Higher education: desperately selling a grossly overpriced, generic product in America

collegecampusThe other night, I attended a college fair with my high schooler.  It featured representatives from perhaps 100 different colleges, each of them standing behind their particular space at row upon row of tables.  Hundreds of teenagers and their parents milled about, approaching one or another table to get the shtick about a specific school.

We must have spoken to about 15 different representatives from various colleges across the United States.  None of the Ivy Leagues were there, but there was a good sampling of top public and private colleges, as well as a representative sampling of all the other 1,400 private liberal arts colleges scattered throughout America.

I was impressed — very impressed — by how generic they were.  Barring college location and campus size, all but two of them gave the same shtick:  excellent faculty, small classroom size, a smorgasbord of study abroad programs (all of which seem to involve one form or another of staying in an American bubble), quality sports facilities, attentive faculty members, ridiculously high tuition, and a commitment to social justice.  I actually felt sorry for the various representatives, struggling desperately to distinguish themselves from each other when it was manifestly obvious that they had nothing unique to offer.

There were, though, two exceptions.  The representative from the University of Washington, which local kids consider a premium public university, appeared to have checked out.  He had no shtick and, whenever possible, answered most questions with the words “yes” or “no.”  When pushed, the only substantive information he offered was that, yes, of course UW had massive classes with hundreds of students listening to lectures, and that the smaller classes were taught by graduate students.  “Let’s get out of here,” my kid whispered to me.

The other exception was Northeastern, which has a program called COOP (short for cooperative).  In this program, students work for six months out of the year, every year, for two to three years (depending upon whether they want to graduate in four or five years).  When they work, they really work, at a full-time, salaried internship.  What the university offers them is training in resume writing and building, interviewing techniques, and workplace behavior.  More than that, the school offers them an entrée into premium work places such as Microsoft or Virgin or other hot, popular jobs, including jobs overseas.  Because the students are working for six months, they then have to attend summer school to make up for the missed classroom time.  Work and school take up their entire year.

Unlike all the other colleges assembled in that room, Northeastern had interested applicants lined up six deep.  The school was selling something new, different, and eminently practical, and students and their parents responded enthusiastically.  Having a college create a program with real world implications, even for liberal arts majors, is exciting.  People seemed to like this entrepreneurial, capitalist bent, although the Northeastern materials zealously promote their commitment to social justice too.  (Indeed, Northeastern’s home page, which shows happy graduates examining their newly issued diplomas, prominently features a woman wearing a hijab under her mortar board.)

To my teen’s delight, I was very pleasant to the representatives, and didn’t ask them to tell me about their campus’ policies towards the boycott, divest, and sanction movement or their campus’ version of Sex Week, and I kept my mouth shut about the high incidences of rape on their campuses and the kangaroo show trials that follow on the heels of these excessive rape claims.  I did break once, though.  When we were at the Sarah Lawrence table, one of the prominent displays was its boast about the five or six cities abroad in which it maintains a campus presence so that its students can have the Sarah Lawrence experience overseas.  One of the campuses is in Havana.

I assured the very nice representative that what I was about to say wasn’t directed at him personally, and then told him that it was an embarrassment and disgrace that Sarah Lawrence would boast about having an academic facility in a police state.  While Cuba isn’t as bad as North Korea, I said, that wasn’t an excuse.  It’s still a repressive regime that routinely imprisons its citizens for thought crimes and that denies them basic human rights.

The representative mumbled about the program going back to the early 1970s, which I said was no excuse, and he also said that students came back concerned about human rights.  I would have pursued this (“Whose human rights?  The imprisoned Cubans’ rights or are the returned students parroting even louder the usual “social justice” stuff that turns America’s young people into fascists at home?”), but my mortified teen dragged me away.

It’s clear that American education is a bubble that’s about to burst.  I just wish it would burst immediately.  I suspect that, with my usual bad timing, it will burst only after I’ve already spent ridiculous sums on my children’s “higher” education.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Bubbles usually burst when the top 1% (Democrats usually) have taken all the money and ran with it.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Where are the 2 year engineering colleges, Book? Talk about discrimination and class bias.
    All this “job” ification is done in 2 year colleges designed to produce entry level workers for the major industrial, engineering, and technical firms of America. They probably aren’t Microsoft, but the people Microsoft hire to do the grunt work in electronics, the actual manufacturing and installation process.

