February 27, 2012

"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."

"You're good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to tests that aren't taught by some liberal college professor."

That's something Rick Santorum said on Saturday. On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos asked him: "Now getting to college has been part of the American dream for generations, Senator. Why does articulating an aspiration make the president a snob?"

Santorum observes that "there are lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don't include college."
And to sort of lay out there that somehow this... should be everybody's goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don't go to college and don't want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them.
Stephanopoulos reminds him that he said on Glenn Beck's show that "Obama wants to send every kid to college, because they are indoctrination mills. What did that mean?" Santorum says everybody knows that "how liberal our colleges and universities are and how many children in fact are." Conservatives are "singled out" and "ridiculed." He said that he "personally... was docked for my conservative views."

(I genuinely wondered what he meant by saying he was docked, looked it up on line, and ended up in the Urban Dictionary. What a distraction! Anyway, I think he means "docked" in the sense of deprived of some benefits. But, in light of recent discussions of Satan, it might mean he had his tail removed or shortened.)

Santorum continues, going on about the "real problems at our college campuses with political correctness" and "politically correct left doctrine." Then he says he wants to "to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors." I wonder how a President might go about making sure of something like that? I would think that one of the conservative principles that made America great is the President sticking to the proper work of the President.

2 things stand out to me here:

1. Obama is the university professor, promoting the product/process that lifted him up and that he bestowed on others. His vanity/self-esteem are all wrapped up in the ideology of education. But Santorum's self-image is that of the student. He was oppressed and bullied. He still feels angry and ripped off. Which attitude resonates more with the American people today? That is, do Americans identify with the professor or the student?

2. The important thing, in my view, is that every young person in America — regardless of their cultural and economic background — needs to see clearly that they can get a higher education — that they belong there if they choose to go there — and that they have a choice that should be based on what will work out well for them. They should to go to college for a good reason, and one particularly good reason is to study science and engineering. If they are going to study in some softer, less career-oriented area, the mushy notion that everybody ought to go to college is not enough, even if the President of the United States tells them it is.

178 comments:

Jay said...

to see clearly that they can get a higher education — that they belong there if they choose to go there —

Does this include the 50% of people who can't graduate in six years?

Do they really "belong" in collge?

MadisonMan said...

Santorum graduated from University Park with a BA (Poli Sci) in 1980 (two years before I graduated -- I do not recall hearing his name even though he led the College Republicans). My hometown is really quite conservative -- people I voted for never won. That fact that he feels he was docked for his Conservative Views says more about his paranoia than anything else.

rhhardin said...

I went to college when keeping the girls' dorms safe was the administration's chief plan.

Crimso said...

"that they belong there if they choose to go there"

I disagree. They belong there if they have: a) made the choice; b) have the aptitude (many who are in college don't); and c) see the education being provided as a privilege, and dedicate themselves to the opportunity appropriately. And yes, I do mean "privilege" regardless of how much they pay for it. Looking at it any other way results in a view of them simply paying the "fee" for the degree (and a depressing number of them seem to think that is exactly how it works).

Jay said...

But Santorum's self-image is that of the student. He was oppressed and bullied.

A fair question to Santorum would be why did the then go to law school?

Triangle Man said...

docked

He received a lower grade because of his conservative views.

Michael said...

When I taught in the University it was my opinion that each student be given a diploma upon registering as a Freshman. Then only those who want to learn would hang around. Since then I have amended my thinking and believe each person should be given a degree upon birth.

Our president is not aware of the hoards of illiterates turned out by our high schools? Does he believe that colleges will fix this?

Triangle Man said...

But Santorum's self-image is that of the student. He was oppressed and bullied.

He was President of the College Republicans and he felt bullied for his views? How about he grows a pair.

fleetusa said...

"...to study science and engineering"

Amen. We have enough mush heads graduating with few real world skills.

Robert Cook said...

I sent to college in the 70s, in the immediate post-60s environment, and I never found there to be any "liberal indoctrination" going on in any of the classes I took, (and I was conservative at the time, and a registered Republican).

It goes without saying that students in college will be exposed to information--and opinion--that are new to them...if this were not the case, why go to college? This does not count as indoctrination, and any college campus one will visit will have its own conservative student organizations as it will probably also have liberal student organizations. There are also plenty of religious groups on campus that students may join.

Santorum is an anti-rationalist demagogue and religious zealot, and a lying little shit.

Triangle Man said...

They should to go to college for a good reason, and one particularly good reason is to study science and engineering.

Only if they are good at this. The last thing we need is more inept scientists and engineers.

If they are going to study in some softer, less career-oriented area, the mushy notion that everybody ought to go to college is not enough, even if the President of the United States tells them it is.

