Thursday, May 10, 2007

Practical Education

M.R.S degrees, anyone? That is the latest suggestion for educational reform, at least according to Mike. That would be Professor Mike Adams, UNC-Greensboro criminology professor. In his May 7 column, Dr. Adams proposed with his tongue firmly in cheek that women, instead of taking Womens' Studies classes which he judges as being essentially worthless (and I largely agree with him) should instead take classes designed to help them be good mothers.

This is an excellent idea. Parenting is the most important job any of us will ever hold, and children do not come with handbooks, making the job much more difficult. I think that all of us- not just women- should have to take classes designed to help us with parenting. Since fewer and fewer people get these sorts of skills from their parents, maybe the education system can help out. Instead of running classes on racism and how to hate the United States, they can go back to the basics- the three Rs.

Essentially, colleges and high schools need to focus back on the core courses we expect our children to learn. Reading- all high school graduates ought to be able to read a newspaper and intelligently discuss any and all topics therein. Writing- the same students should be able to write literately and intelligibly anything from a term paper to a letter of condolence. And Arithmetic- everyone should be able to balance their chequebook, understand basic mathematical concepts and formulae and perform any needed math actions in daily life.

So what should colleges teach? Well, knowledge of one's culture is important, especially when it is taught from a perspective of pride, as opposed to dislike of one's culture. History, Latin, Greek, should all be basic components of an undergraduate education. Higher mathematics, starting from calculus should be offered for those interested. And higher science course, in the theoretical realms should also be offered, In addition, the skills for such fields as architecture, electrical engineering and other similar fields would be imparted.

College should not be for everyone. Let's tighten up the admission requirements, and make sure that university students are only those who really belong, not just those from the right ethnic or cultural background. And let's also do a better job of watching over the professors, so as to eliminate the ideological indoctrination that too many of the social sciences have turned into.

College is expensive. So let's get the government out of education. If you cannot afford college, but you are academically eligible and the college wants you, they ought to help out in the form of scholarships. And let's get rid of athletic scholarships. Scholarships should be reserved for those who excel in an academic or musical discipline, but who cannot afford to go otherwise. And of course, if the government got out of the education loan business, most tuition rates would come crashing down, as no one aside from a few of the super-rich can afford college tuition these days.

I seem to have diverged somewhat off to a tangent, but educational reform doesn't stop with the practical education suggested by Dr. Adams. It includes so many other factors as well. I don't intend this entry to be an end-all, but merely a start to the discussion. Anyone who cares to chime in, please feel free to comment as well.

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