  • Old Soldier

    http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/ – there are some colleges left that do it the right way.  Both my sons graduated from that school.  I suggest you check it out;  no, you don’t have to be Catholic to go there (my kids aren’t.)  Sometimes the giant cookie cutter misses.  A good thing, too.

  • Ron19

    New?  Not Quite.
    Back in the 60’s I was getting ready for my first intern portion in the long established University of Cincinnati’s School of Electrical Engineering Coop program when I dropped out of college the second time (boy was that a mistake!  However, life has been interesting as a result of that personal stupidity).  One of the companies that I interviewed at was as perfect as it could be.

  • Charles Martel

    Book, I honest to God don’t see why you think you have to consign your daughter to college. It’s almost guaranteed that unless you send her to a place like Hillsdale or Thomas Aquinas, she’ll come back to you thoroughly lobotomized and useless in the sense possessing any marketable skills or applied intelligence.
    You know this. You’ve lamented it and documented it for years, yet now that your daughter stands at the crossroads, you find yourself hoping the bubble will burst just in time to keep her from plodding off on the road to intellectual perdition. 
    Could she take a year off to work at a real job? Or go on a walkabout that has some sort of intellectual quest as its goal?  Maybe join the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela? Anything but the arid cul de sac of college where the best she’ll learn is how to be a good Eloi.

  • Seanroconnor

    I have pissed off many a relative talking about how overpriced and worthless modern college is for most students….unless you are willing to engage in a worthwhile major that has immediate payback for value (think Nursing or Electrician or Plumbing…) then you are literally wasting your time at college.
    It gets even worse for graduate degrees…I got my MBA and my first question for potential MBA students is — ” who is going to pay for your MBA education? – hopefully it will not be you!”  Get someone else to pay for your MBA education!!!!
    Most current college education is worthless.  The shills are only starting to realize this sad fact of life……..

  • JKB

    Northeastern sounds interesting.  Nice to see at least one school is looking at reality.  I remember reading not to long ago that a student having work experience via real internships, etc. moved them up the employability ladder.  
    They real open secret of a college education is that it offers nothing to employability, beyond the threshold credential.  Sure a few majors do/did have a more direct pipeline but then those aren’t “education” to hear the humanities profs tell it.  Presumably, the graduate will be able to come up to speed faster once they get a job but, making the first cut has become harder and harder.  
    Sure we keep reading some poor humanities grad/prof tell how its all about “a better life”, but you don’t hear that from the universities.  You don’t hear it because if college doesn’t improve your economic outlook in a real way, then it lives on “prestige” pricing.  But prestige goods get devalued real quick if they let “just everybody” have it.  

  • JKB

    I have a question.  Since the 1970s the guerrilla army of lawyers have conducted operations against all aspects of American life.  Save one, universities.  Questioning the requirement of a college degree should be an easy buck for them.  Especially in federal employment where there is a law prohibiting the requirement of a college degree that cannot be directly justified by the technical nature of the job.  

  • Ron19

    Go to Monster.com and do some creative research on jobs:
    What are you interested/passionate about, what kind of requirements are being asked for, are there a lot of openings available right now, what related jobs are there, what else are you interested in.

  • http://bkivey.wordpress.com/ bkivey

    ” It’s still a repressive regime that routinely imprisons its citizens for thought crimes and that denies them basic human rights.”
    Huh. That would be nothing like, say, the US or UK or Canada, would it? Places where saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing can result in professional ruination or having your business taken from you. Places where basic human rights like free association are closely regulated by the PC mob. I’m seeing increasingly little difference between Havana and DC and Ottawa.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Here’s what the universities are actually selling:
    To parents: the hope that your kid won’t be downwardly mobile (“nice kid you got there, shame if something happened to him”), also, status among the parents’ friends.
    To kids: a 4- or 5- year interval with little work and lots of sex and alcohol. Possibility of meeting future wife or husband (though this is of declining importance as media push older marriage ages.) Also, perceived protection against downward mobility as stated above.
    To employers: a factor that can be used to help winnow down the unmanageable flood for resumes that shows up for every opening.

