Friday, March 13, 2009

The value of a college education

Yay! New entry, which means I have made a significant enough dent in my assessment pile to lift my silence. It was due to the all-nighter I pulled last night, accompanied by a cold pizza and my wife who ensured I stay awake and alert that my conscience is clear today.

One of the things I'm grading is an essay on the relevance of a university education today. I'm quite disturbed by the number of responses that say otherwise, and the reason (note the the singular) they give is that Bill Gates (he went to Havard!), Einstein (he got his PhD at 26 years of age!) and Thomas Edison (homeschooled) didn't have college degrees and still made a success of themselves.

That argument is wrong on at least three levels: 1) The facts are off base; 2) these three are outstanding individuals and hence non-representative of the general population; and 3) to consider the three as representative of 'today' requires some discussion on how they contributed to creating the world as we know it today, otherwise we have to consider two of the three as recent history and hence dismiss them as irrelevant to the discussion. Am I being too strict?

Only eight and a half months to throttle up their secondary school prattle to undergrad standard. I forsee a breathless run to the end of the year. But if there's one thing that'll keep me motivated, it's my own belief in the value of a university education, regardless of what the kids are saying.

I'm flipping through STI, and I'm thinking I was so close to being this guy. I don't want my kids to end up like him either.

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