Monday, October 7, 2013

The Best Years of Our Lives

In this article in Business Week Magazine, Eric Schmidt and Ann-Marie Slaughter have weighed in saying that university educations are not working for many today.

It's supposedly a current conversation of utmost importance. But it's one that has reverberated for centuries around universities...What is the best way to educate post-teens?

When you look at these two more closely, who's making the case for university improvement? It's rather disingenuous of these two to complain, one with a net worth of over $8 billion USD who quit Google after threatening to package all information within the company, the other amply rewarded for her role at Princeton University for many years who did not gain the post of President of the University.

Could it just possibly be a case of sour grapes? Universities have changed mightily over the centuries as a direct result of the efforts of many thousands of hard-working academics.

Why are these two so disapproving? Is Eric Schmidt interested in starting a better university as a solution? What does Ann-Marie Slaughter have to say, other than criticisms? In her article here, which another faculty spouse took as a rant, she explained why she gave up a job in Washington, and freshly extrapolated her raw personal experiences to those of other women. She seemed to use her almost grown-up teenagers as the big excuse as if she hadn't felt maternal at all until then.

Studies show that online learning for university students doesn't work for most students as they tend to quit, although online devices may improve certain aspects of learning for all students. WebWork, for example, is one useful mathematical site run by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), used by professors to grade students, that is catching on in many universities. The short history of online education doesn't predict online learning won't work for many. For some, it may be their only choice, especially if certain factors interfere with attending university.

Most post-teenagers in America and other civilized countries appreciate and learn from the socializing that goes along with the university experience. Even if they're tech-savvy, they have raging hormones and, more appropriately, raging desires to learn, whether introverted or extroverted. Drafted military training for everyone isn't a socially desirably alternative. And it's not really clear where any of them will pursue careers later in life.

As a college fee-paying parent, I'd say these two parents haven't quite finished paying their parenting dues for higher education. Maybe they're trying to decide where their own children should attend college, I don't know. I do sense self-directed personal agendas. 

For most of us, the university years were among the best-spent and intense years of our lives.

Again, here's the article:

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