  • Mike Devx

    IT has been such a long time since I was a teenager.  Was your daughter really mortified that you had questions for the Sarah Lawrence representative about their campus in Cuba?  Was she so relieved that you didn’t ask anyone about their position on the Boycott/Divest/Sanction movement against Israel?  Are teenagers really under that much social pressure not to challenge others by stating conservative positions?  It must be social pressure, right?  Because I doubt your daughter’s extreme embarrassment  could be wildly liberal, having grown up under your guidance.
    Liberals want these kids to be rabid activists on campus – but only for their own causes.  I’d have LOVED it if you told us that your daughter went from booth to booth, challenging the representatives to discuss their BDS position.  I mean, your daughter has skin in that game!  She’s a Jew from your side of the family, at least.  Let you start it and then let her jump in and rip them a new one!  A mother-daughter tag team, yeah baby!  But it is not to be.
    I had forgotten all about the social peer pressure teenagers feel coming out of high school that would cause her to actually be mortified at BDS questions.  Hopefully over time your daughter will become fearless in expressing her own (hopefully conservative) opinions!

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      Book’s kid is embarrassed that her parent is speaking Truth to Power.
      College degrees are like minimum wages. By raising the standard or getting everybody in, everyone also suffers, except the 1% at the top and their employers. Since it’s not competence they can look at, they look at seniority, entry requirements, and connections (who you know, not what you know).
      Lawyers go where the money is. I haven’t heard of multi million settlements or damages awarded to such and such. Teacher’s unions and various other unions, regulate such matters so that not too much friendly fire occurs. Things such as the Left improving criminal violence and the police unions locking down l0yalty from LEOs are promoted because it benefits. No money, no benefits however.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Whether this is the daughter kid or the son kid, is kind of funny. Book hasn’t specified. But we know that Book’s husband has been a strong influence on her daughter. Or at least, 51%.
    Teenagers have the highest loyalty index for obeying authority. The closer, stronger, that authority is, the more certain. Even without the pressure from society to conform or be hit as the nail that stands out, Book’s kid would also be dealing with the social perception amongst their circle that Book’s Mom is crazy or outspoken. Rumors of abnormal behavior is a sign that somebody is going to get exiled and eaten by predators. Kids, teenagers, are too weak and lack the spine to stand up to Power. They don’t know the Truth and even if they did, they would hesitate before Speaking it to Power.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    As everyone knows, the Griggs vs Duke Power case ruled that companies could not use IQ tests and such in hiring unless the test results could be shown to be in some way relevant to the job.  As everyone does not know, the same decision also ruled that high school diplomas could not be used in hiring unless a similar relationship could be shown. (IIRC, Duke was imposing a test and diploma requirement for janitorial jobs.)
    I’m not sure what happened to the second part of that decision.  Was it reversed by later legislation or litigation, or is it simply ignored in practice?

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      CNN uses basic engineering tests about Ohm’s law, when hiring entry level grunts and cable monkeys. You know, the people that actually allow CNN to digital cable their propaganda for 24 hours a day. The talking stupid heads on screen don’t know any of that.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    As everyone knows, the Griggs vs Duke Power case ruled that companies could not use IQ tests and such in hiring unless the test results could be shown to be in some way relevant to the job.  As everyone does not know, the same decision also ruled that high school diplomas could not be used in hiring unless a similar relationship could be shown. (IIRC, Duke was imposing a test and diploma requirement for janitorial jobs.)
    I’m not sure what happened to the second part of that decision.  Was it reversed by later legislation or litigation, or is it simply ignored in practice?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I would like to link a comment I made about a certain Japanese anime show that just aired.
    I think it shows a remarkable difference between a strong and healthy culture based upon self control and work ethics, vs the kind of ethics that went around US campuses in the 1960s. Back then, the Left didn’t have majority zombie control. It’s the same situation, but the way people handle it is different.

    • Matt_SE

      I wouldn’t call Japanese culture “strong and healthy.” Their birthrates are plummeting because young people think relationships are too hard. They don’t even seem to have the natural youthful zest for sex.
      How screwed up a culture do you have to have to ruin sex for young people?!?

      • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

        I think what’s screwed up is your judgment when you form your views based upon what California chooses to tell you about Japan. Have you went there? Do you know anyone that has went there? Do you translate the Japanese sources yourself? If the answer is no, then you have no basis to decide, other than what people “tell” you the Japanese do based upon how they choose to translate certain things. I wouldn’t be satisfied with that, if I were you.
        The idea of Americans that they know what’s going on in the world because Democrats and their propaganda tells you certain things, is the problem, not the solution.
        This is like that saying where a person picks up the newspaper, sees an obvious wrong on a topic the person works with, and then 99% of the rest of the paper they turn their brain off and agree with. The newspaper is wrong on the 1%. It’s wrong on the 99% too.

        • Matt_SE

          Have you went there?
          I lived in Japan between 1991 and 1993, when I was stationed in Yokosuka. I don’t see why I would need to read Japanese to be able to understand their demographic statistics.

          • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

            So it’s 66% no.
            And you base your judgment entirely on statistics, such as how 1st world nations like the US would be barely replacing population without immigration.
            You have no access to original sources. Your judgment ends up being “cause they told me so”. That’s a great work, ya got there.
            You’re right below the level of Australians that think the Anglosphere share things in common, so Americans should adopt Australian solutions to school shootings and confiscate all guns, because after all the Australians were in America for some time and they all speak English.
            You have no idea what is a strong or weak culture. And it took external education for you to even get what the Left was doing here in the US. You didn’t come about this by living in America, you came about it because people told you so. If the Left gives you statistics about Japan, you’ll eat it up like the people ate up the Lancet stats on Iraq casualties.
            Compared to you, I only rely on my own authority, whereas you rely on everybody else’s authority. And yet you think you have a place to stand on.

  • Libby

    The Notheastern program sounds wonderful. I have a friend who attended New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT that has (had?) a similar 2 year program: 6 mos instruction, 6 mos internship, etc. He loved getting out and using what he had learned before all of his classes were completed so that he had a better perspective when he returned the 2nd year. He also used the internships to see other parts of the country – the 1st was in GA, the second in CO (is that an option w/Northeastern?). He ended up just staying on at the second restaurant after graduation, making the transition from student to employee seamless.
    I would think that another benefit of this program is that with students not actually on campus for the full 4 years, there is less time to take the frivolous classes and less exposure to the forces of Lefty indoctrination. Wind-win!

  • lee

    If I could redo that portion of my life, knowing what I know now, I’d’ve:
    A) Stayed at home and commuted; or
    B) Gone into the military first (I had stellar ASVAB scores); or
    C) Gone ahead to school, but joined ROTC; or
    D) Worked during school. And summers. In something useful, related to future career, not lifeguarding. (Midst of my summers as an undergrad.) Or some something like the Northeastern program you describe. And
    E) Majored in something genuinely useful like petroleum engineering out ceramic engineering. 
    F) If not staying at my parents and commuting, then going to school where I REALLY REALLY wanted to spend the rest of my life. (Indiana University opens a LOT of doors in Indiana, but people in California and in South Carolina don’t give a rat’s @$$. Parsons opens doors in NY, but again, in California and in south Carolina no ones cares.)

  • Kate

    My son has been looking at Northeastern for quite some time now (we actually walk through parts of its campus on a regular basis while visiting Boston’s MFA, among other places.) What I find appealing is that it’s one of the rare NE schools that continue to offer merit aid! My primary concern is how higher ed will (continue to) reinforce critical thinking skills, and I’m not seeing a lot of that, anywhere. Without that, it’s impossible for us to justify a huge investment in undergrad education, and we have begun to look abroad for other solutions. McGill and other Canadian schools are looking good, as are some schools in the EU. 


    Colleges are suffering from the same fate as the Edsel. They’re not living up to expectations, overpriced and shoddy quality control. If it was my daughter, I’d look into a campus that does not have a BDS movement for starters.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Kate, I agree with you about those missing critical thinking skills.  Of course, if they did teach those skills, the students would instantly realize that the entirety of each school’s liberal arts department is a giant fraud.  It would be “The Emperor’s New Clothes” played out on a national, academic scale.

    Charles, all I can say is that I don’t have the only say in this matter.

