") exception for their students, but most of us wouldn't include that as a course in the liberal arts per se. Fortunately, the rest of the university insisted that technology students must also have a foundation in the liberal arts (though with slightly reduced requirements) among other general education requirements--taken mostly during their first two years of college studies.

Kate

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whynottryit

Study Shows Education Boosts IQ

By Janice Wood
Associate News Editor

Last updated: 8 Aug 2018

~ 2 MIN READ

How much does education affect intelligence?

A new study has found that a year of schooling improves IQ scores by 1 to 5 points.

“Our analyses provide the strongest evidence yet that education raises intelligence test scores,” said psychological scientist Dr. Stuart J. Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh. “We looked at 42 datasets using several different research designs and found that, overall, adding an extra year of schooling in this way improved people’s IQ scores by between 1 and 5 points.”

Research has long shown that the number of years of education and intelligence are correlated, but it has been unclear whether this is because education boosts intelligence or because individuals who start off with higher IQ scores are likely to stay in school for longer.

Many individual studies on this question have now been published, and Ritchie and coauthor Dr. Elliot Tucker-Drob of the University of Texas at Austin saw an opportunity to clarify the nature of the schooling-IQ relationship.

“We felt the time was right to do a meta-analysis, combining all the previous studies to come up with an overall result for how much education boosts intelligence,” Ritchie said.

The researchers looked at three particular types of quasi-experimental studies from a variety of sources, including published articles, books, preprint articles, working papers, dissertations and theses.

The first type of study includes data collected from individuals over time, including intelligence measurements obtained before and after individuals complete their education. This allows researchers to adjust for participants’ prior intelligence level when examining the association between years of school and later intelligence, the researchers explained.

The second type of study takes advantage of “natural experiments” in the form of policy changes that result in individuals staying in school for different lengths of time. In one study, researchers examined data from the 1960s when Norway gradually enacted a new policy that increased the basic education requirement by two years, testing whether IQ scores were higher for students who’d been given more compulsory schooling.

In the third study type, researchers use school-admission age cutoffs to compare children who are similar in age, but who have different levels of schooling due to their specific birth dates.

To be included in the meta-analysis, each data set had to provide cognitive scores obtained from objective measurement with participants who were 6 or older and cognitively healthy. This yielded 42 data sets from 28 studies collected from a total of 615,812 individuals, according to the researchers.

In each of the three types of studies, the researchers found that an additional year of education was associated with an increase in IQ that ranged from 1.197 IQ points to 5.229 IQ points.

In combination, the studies indicated that an additional year of education correlated with an average increase of 3.394 IQ points.

“The most surprising thing was how long-lasting the effects seemed to be, appearing even for people who completed intelligence tests in their 70s and 80s,” Ritchie says. “Something about that educational boost seemed to be beneficial right across the lifespan.”

The researchers note that each type of study has strengths and weaknesses, and the findings raise several new questions that future research will have to address. For example, does an additional year of school just make students better at taking tests or does it produce an underlying neurobiological change? What are the specific parts of the educational experience that are most responsible for the change? And what are the limits of education’s effect?

“A crucial next step will be to uncover the mechanisms of these educational effects on intelligence in order to inform educational policy and practice,” they conclude in the study, which was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/06/24/study-shows-education-boosts-iq/136418.html

Bottomline, education increases IQ. Absent actual mental defects, education produces a more informed citizenry, regardless of career path.

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Joaniepoanie

haydayhayday

Elizabeth Warren graduated with a BS in speech pathology and audiology.

Then a law degree.


Now she's a con artist trying to pass herself off as a statistician.(Bankruptcies and Medical Bills study)

*******

Daddy paid for Trump’s degree and now he’s a con artist trying to pass himself off as president.

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cait1

introducing students to a wider range of knowledge, contexts, ways of thinking

But do those courses actually do that or are they agenda driven?

Courses on finances should be taught in HS because that's when kids start to get jobs so they should know how to manage their money and start thinking about saving for their pensions.

But for courses such as Social Psychology, or the infamous Women Studies, which way do they lean and isn't that leaning just indoctrination rather than education?

