Who Says Schools Are For Learning?

I can’t say this story surprises me. But for the amount most people pay to go to college, it should make a lot of people angry. Well, it should, but I don’t know that it will. I bet many college students would actually be happy (in a way) to learn this information.

“Very little reading or writing? Sign me up!”

I don’t say that so much to criticize the individuals as I do to criticize our culture. College these days (I can’t speak beyond the 1990s) is considered more of a diploma factory than a center for learning. I’ve had multiple college professors tell me that students often think they should pass a course just by virtue of them attending class. Indeed, some professors make attendance a bulk of the grade, perhaps bolstering that belief.

But ask those kids (and adults) to work for a grade by reading and writing papers, and you may just have a revolt on your hands. Considering how tuition costs have skyrocketed in the last 30 years, I can hardly blame the students. When schooling puts you tens of thousands of dollars in debt at the outset of your adult life, it’s hard not to feel entitled to something for your investment. I paid for this diploma! I shouldn’t have to work for it!

Those different factors have contributed to the intellectual decline of our society compared to many other developed or developing nations. It’s not a good development.

This story addresses some of these issues:

45% Of Students Don’t Learn Much In College

From The Associated Press

You are told that to make it in life, you must go to college. You work hard to get there. You or your parents drain savings or take out huge loans to pay for it all.

And you end up learning … not much.

A study of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.

Not much is asked of students, either. Half did not take a single course requiring 20 pages of writing during their prior semester, and one-third did not take a single course requiring even 40 pages of reading per week.

The findings are in a new book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia. An accompanying report argues against federal mandates holding schools accountable, a prospect long feared in American higher education.

Read the rest here.

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