[...] degrees in completely worthless fields, such as painting, psychology, literature, tribal studies, etc. , etc.
But how do you measure the "worth" of a field? A literature student might turn into a best-selling author indirectly creating hundreds of jobs. A physicist that's dealing with neutrinos, or that's trying to determine the dynamics in a supernova will not create a return on investment in our lifetime. After teaching my engineering students for a semester, I do enjoy walking through an art gallery and getting my mind off the board for a while. Not measurable but certainly a benefit. Same with psychology. Determining what makes some kids tick and being able to excite a loner into actively participating in the labs is highly rewarding. Yet, no direct return on investment.
As the leading nation in the free world we need to be more multi-faceted than just top engineers and mathematicians. After all, it is the thinkers that evolved our society to where we are. If it was for most scientists we would still hail to the king. "I will serve any system, as long as the system leaves me alone and pays for my research".
What concerns me much more with students in our engineering faculty these days is the inability to write a memo, manual, or paper. Most students can't put ten lines on paper without a dozen mistakes. My colleagues at other universities report the same. By the same token "sexy" programs like internetworking find their ways into secondary schools and replace traditional curricula. So, you end up with a 19-year old telecom specialist that needs a professional to write his resume.
posted on 07/17/2004 6:03:16 PM PDT
I'm not saying that we don't need those fields; I'm saying that we shouldn't be subsidizing them. We should target subsidies for secondary education at "targeted" professions, ones that are sorely needed. I mentioned the huge lack of advanced computer science degrees, but what about others? If Nanotechnology is supposed to be the "next big thing", shouldn't we be making an effort at getting our best and brightest into molecular chemistry and biology?
I've read that a major contributor the economic disaster called the 1970s was that all the flower children got "crap" degrees and couldn't apply them in the real world. So what did they do? They kept going to school. And when they still couldn't successfully integrate into society, they simply became faculty members. These flower children with crap degrees now fill our children's heads with mindless left-wing propaganda the the university.
Imagine if the government didn't pay for all those leftists to get worthless degrees? How would have the Vietnam-era scene on campus looked if government wasn't subsidizing the education of protesting students??? How would our current political scene look if none of today's leftists (and yesterday's college radicals) got a free education on how to destroy the capitalist system?
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