Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Efficiency is fine, if we know what we’re actually trying to do. What we’re trying to do is so much more than just enabling grocery runs. Let’s not focus so narrowly that we forget that.
I was pretty outraged at the very idea, and think it comes from a particularly Randian view of the world--something to which I greatly object.
Don't we want the populace to be capable of listening to and participating in complex arguments? Don't we want them to be informed enough to ask meaningful questions? Or do we want them to swallow what they are told and be satisfied by overly simplistic anecdotes and explanations.
I failed Algebra II in high school back in the late 80's. I started teaching my self in my early thirties. It took that long to overcome the belief that I was just too damned stupid to get it. I already knew the question, "What do I need it for?" was bogus. All around me was evidence of its usefulness.
I needed to learn math so I could pursue other interests in a deep way. I needed to learn it so I could explain why the politician that I heard on the radio lambasting the Clinton administration for claiming that there were "rates of rates" was lying or ignorant. I needed it so one day I might help someone else with it. So I could think about complex problems and not succumb so easily to those that would abuse my wallet and my vote.
It took longer than I wanted. There were some breaks. Still I recently received my B.S. in Applied Mathematics. Thank you for contributing to the taxes that helped me pay for that first class, Introduction to Algebra.
I could tell the article by Isabel Sawhill was bogus from the first sentence. The "cost" of college has actually decreased where I live, so she must be talking about "private college" or ignorant of the difference between the price (tuition) and the cost of college (perhaps, again, with "private" in mind). The actual cost of educating a student has gone down at my CC and some regional state universities where I have seen the data. Tuition has gone up because state appropriations have gone down even faster over the past 5 years as Congress keeps us in the backwash of a depression.
And, of course, she uses IPEDS data and her own wild guesses at the "likely" reason a student drops out, ignoring the minor detail that the first one she mentions (combining job and school) is made necessary by deliberate disinvestment in education over the last few decades.