'Life' will always be one's best teacher and 'liberal' education far from prepares children, and yes, I consider college kids kids, to live life... unless you call their experiences during Spring break 'living' life. Or ditching classes to rally against a climate that's always changing.


Th kids in the above video are clueless. It's rather embarrassing to watch.

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haydayhayday

joaniepoanie:

"Daddy paid for Trump’s degree and now he’s a con artist trying to pass himself off as president."


one-trick po·ny

noun

  1. a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise.


Hay

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cait1

Why didn't the video post? I saw it there when I hit submit... I'll try again...





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Kathy

Thankful liberal education produced the Greta Thunberg of her generation. Someone whose passion for global change is determined and intelligent.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Any one can cherry pick through the interviews and throw the less impressive ones together in a video intended as propaganda--to disparage the "other side," in other words.

Kate

ETA: A good liberal education might have saved us from silly video postings.


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Joaniepoanie

haydayhayday

joaniepoanie:

"Daddy paid for Trump’s degree and now he’s a con artist trying to pass himself off as president."


one-trick po·ny

noun

a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise.

*********

Hay.......yes, Trump is a one-trick pony——a con artist.

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whynottryit


https://deadstate.org/mn-public-school-board-chairwoman-evolution-was-discovered-in-the-1800s-so-why-still-teach-it/?f

BRAINERD, MINNESOTA — During a board meeting that included a presentation on the biology curriculum to be taught at a local high school, the chairwoman of the Brainerd school board questioned the validity of teaching evolution, suggesting that it’s an outdated theory that’s incompatible with Christian beliefs.

"You know, Darwin’s theory was done in the mid-1800s and it’s never been proven,” she said. “So I’m wondering why we’re still teaching it.”

When district staff who gave the presentation pointed out to Kern that Darwin’s theory of evolution has only gotten stronger as time has gone on, she wondered about those whose religious beliefs reject evolution. “How do you tell them?” Kern asked.

“This is science, and science doesn’t deal with a belief system,” Brainerd science teacher Craig Rezac shot back. “We deal with facts.”

“It doesn’t have to be a dilemma or a concern with someone to choose between evolution or Christianity,” he added. “You can actually embrace both.”

After the exchange made local news, Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson issued a statement saying that Kern’s comments “reflect her personal views and do not reflect the views of the Board of Education as a whole or the Brainerd Public School District.”

“The District’s approved science curriculum aligns with the MN State Standards,” the statement read, adding that “the Board of Education unanimously approved the Science and Biology curriculum at Monday’s meeting.”

Minnesota courts have upheld the teaching of evolution. In 2001, the state Court of Appeals upheld the removal of a Faribault biology teacher, Rod LeVake, who argued that teaching evolution violated his Christian beliefs. He was reassigned to teach science in a lower grade, where evolution wasn’t part of the curriculum.

Speaking to the Tribune, University of Minnesota biology professor Randy Moore says that disputes about evolution have been going on in schools “for 100 years,” adding that some teachers either downplay evolution or don’t teach it at all because they’re afraid for “religious or local political reasons.”

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Ann

Koyse, if you pulled your data from the article I later linked, IMO your comment was very far from full, complete, and I think fair context. That's exactly why I often like to look at complete articles.

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mudhouse

Cait: But do those courses actually do that or are they agenda driven?

Yup. That topic is the elephant in the room when we try to discuss the benefits of a liberal education.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I have spent most of my adult life in academia, and I have never seen a liberal arts course that was "agenda driven." I'm not even sure what "agenda driven" means, as conservatives use the term. Every professor I've met was there to teach, not to preach or propagandize.

The liberal arts courses most students would be taking are things like "Introduction to Sociology" --hardly some course bent on forcing political propaganda on helpless students--if that is what you mean by that term. Besides, most of the general education (liberal arts) courses are not even required, so if you thought a standard course in "Introduction to Sociology" was going to politically corrupt you somehow, just don't take it.

