Are colleges to blame for slackers?

Saturday 06 September 2014 at 03:07 am.

Are colleges to blame for slackers?

Joe - I agree with you on political correctness having run amok in America, even though we are kind of opposites, you being libertarian in nature, and my having a liberal bent (although I don't call myself "a liberal," just "liberal").

I'm also horrified about what has happened to our colleges and universities, so watered-down they've become a travesty, a sick joke. But we still do have the serious majors, from engineering to mathematics to physics to the est of the serious sciences to medicine and law and all the rest.   Russ

Russ : I believe the article; I was a trustee of saint joseph college run the the sisters of mercy, they are almost like the  like Jesuits.  
I had many a discussion about the futility of a liberal education.  The last time I checked, 24% of the college grads from 2010 were working at jobs requiring only a high school education; and it is going to get worse.

I am giving a presentation on 9/11 to my luncheon club about 200 guys, mostly retired executives.  My topic is the NIC report Global Trends 2030.   My lead comments revolve around:  American is in retreat, but not in decline;  we are resurging big time over Russia, Japan, the EU and particularly China, BECAUSE of demographics, aging populations and declining workforces, and CULTURAL CHANGES because of the increasing dominance of the Muslim population and sharia law.

But here in the USA, we have been saved by illegal immigration on two fronts:  (1) our population is still growing out to the years 2050 when we will peak at 500 million;  (2) our culture remains rooted in Hispanic Christianity.  However we will have high unemployment for many years weith many, many unfilled jobs because students are not qualified. 

Most USA students are getting politically correct education on bullshit subjects (looking forward to our new world orders).

Going forward only math, physics, chemistry, engineering, economics, nursing, criminal justice, etc will count.

The rest of the kids do not know anything:  and here is an important point:  they cannot reason correctly because it is impossible to reason correctly in a politically correct environment.  Political correctness defies logic and logical thinking.  It is a pity.

Another sad point is that many of the unfilled technical jobs in the USA will be filled by foreigners, living abroad, but interacting with fellow workers in the USA though the internet.  Some corporations, traditionally thought of as USA companies will be able to harness the brains of smart, educated workers all over the world.  This will give these corporations terrific leverage on our feckless Federal Government;  and it is mentioned in the Global Trends 2030 Report.  joe

Many recent college graduates are struggling to become self-supporting adults, and their alma maters deserve some of the blame.

That's the conclusion of a new book, "Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates," written by two sociologists who rocked the higher-education world in 2010 with blockbuster research that concluded that many students were learning next to nothing in college.

Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia became household names in college circles several years ago when their original book, "Academically Adrift," indicted colleges for creating campus environments that coddle and entertain students rather than challenge them. The sociologists concluded that more than one in three college seniors were no better at writing, critical thinking and reasoning than they were as freshmen. In addition, many of the students who did grow intellectually showed only minor progress.

In their latest research, Arum and Roska explored what happened to 1,000 of the 2,300 students they began studying as undergraduates in the mid 2000's. These young Americans graduated from a wide cross-section of four-year schools, including private liberal arts colleges, state universities and historically black universities, making them a representative sample.

The findings are equally depressing, and seem to point to the generally poor educations many young people are getting in college. Among the lowlights:

  • 24 percent of the college graduates in the study sample were living with their parents
  • 74 percent of graduates were getting financial help from their families
  • Only 47 percent of graduates in the labor market had full-time jobs that paid at least $30,000 a year
  • 23 percent of graduates in the labor market were unemployed or underemployed

The researchers defined underemployed as working less than 20 hours per week or having a job where most employees have not completed at least one year of college. They also found that many recent graduates had difficulty developing stable romantic relationships and that they were not civically engaged.

Arum and Roska lay a great deal of the blame for these grim statistics on colleges, arguing that the institutions have focused on offering fun rather than rigorous academics. In other words, schools simply don't require much from their students beyond making sure that somebody is paying their tab.

"Rather than challenge students who come in with limited academic interests and overly narrow ideas about the purpose of college," the authors writte, "we too often ask little in terms of commitment and offer little in terms of direction."

The co-authors suggest that schools can no longer be content with the status quo and instead must "collectively commit ourselves to raise academic standards, design rigorous curriculum program and work to improve instruction, advising and mentoring. This is in the best interest of our students, our institutions and society at large."

Students who thrive

There is some good news in the study.

The students who did work harder in college and managed to improve in their writing and critical thinking skills have fared much better than the slackers. The researchers used a test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment to measure academic growth. Those with higher CLA scores were far less likely to be unemployed, while those with low scores were nearly twice as likely to lose the jobs they did find. Students who bombed on the test were also 50 percent more likely to be stuck in an unskilled job.

Remarkably, these struggling graduates remained upbeat about their future prospects. Ninety-five percent of the graduates said that their lives would be the same or better than their parents.

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