  • Murray Lawrence

    Back in the long ago, a college dean at Columbia gave us a freshman orientation lecture that I never forgot. He said that the aim of the school was not to prepare us for a good job and that it wasn’t out to make us happy. He emphasized this last point by remarking that a Columbia education would mark us for life in a special way, because we would always be aware, if only in a corner of our minds, that the world is a dark place full of conflict and ignorance. His lesson was on the order of Ecclesiastes’ “For in much knowledge is much grief” and the lines in Keats that I first read in my junior year and which have always stuck in my mind, “Here where men sit and hear each other groan, / Where but to think is to be full of sorrow / And leaden-eyed despairs.” After learning about Columbia’s increasing move to the left, after reading about antisemitic incidents in middle eastern studies, after hearing one instructor call for “a million Mogadishus” against our military,  after Columbia’s invitation to Achmadinijad, and after receiving a cold  and self-serving form letter from the president’s office in reply to my written protest to him, I called the alumni office and told them to delete my name from every mailing list of theirs. Even their response was a travesty upon the old standards, for the person I spoke to said something on the order of “OK,” and that was that, which was the exact opposite of the care and concern that we were required to show every alum who called, no matter how minor the issue, when I worked there in  my sophomore year. An old friend of mine still keeps up with the school’s alumni journal, Columbia College Today, but I told him I couldn’t even do that, not after I learned that all its talk about keeping up the school’s traditional core curriculum (a major selling point for donations) was a lie. The Columbia of the old days had taught me well. On a hunch after some years of wondering what was going on at the school, I went up to the offices of the Humanities and Contemporary Civilization departments, got their reading lists, went over to Butler Library to look at the textbooks, and discovered that the programs had been seriously degraded, with my old, hard cover CC source books of around 2,000 pages reduced to a softcover that I could have read in a couple of weeks, even back then. 

  • jj

    I don’t know that I agree with that.  A whole lot of the guys who converted the country into the industrial powerhouse of the world last mid-century were guys who were ‘C’ students with liberal arts degrees.  They had a wider view than the specialists, and they were creative.  It is an old saying, not original with me, that ‘A’ engineering students work for ‘C’ English students out in the real world. 
    Northeastern – Boston – would be a bit of a shock for a California kid, I suspect.  As I’ve previously said, Boston’s days as the ‘Athens of America’ are long gone, and these days it’s a working-class town largely populated by morons.  (Sorry about that, but you remember the TV interviews with the geniuses chasing the Tsarnaev brothers, right?) 
    It’s also freezing all winter, which sounds like it ought not to be a consideration, but for a kid from Marin it may be.  If you just blow it off, you don’t understand.  It’s.  Freezing.  All.  Winter.  You get up in the morning, walk to class, and if the wind hasn’t sawed you in half and you get there alive, you arrive with a headache from the cold.  Boston is New England cold, combined with uniquely damp because it’s on a peninsula that sticks into the ocean (‘Massachusetts Bay’ my ass – that’s the ocean!).  Every day people who never had asthma before find out they have it when they walk outside and attempt to take a breath.
    You won’t need to interact with the Bostonians, fortunately, because as a student you’re in a separate category, a bubble of sorts, if you like.  There are so very many students that it makes life easier than it could be, and often is in places where town and gown really do not rub along together very happily.  There are enough students that the city has had to compromise with them, and make a reasonable living off them.  There isn’t too much resentment there, which there is in some places.  You have BC, BU, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Suffolk, UMass, and all the little ones, like Emerson, Bay State, Wheelock, Wentworth – plus all the community colleges.  Hell, Berklee is a community college, and has 9,000 students!  So if you want to stay in the student world you need never see an actual Bostonian, except the guy driving the trolley, or directing traffic.
    Size will also be meaningful, and can be overwhelming.  BU is the biggest, with 31,000 students, which is probably bigger than your town.  Northeastern clocks in with 25,000 students, but Northeastern has always had one thing going for it that keeps it somewhat closer to the real world: it’s always been to a pretty good extent a commuter school for people from the ‘burbs.  People involved in actual life, and trying to better themselves.  Keeps the place grounded.  You can live in the student bubble there if you want, there’s no shortage of them – but it also has a lot of people who are working students from Danvers, or Beverly, or Natick.  A bit of a different vibe.  The real world plays a role.
    Boston of course is, along with being dumb, reflexively liberal.  Stupidly reflexively liberal, like living in Nancy Pelosi’s house.  In my first three semesters at BU I was exposed to Murray Levin, Howard Zinn, and Frances Piven for God’s sake!  Fortunately I had a well-developed inclination to laugh, and all three were enjoyable people as people.  Idiots, as philosophers and political thinkers, but Zinn and I sank a great deal of wine together and never failed to have a good time.  I suspect the living may not be so free and easy these days, the lines have hardened and the progressives are quite snotty and bitter about everything, they’ve been such an obvi0ous failure; so good times may not be possible, but they can still be ignored.  Or just give ’em what they want, get the grade and don’t give ’em any part of your mind.  School’s mostly a catering service anyway.
    Any of the big city schools anywhere, from Washington to Northeastern, will be stupidly liberal because the cities themselves are stupidly liberal.  Nothing to be done about it, just prepare them.  Northeastern wouldn’t be an awful choice, but it’s sure not California!