I suppose a standard course like American History (also an "introductory" course) could be presented in a way that might disturb some far right wingers--it probably covers the role slavery played during the Civil War era and mentions that the South lost--but if you already think you know more about that era than your professors do, then go take Western Civilization ("Introductory" also) instead.

If your general education requirements allow you some latitude in what kinds of liberal arts courses you can take, and some department offers some special topics courses such as "Conservative Politics" or "The Liberal Tradition," and you want to study those topics from those more specialized angles of vision, then sign up for them. They would be part of the liberal arts curriculum. Or if your college doesn't allow such courses as an option under General Education requirements, you still have "free electives"--take that course as a free elective.

There are so many choices available in college that I can't understand how or why some people feel trapped or boxed in and forced to study different viewpoints.

You know what else you can do? Go to a library and check out books and study on your own. I went to a somewhat conservative undergraduate college--the psychology professor there announced that he thought Freud was "sinful" and therefore he wouldn't even mention Freud again in our classroom. That summer I checked out a book by Freud--I still remember the title, Interpretation of Dreams--and spent the summer studying it and a couple other books on my own on my own. I probably learned more about Freud that way than if I'd had a teacher who spent 15-20 minutes lecturing on Freud after we read two paragraphs about him in our textbooks. (It was an "Introduction" to Psychology course.)

I just don't buy it that liberal arts courses (academic definition) are actually political propaganda.

As for Women's Studies, no one is required to take those courses except for students working towards a certificate or degree in that area--so don't take those courses if you don't like the premises of the courses. Perhaps to you, it is propaganda or politicized to study how American women gained the vote or statistics on how much and what kinds of violence are typically directed at women and why, but for other women, such information has been a "life-saver," according to the women affected. But don't take it if you think it is nothing but propaganda. No one will force you to take it.

Kate


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chase_gw

Slightly off topic...what is the difference between University and College in the States?

Here "colleges " offers non degree programmes. They offer offer certificate programmes in a multitude of areas from dental hygiene to animation.

Universities offer undergrad and post grad degrees.

I should note some colleges are now partnering with universities to offer degrees and certificates simultaneously...which I think is brilliant.

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Delilah66

Good question, Chase!

In the United States, the two terms are used interchangeably, and both mean a school at the postsecondary level. Otherwise, the term university usually means a large institution that offers graduate and doctorate programs while college means undergraduate degrees or associate degrees.

https://www.collegerank.net/difference-college-university/

Also, most(?) universities will dub their undergraduate degree programs as "colleges", e.g., College of Engineering, College of Arts, Sciences, and Language."

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whynottryit

Exactly, Kate. Education should be well-rounded, offering varying viewpoints, and creating an environment in which to hone one's own beliefs and ideals. Even in my Southern Baptist upbringing, I was encouraged to learn about the commonalities and differences of many other world religions, including Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism. I met some Mormon kids at a county fair and we exchanged beliefs and even Bibles. Exposing ourselves to different concepts and questioning those concepts keep us from falling for whatever comes our way. To isolate ourselves and never question the veracity of what we are told creates a cult mentality. Over the years, I have maintained my core beliefs in all aspects of my life while understanding that the methods of practicing those beliefs evolve.

I also realized that labels are not good indicators of alignment for me. Though congregations or political parties may change, their labels often remain the same. The Southern Baptist church of my childhood no longer feels like a place I belong. The Republican party shifted too far right for my moderate senses. I have had to do a lot of soul searching on both fronts.

All that to say, a robust education offers far more options in our everyday lives than a single focus training program ever could.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Colleges are usually 4 year institutions offering bachelor degrees (and sometimes 2 year associate degrees) primarily in the liberal arts. They might offer a few stray graduate-credit courses here or there, but no post-graduate degrees.

Universities are made up of a number of "schools"--the School of Arts and Science, the School of Education, or of Business, or of Technology, or of Nursing, or Engineering or Fine Arts, etc. As far as I know, each school offers a 4 year bachelor's degree, and the Bachelor degree from a smaller college would be identical to the one offered in a "school" at a university. The main difference at the undergraduate level is that the university student has more areas from which to select his/her major.

