The Big Business of College

I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves – you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.

~Ray Bradbury ~

I was reading an article today about why the cost of higher education is through the roof.  Here’s the link:

I have a sound theory.  College isn’t about education anymore. It’s about business and making money. 
There are many courses that are required by universities in order to get a degree.  Many of these classes are irrelevant to what a person is going to do with their life.  When I started college eons ago, I needed 120 hours to get a degree.  That number has risen to almost 140.  Why? Because some brainiac figured out if they make a person take more hours, they get more money. 

Some classes I find obsurd are as follows:

Physical education is rather pointless. Unless someone is majoring in fitness / nutrition or has an interest in some kind of athletic activity, why are we making people pay a lot of money for something they can do on their own?  It is NOT the university’s job to make sure individuals are “in shape.” It is personal responsibility.

College algebra. Why is this necessary? Is it put in place so math teachers have jobs? I have never used it in my line of work, yet it was required to get a degree. (Yes, I’m bitter.)  That was a lot of money spent for a class that’s unnecessary for many individuals.

 Visual / Performing Arts.  With the utmost of seriousness, I ask WHY are we making people take classes in music, art appreciation, dance, theatre etc. I can understand if you are a liberal arts major, are majoring in an associated field or just have an interest in them.  But to force many people to take this class is insane.  I’m sure it falls under the “rounding out a person” category, but again most of the people I know have considered these classes pointless, trivial and a waste of funds. 

Humanities.  Here is the description of HUMA 1315 from a major university that falls into this category.  ” Selected topics from visual and performing arts and how, through their diversity, they interact, promoting an understanding of creativity. Fall, spring, summer I.”  WTF???

I also call into question other classes that are required for anyone seeking a college degree. Among them is your choice of 6 – 8 hours of science.  I understand it’s important to know a bit about how the natural world works. However, much of this should have been received in the previous 13 years of education.  Why are we forcing people to take a science class when it may not have any bearing on what they are choosing to do with their lives?  It’s a bit like college algebra in that regard.

Another questionable class is Speech or Interpersonal Communications or what have you. If you are going to do something in life that requires you to get up in front of people and speak, it makes sense.  However, if you are not, why are we subjecting those people to taking this class? I don’t get it.

Right now educational institutions need to do an about face and do what’s right for the students and not their bottom line. Colleges and universities really need to focus on education that matters.
Albert Einstein said it best… “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”


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