    • JKB

      ” It is an old saying, not original with me, that ‘A’ engineering students work for ‘C’ English students out in the real world. ”
      It’s an old saying and probably anachronistic now.  The truth is, the engineering and English students end up working for those who avoided the cube training of the university.
      The liberal arts had value, but what they pass off as the liberal arts today isn’t that which was of value in the past. The humanities are more the vanities now.  

  • Charles Martel

    Book, I know that this isn’t your decision alone to make. But I sense what you’re thinking (and fearing) about the whole prospect of watching your daughter head off to the fascist processing plant. I guess you try to equip her with as many bullshit detectors as you can, and hope that four years of corrosion don’t totally eat into them. 

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      It’s 4 years plus the high school.
      Given that Book probably hasn’t used anime to indoctrinate the kids for defense, that leaves only around 12-14 years, minus the 2-4 years that the person couldn’t walk or talk.
      Japanese language + anime provides around 5-10 years of shielding, in terms of worth. Or, rather, as many years as they have been indulging.
      The problem with having suspect influences in the house, on Book’s side, is that she can’t spend those 12-14 years doing the indoctrination work as we or I would do it. The movies and shows they watch, are terminated or monitored or competed with by stuff (wastes of time Leftist indoc).

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Book, most human beings don’t like the truth. Not because the truth isn’t beneficial or useful compared to other things (like self delusions), but because the truth burns. The closer it gets to the One Single Truth, the higher the pain is needed to pay the price for acquiring that knowledge and awareness. So most humans don’t bother. They are comfortable with their current modern lives.
    Even conservatives or patriots that consider themselves right living and right thinking, didn’t want to believe all the Truths about the Left and what was really going on in this Country. Not until the Left forced them to see what they didn’t want to see, at least. So consider how much more difficult it is for a teen, someone who lacks self-awareness and their own strong identity, to accept the burning pain of truth.
    One of the things people here may have noticed is that as I’ve come to understand humanity more and various other things, the more I’ve grown to hate humanity’s flaws. What I once tolerated or gave the benefit of the doubt to (such as people opposed to the Iraq intervention), I no longer provide the soft mercy of even assuming such people are operating autonomously. They are tools until they prove otherwise. And if the proof is against them, then they are participants in evil, not merely tools.
    The cost of knowledge verging on human enlightenment is the opposite, despising the very thing one wished to know about. Nobody goes to the extent necessary to acquire knowledge without a basic curiosity or love of the subject matter. This is why they say ignorance is bliss. If people knew half of the things I knew, they would want to forget it all. They weren’t willing to pay the price of getting it, and the price of keeping it is higher than their budget as well.
    Most humans do not wish for their lovely little faerie fantasies about equality and liberty to be tarnished, so they ignore what is in front of their eyes. And they would do so even if the Left did not order it. But since the Left orders it, people have a ready made excuse. It’s my job, they say, pointing their gun at you ordering you to Obey. They have to Obey evil, so why don’t you Obey them, they think. Do that long enough and I promise you that any human can turn into a zombie, tool, or Faust.
    The number 1 reason why inferior or weak groups in America feel discriminated against and wish to even the balance, is because they themselves are the ones that discriminate against themselves the most. Or in other words, the weak are weak because they are weak. But since that logick makes little sense to the poor, welfare recipients and black poor criminals are the way they are because somebody keeps them that way. However, it’s not usually the upper class or Power that does it. Generally, it’s the subjects of discrimination that most of all, believe that they are inferior and unworthy of anything better. This often invites in abusers and human sadists (Sharpton, Jackson, Holder). Much as a woman that was sexually abused early in life, often seems to find the worst and most sadistic boyfriends, for some reason. It’s not luck.
    That’s why it is important to rebuild human society one man + one woman at a time. All this social engineering from the top down, using administrators, taxes, laws, and other claptrap, are functions of a totalitarian system. One cannot fix totalitarian systems by using more totalitarian systems. The change begins at the bottom, not the top. You can’t make people accept the truth. You can’t make them believe what they don’t want to believe. You can’t make them acquire the strength to change themselves or their environment for the better. People get one choice, after all the things that happen that is out of their control. That is what free will is. And those who pull the lever that says “pass” when it comes time to choose, will never be a full human any more after. Without free will, they are not human. Without love, it cannot be seen and without hate it cannot be discerned. There are things which logick does not encapsulate.

