Friday, June 04, 2010

Lowering the Bar

It’s not worrisome enough that people can “earn” a four-year college degree in two years, or work on their Bachelors and Masters at the same time, as some otherwise respectable schools claim. Now you can get college credit while working at Wal-Mart. I don’t mean by taking classes after work; I mean just doing your job.

Here’s my favorite:

Daniel Soto of Hardeeville, S.C., works full time at Wal-Mart as a zone manager supervisor, lending a hand in several departments. He had to give up college to work, but said he could see some of his duties translating to academia, such as the algebraic equations he uses to figure out how much merchandise will fit on a shelf or how much of a product to order.

"I do math all day at Wal-Mart," he said.

(I got that from the Washington Post, not The Onion.)

I’m not suggesting he’s anything but bright. Figuring shelf space is not what many would consider college-level math; this is ninth grade shit. Once it’s on his transcript, though, it might count for any number of degrees that could put him into a key decision-making position where someone actually does have to know college-level math.

The education bar gets lower every year in this country; pretty soon we’ll have to dig a trench for it. The Sole Heir attend the University of Maryland, not APU of one of the other for-profit “universities,” so her degree shouldn’t be cheapened much. What’s troubling is that these degrees will eventually become more commonly accepted, as people not well aware of educational standards just see “Bachelors Degree, XXX University” and think a university is a university.

You’re okay with for-profit colleges? Think about this. There are for-profit nursing schools out there, where the hands-on component of the education consists of watching someone else do it; everything else was online. These are accredited schools, mind you; the credentials of the accrediting agencies is open to conjecture. States, or groups of them, are okay with this standard of nursing, which is another argument for the nationalization of standards in some areas. Do you want to be passing through one of these states, have an accident, and find out your nurse has never actually inserted a catherter?

1 comment:

Charlieopera said...

Amen, brother. I'm more and more amazed at what passes for "college" these days. It has become just another big business with near zero standards, but it starts with public education systems that push kids out of schools rather than actually teach them/or require them to learn something. I went to a high school with 5,000 kids and there was no way they'd fail seniors about to graduate or within years the school would have 20,000 kids. Colleges saw the potential in repeat offenders (repeat tuition fees) and let EVERYBODY in. It's bullshit, pure and simple and we're all paying for it. I don't mind paying, but I want something for the bucks. I'm sure (without checking) there will soon be course work (or credit for course work) in text messaging.