Universities also offer post-graduate degrees, sometimes in a few limited areas, but other times in many areas. At some universities, only a few master's degrees are available and no PhD's; larger universities offer more PhD degrees.

Your "colleges," Chase, sound more like our "Community Colleges"--2 year programs that lead to an associate degree. That degree would be similar to the two year associate or certificate programs one can take in some areas at 4 year colleges or universities. Some Community College students carefully plan their two year degree to cover most of the basic courses they would need at a 4 year college or university. That way they can transfer all or most of those credits over to the college or university (it costs them a lot less that way) and then they finish the last two years of their studies at the college or university.

Do I have you totally confused now, Chase? : )

Kate

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chase_gw

Thanks Delilah.......what do you call schools that offer certificate programs in things like dental hygiene, animation, lab technicians etc.......that which we call colleges

BTW we too call categories within a University " colleges "


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Joaniepoanie

“There are so many choices available in college that I can't understand how or why some people feel trapped or boxed in and forced to study different viewpoints.”

**********

This comment is addressed to the right——Isn’t part of being educated learning different viewpoints? You wanna live in a little conservative bubble than by all means attend a conservative college where you’ll just hear your own views echoed for four years.

—————

“I just don't buy it that liberal arts courses (academic definition) are actually political propaganda.”

********

I would say the only propaganda going on is the by the right with its unjustified denigration of higher education.


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chase_gw

Thanks Kate..I think I get it !!!!

So am I correct in saying only Universities, but not all universities, offer Masters and Doctorates......that is different than here . To my knowledge Masters are offered at all universities although not all universities offer doctorates in all fields.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm not sure what the precise answer is, chase. My state "manages" educational resources so that (they claim) there will be no unnecessary duplication at our state colleges and universities. I really don't know the long history of higher education in this state, but it seems to have produced at least several state universities that are "allowed" to have only a few advanced degrees in a limited number of areas that won't overlap with what another state university down the pike offers. I'm not sure if that practice applies to all our state universities, but it does to some.

Kate

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koyse

Ann, my point is that you appear to be confusing what is fact and what is opinion. The Hechinger Report article relies on facts, some of which were derived from surveys of liberal arts majors. You are correct that I did not copy and post the article in its entirety. I later summarized the gist of the article, which is that while some liberal arts colleges are closing or getting rid of certain programs, others are engaged in marketing the value of a liberal arts education. You have not indicated how my understanding of the article is incorrect or even what you think the point of the article is. Perhaps the “same thought bubble pops up” in your head because you reject as opinion facts that don’t fit with your world view and you accept as fact opinions that reinforce your preconceived beliefs. So be it.

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Ziemia(6a)

Had a long post and lost it.

Sharing a research review article:

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/02/27/research-confirms-professors-lean-left-questions-assumptions-about-what-means

Professors and Politics: What the Research Says

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Ziemia(6a)

Does how one define "conservative" in this context?

Some self-reported conservatives here have reservations about fully accepting homosexuals. Some find trans women unsettling.

Many universities work to be inclusive. So those conservative views could create an unacceptable degree of tension.

Some conservatives say there's a role for opinion in research science.


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I meant to post the following excerpts from Ziemia's post yesterday, but got called away. I'll add them now since they feed directly into some sub-issues this thread addressed, such as whether college courses are biased because their professors are liberal.

It also addresses why this issue suddenly become a big topic. Seems our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss has been making comments about it, so the Trumpsters are running with her tidbits. It doesn't seem to bother them that Betsy is not very "educated" and doesn't know what she is talking about!

--------------------------

"Professors and Politics: What the Research Says

Studies say professors lean left but challenge idea that this results in indoctrination or harms conservatives.


When Betsy DeVos on Thursday accused liberal faculty members of trying to force their views on students, the new education secretary infuriated many professors -- and won praise from some conservatives. Most faculty members who weighed in on social media denied the indoctrination and unfairness charges. While not disputing her assertion that they are more likely than others to be liberal, they said it was unfair to say that this meant they were indoctrinating anyone. . . .