    • Caped Crusader

      Loved most of this one. The hardest, most painful thing in life is to take stock of oneself and take the appropriate corrective actions. “The truth hurts” as someone once said and it hurts too much for most to admit it and change course and reform oneself. Most trauma in life is self inflicted, for this very reason.

  • Caped Crusader

    Sadie always gives good advice and  evaluations.
    The cost of college is totally absurd for the average student today to even think about. If you are not on course for a real world well paying occupation you are wasting time and money. If you are not studying “hard subjects” it is not worth it. If you can read and write well you can educate yourself  better than you will get in most colleges. When I was in school in the 40’s and 50’s, and you were on an academic and/or scientific course it was assumed you would study both Latin and Greek in addition to all the scientific curriculum. Try to even find that requirement today. And believe it or not nearly all the professors I had were active in a church or synagogue and this was not a religious institution; and I always felt free to express my beliefs and opinions with others without fear of retribution. Try to find any of this today. Warped brain washing factories in anything on the “soft side” of the curriculum. I know this is a quandary for parents.

  • Gringo

    My sister graduated from Northeastern at age 31 with an engineering degree.  She also got her Master’s degree from Northeastern. The work study program was very good, as it gave her good exposure to what engineers do.  She was able to test her skills and knowledge in a real world environment. She was given interesting, challenging work. Lot of lab work.
    [At times too challenging. At a consulting firm, she was expected to perform the same job as someone who had recently resigned after 13 years on the job. The consulting firm did not request that she return. In any event, that did not become a hindrance in getting a job after graduation.]  
    One thing my sister told me years later was that when she was in high school, she had expressed interest to her high school  counselor in attending  colleges or universities with work study programs. The counselor mentioned Antioch, the now defunct school which my sister’s best friend ended up attending. The counselor did not mention Northeastern, most likely because at the time Northeastern had a reputation as a working class commuters’ college, which apparently was considered too declassé for the students at our rarified high school. Sorta like sending an Honor Society student at a Marin high school to San Francisco State.
    After several years of college, my sister quit school in the middle of her junior year and went to work. She even drove a cab for a while. The time off school was well worth it.

  • Gringo

    It was an embarrassment and disgrace that Sarah Lawrence would boast about having an academic facility in a police state. 
    One of my high school friends went to Sarah Lawrence. After graduation, she tried to make a living in modern dance, a career which an injured knee finished before lack of  well-paying  jobs  did. She became a schoolteacher.

  • Matt_SE

    I’m returning to school myself, and have the same trepidation you have on behalf of your child: will the bubble burst before, during or after attending? Will it be worth it in the end?
    But there aren’t many opportunities I can see without a degree, so I’m kind-of stuck.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      We live in real time, Matt_SE, and only deal with the “what is now” rather than the “what might be tomorrow.”  That’s the situation with my kids and it’s clearly yours too.

      Best of luck with your new school career.  At least you know that, unlike a malleable kid, you’ll look carefully at what your instructors say, rather than simply buying into everything hook, line, and sinker.

