"However, learning and education seem to be operating in difference spheres these days. There are many creative ways to learn which are free or dirt cheap. We don't need a cottage industry called 'higher ed'."
One of my favorite stories I like to tell was when I first started at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) in 1973. Fresh back from four years in the Navy, I was anxious to get caught up. Anxious to learn. One of the classes I signed up for was Macro Economics 101, taught by the great Walter Heller. I knew from my history that Dr. Heller was JFK's econ guy in the White House. This would be like meeting a bit of that history.
How up front and personal did I get with Dr. Heller? Nada. The course was taught in the West Bank auditorium (huge) and it featured Dr. Heller on film. Never saw him in person. The book we had (written by Dr. Heller) was basically recited in the films we saw. Oh, there were plenty of stories about how Dr. Heller reigned in this young president he worked for. Somehow I learned in this environment, and squeaked an "A" out of the class.
Flash forward to today. A state university or college, which at one time was a bargain, has now found the path to being prohibitively expensive. Rather than having a bargain basement class like I took from Dr. Heller, the cost of educating has gone right through the roof. The University of Minnesota is (again) going to raise tuition way higher than the cost of living. Why? Colleges and universities, who preach critical thinking, thinking outside the box, and blah, blah, blah - are caught in an old school paradigm of education bloat.
But this problem is not just in the colleges. In the paper this morning, there was a chart which showed how the massive budget in Minnesota was divided up. As with every year, the bulk of it (over $18B) went to Pre K thru 12. And every year, people like myself ask the same question - are we getting the best "bang for the buck" with those dollars. In other words, are kids really learning?
I will say this about education in Minnesota, all the way from Pre K to graduate courses. Okay - forget Minnesota. Pick just about any state. The way we educate kids these days is for the most part, a classic fail. The entire system needs a reclama. Education Minnesota needs to be de-certified as collective bargaining unit. They are a huge part of the problem. The number of majors offered at colleges and universities should be cut in half (and we all know which half should get the ax). We have way too many kids graduating with a worthless major (or two) and a zillion dollars in debt to obtain it.
One more time, as I have said this numerous times in the past - I am very PRO LEARNING. However, learning and education seem to be operating in difference spheres these days. There are many creative ways to learn which are free or dirt cheap. We don't need a cottage industry called "higher ed". We are all smarter than to be using the failed system we are stuck with.