[. . . ]

Yes, professors lean left (although with some caveats). But much of the research says conservative students and faculty members are not only surviving but thriving in academe -- free of indoctrination if not the periodic frustrations. . . .

[. . .]

Does the Academy Shut Out Conservatives?
[. . .]

Woessner and Kelly-Woessner based their findings on analysis they did from national surveys of freshmen and seniors conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. They found that in both choices of majors and in personal values, conservatives seem to be taking themselves off the track for academic careers well before graduate school. . . .

For starters, the paper finds that conservatives are much more likely to pick majors in professional fields -- areas that tend to put students on the fast track for an M.B.A. (or for a job) more than a Ph.D. . . .

Further, the study finds that . . . students . . . who are liberal are much more likely to consider a Ph.D. . . .


Does Political Imbalance Make Life Difficult for Conservative Students?

And what of students who do complain of political bias? A study published last year, in the journal Teaching in Higher Education, surveyed undergraduates at two unnamed institutions -- one in the United States and one in Australia . . . . The study asked undergraduates a series of questions about their perceptions of bias, and also of other qualities. The study found that students with certain characteristics -- a sense of entitlement and an orientation to focus on grades -- are much more likely than other students to perceive their instructors as being biased.


Can Professors on the Right Succeed?

[. . .]

A study published by the Social Science Research Network and written by Abrams, the Sarah Lawrence/Hoover institution scholar, suggests that conservative scholars are happy in academe. The study included this question to a national sample of faculty members: “If you were to begin your career again, would you still want to be a college professor?”

The results showed that most professors answered in the affirmative. But while 56 percent of liberal professors did so, 66 percent of conservative professors did so. . . . "

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/02/27/research-confirms-professors-lean-left-questions-assumptions-about-what-means

------------------------------

I omitted a lot of info--and lots of stats--from this article because it was quite long. Please do consult the article if you need more information on the issues I highlighted here.

Kate

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woodnymph2_gw

So one take away from this thread is the following: too bad that Jane Goodall, Ken Burns, John Meacham and others of their ilk were not engineering majors. Just think what they have missed -- all that extra salary and job security, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Poor things...

sarc/

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whynottryit

At times like these, I am so thankful that my liberal education included classes in government, history, and philosophy. Trying to think through all the possibilities would be so much more difficult. I guess we are getting a real world example of how previously unused information suddenly can become important.

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patriciae_gw(07)

In coming back to this thread I am struck by the fact that there continues to be a confusion about the meanings of the word liberal. They are homonyms but no amount of saying that seems to be getting through to some people

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Delilah66

“Thanks Delilah.......what do you call schools that offer certificate programs in things like dental hygiene, animation, lab technicians etc.......that which we call colleges”

Universities, colleges, and 2 year community colleges offer those programs. It just depends where you are as to what’s available. When I was changing careers, prior to entering into engineering, I had an EPA scholarship to a 2 yr CC for a curriculum that focused on water, wastewater, solid and hazardous waste investigation, media analysis, remedial design, operation, maintenance and training. Most of those credits went toward my engineering degree, but more importantly I got a job that involved all those media and paid for my engineering degree. Then I got to work in France because I had that silly BA in French.

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bry911

Then I got to work in France because I had that silly BA in French.

I lived in France for a time after High School. I gained some fluency in the French language in High School, however, the French remained unconvinced...

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cait1

@ Kate

A good liberal education might have saved us from silly video postings.

A truly good liberal education would have prevented that silly video from ever being made because those children would know that the climate always changes and doom and gloom rhetoric is usually only espoused by the ultra-religious.

How can anyone trust what leftists mean by the phrase 'liberal education' when leftists change the meaning of words all the time?

The word 'liberal', when used in a political sense, was changed by leftist FDR. In every country bar America, liberalism is right-wing, supporting personal liberty and less government intrusion.

The rainbow used to represent the covenant between God and Noah, now, like the word 'gay', which used to mean mirthful, it represent, among other things, sexual deviancy.

Deviancy used to mean parting from the normal. Now it's a part of 'hate speech'.