      • Matt_SE

        Honestly, I’m worried about getting thrown out of class or receiving an “F” for badthink.
        And though we live in the now, my choices have been greatly shaped by what I think I can predict about the future.
        I was initially going to try petroleum engineering, but there are too many undergrads going into it already and I expect an economic downturn. The petroleum industry is quite sensitive to economic downturns, as the number of operating wellheads (i.e. jobs) declines with declining demand for oil.
        Because of the inevitable aging of the population, there should be increasing demand for healthcare-related fields, fairly regardless of what happens with Obamacare. So the current choice is biomedical engineering.
        Thank you for the well-wishes. I’ll try not to let you down! :)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The entire reason the tuition rates are so high is to pay the education class living it off grants and Global Warming at the top, while meaning students into obedient cattle that are always dependent upon federal loans and put them into permanent debt peonage.
    Got to get them while they are young. The moment a person steps unto a college campus, they are made aware of their weakness and dependence. Dependence on loans, scholarships. Dependence on the school’s board and administration to set grades, decide how their mandatory fees are used, and so forth. Designed to obey, told what to do, and what little decisions they do of their own free will (parties and orgies), have little to no positive consequences: breads and circuses. Far from escaping their parent’s clutches and authority, they merely fall into a far larger bureaucracy and chain of command, where their opinions aren’t even recognized as those from thinking human beings. Just a student number, all they are there for is to get the university federal grants and funding.
    This is far from the ideal society of bottom up management and self autonomy. This is far from the independence and personal initiative of frontier towns. This is far from what students say they want, which is personal freedom and the ability to do what they want, free of their parent’s control.

  • ilana

    Co-op education is wonderful.  Some thirty years ago I chose a low-status college with a strong co-op program.  Since I had excellent grades and got into top “name” colleges, my parents were wary, but fortunately they were also supportive.  It was a great decision.  You start life after college *with* work experience and *without* debt.  Opens up lots of possibilities that debt closes.  Definitely worth it, very, very highly recommended.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      I worked all through college and law school, but I did so because I needed money.  That meant that my college work was entirely unrelated to my education.  Still, I learned the value of work and its relationship to money, which was a good thing.

  • http://www.marchhareshouse.blogspot.com March Hare

    Book–have you & Bookette considered community college?  I’ve heard good things about College of Marin.
    I’m a product of “junior college” + transfer, as are most of my siblings and my children.  A large part of the reason was economic–we lived at home.  But DS#2 noticed that many of his friends who had gone off to Name Schools, showed up at his community college the next year.  They weren’t ready to move out.  
    There are risks:  transfers to a four year institution at the end of two years is no longer guaranteed.  But my kids, who all had part-time jobs, have  less debt and were able to determine what they wanted to study.  And they lived at home, so we were able to have serious discussions about what they heard in class.  
    One other prop:  my kids had much less stress their senior year in high school and, I think, were able to enjoy it.

  • Charles Martel

    What March Hare says about College of Marin is true. Yes, COM has the usual moronic leftist politics in the air, but it also has some teachers that could easily work at the Ivies if they were more into research and writing. Generally they stay away from politics. COM also has a direct line to UC Davis, which lines up just behind Berkeley and UCLA in terms of UC System prestige. If you get decent grades at COM, Davis will pretty much enroll you without fuss. By then you’re older, smarter, and richer, and able to thread your way around the left-wing doltademy that infests every university. 

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      It’s relatively hard to reprogram older individuals, without advanced interrogation methods or enforced enclosure of freedom.

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  • nathan

    Currently at the airport on the way to visit my son who is graduating with a liberal arts degree from an expensive college which taught him how to think, write and speak. He and his best friend are going to create a startup that, like all startups, has a low chance of success. And yet the experience of failing would be worth more than going to work at GE or Wall Street.  
    Regarding Northeastern – great program but only for technical careers. 

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      Many congratulations on your son’s upcoming graduation, nathan.  You’re right that learning to fail is as good an experience (when young) as learning to succeed.  It seems, then, that there’s no downside to the proposed start-up.  Nevertheless, I wish them luck in their endeavor.  I’m also so glad that the college taught him to think.  Too many don’t.

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