'Hate' speech doesn't even exist; leftists use it to mean anything they don't want to hear or be known.

"Ya" liberal education may mean the sciences and arts, but what is actually being taught may be anything but liberal, and I'm using that word in its original sense.

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Ann

Lol Bry, I smiled at the "unconvinced" part. After being in France for a month just a year ago, I'm sure the lack of the proper accent sure might be somewhat unconvincing:)

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Cait, One major reason why "liberal" (as a political term) is considered left-leaning IN AMERICA is because conservatives have insisted--loud and long--that anyone who isn't a conservative (or even a Repub.) is a "liberal." Conservatives have been throwing that word--which they intend as an insult--at Democrats for as long as I can remember. In fact, conservatives were calling non-Repubs. "liberals" long before many (maybe most) Democrats gave much thought to the subject one way or another.

My guess is that most Americans calling themselves "liberal" do so because of their strong identification with civil and political rights--perhaps since the civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s or, as you suggest, since FDR. But it turns out that there are many kinds of liberal political thought, depending on what adjective you add before the word:

------------

"Social liberalism, also known as left liberalism in Germany,[1][2][3] modern liberalism in the United States[4] and new liberalism in the United Kingdom,[5][6] is a political ideology and a variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights.

Under social liberalism, the common good is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.[7] Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world.[8]

Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or centre-left.[6][9][10][11][12] In the United States, current political usage of the term social liberalism describes progressivism or cultural liberalism as opposed to social conservatism or cultural conservatism. A social liberal in this sense may hold either more interventionist or liberal views on fiscal policy.[13]

A social liberal government is expected to address economic and social issues such as poverty, health care, education and the climate using government intervention whilst also emphasising the rights and autonomy of the individual.[14][15][16]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_liberalism

---------------------

But there are many other versions of "liberal" also: Classical liberalism, Conservative liberalism, National liberalism, Neoliberalism, Economic liberalism, Right-libertarianism, etc.

But do note--according to Wikipedia, do not confuse "conservative liberalism" with "liberal conservatism" or "libertarian conservatism." Conservative liberalism would be the right-wing of the liberal movement.

(This post is too long, Houzz informs me, so I will continue this subject in another post.)

Kate


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Definitions of "liberal"--continued

None of the above, however, has anything to do with the academic term "liberal arts" or "liberal education." Check any dictionary, by the way--they all define those terms the same way.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary--

----------------

"Definition of liberal art

  1. the medieval studies comprising the trivium and quadrivium
  2. college or university studies (such as language, philosophy, literature, abstract science) intended to provide chiefly general knowledge and to develop general intellectual capacities (such as reason and judgment) as opposed to professional or vocational skills

Why do we call the liberal arts "liberal"?

The liberal in liberal arts, a cornerstone of the education of so many, has very little to do with political leanings; its roots can be traced to the Latin word liber, meaning “free, unrestricted.” Our language took the term from the Latin liberales artes, which described the education given to freeman and members of the upper classes, and involved training in the mind (grammar, logic, geometry, etc.). The lower classes were educated in the servile arts, which were mechanical or occupational in nature. The phrase liberal arts has been part of our language for a very long time, with use dating back to the 14th century."

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberal%20arts

------------

Yes, a word can have more than one accepted meaning, and you can use whatever meaning you wish (including one you make-up). However, as I've noted several times before, if you wish to communicate clearly with others--particularly Americans, in this case, Cait--it is best that you use those words the same way that your audience does, or you will have to keep reminding them that you are not following common usage when you use the term.

Kate

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haydayhayday

woodnymph:

"So one take away from this thread is the following: too bad that Jane Goodall, Ken Burns, John Meacham and others of their ilk were not engineering majors. Just think what they have missed -- all that extra salary and job security, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Poor things..."

I think you may have missed the most important take away from this thread.

"Your dream is the reason for the way you are! Your dream is not a coincidence. Your dream IS who you are. You SHOULD pursue it! Your dream gives you a sense of meaning and purpose, and drives you on into your chosen future. Your dream IS the meaning of your life!"



Hay



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