Like learning to read critically, formulate ideas, and communicate them effectively through writing?

Triangle Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeDC said...

It's too bad Santorum is such a nut about other things, because on this he makes a huge amount of sense.

In fact, it's even worse that he's a nut, because it taints otherwise very reasonable views that need to be given voice.

roesch/voltaire said...

Not every "student" takes the perspective of Santorum as seen in the positive comments from them in the form of millions of dollars in contributions to their Alum so I do not think this is an either or category. But Given the reality of the loss of manufacturing jobs in this country and the need for increased skills of many kinds to even find a job, Santorum's comments show just how out of touch he is. Now he could have said there are many kinds of skills that can be obtained in a two year colleges, which is why enrollment is up, as well as four year colleges, but instead he plays the class resentment card. Interesting that one of the complains many engineers make is that their schedule doesn't allow them to take those "softer" classes which they actually desire, so I think there still is hope for the humanities, even though they are so dangerous!

bagoh20 said...

The supply of the college educated exceeds the demand, and the supply of hand skilled people who can actually help me today is in crisis.

On the rare occasions when you need a college educated person's help, it's often to counter the damage done by some other college educated person using their education. Examples: lawsuits, regulations, taxes; and the work just never get completely done.

When I call a skilled plumber or carpenter, I usually end up accomplishing something real, tangible and lasting for my money.

Of course the exceptions are the sciences.

I believe a lot of what is taught in college could benefit from a trade type methodology, where you learn exactly what you will be doing, and then actually do it as an apprentice before being unleashed on the public with a credential.

It seems that a lot of education is designed to let you avoid deciding what you will do for a living until after you finish learning a lot of possibly...maybe...kinda related stuff.

MadisonMan said...

What Stephanopolous should have asked Santorum: Do you donate money to Penn State?

Jim said...

Maybe it's a regional thing, but to me it's obvious what "docked" meant- as Triangle Man pointed out, it means that his grade was lowered. I'm surprised that you needed to look this up, Althouse.

I'm not a fan of Santorum's, but I agree with his point completely.

bagoh20 said...

College is currently best suited to creating professors. It's pretty much the only work you see being done everyday when you are there, except for the trade people busy keeping the place functioning, but they are invisible.

Jim said...

I should've said that I agreed with Santorum's point completely about college not being for everyone.

Synova said...

It's a lot like insisting that every child needs to read, and by "read" we mean "love to read novels." Saying that everyone should go to college does imply both that everyone should want to, should aspire to and should prefer the jobs college brings. And that an economy where everyone does that is a viable economy.

I'm going to college now mostly because going to college is the easiest choice. I can accumulate debt easily, and if it's more than a technical certificate or trade school, it is still far more available.

It doesn't matter that I'd prefer a certificate and a job or that my preferences would cost less in tax funded subsidies. Just like kids are supposed to read novel length fiction y society has decided that university is best. For everyone.

Granted, I'm doing my best to make chorus that are primarily financially sound... treating college as if it is a trade school, but the general result of this is that students believe (with evidence...) that Angry Studies are just as desired as Nursing or Engineering.

Lyssa said...

MadMan said: My hometown is really quite conservative -- people I voted for never won. That fact that he feels he was docked for his Conservative Views says more about his paranoia than anything else.

This doesn't really follow, logically. My college town is very, very conservative, but I still encountered a lot of absurdly hard left, blame America for everything professors. (I wouldn't say that they "docked" me at all, but it was still enough that it was a major turn-off to my continuing my education.)

Oddly, I didn't find that to be as much of the case in law school.

Ann Althouse said...

I want young people to see that there is a clear path to go to college but that they should make an informed choice about whether to go.

If they go somewhere where they can't meet the standard, or they don't work hard enough, then they haven't made a good choice.

I want people to think clearly and take responsibility for their choices. And I don't want them held back by a feeling that they don't belong in that milieu, that it's for other people.

Synova said...

Choices, not chorus... handwriting recognition makes interesting interpretations.

Lyssa said...

RV said: Interesting that one of the complains many engineers make is that their schedule doesn't allow them to take those "softer" classes which they actually desire, so I think there still is hope for the humanities, even though they are so dangerous!


Engineering students want to take the classes because they are easy and because they are kind of fun, not because they would be useful at all to them.

Sounds like you could do with a little bit more of that critical thinking yourself.

Bob Ellison said...

Well said, Professor (original post and also the comment).

RonF said...

Everyone needs some fashion of education after of high school. But I don't think that education needs to be in college. There's a lot of people who are making very good livings without going to college - a lot of them much better livings than some people who DID go to college. But they need to be skills that are in demand and the education/training needs to be thorough and demanding.

Aridog said...

Obama has a fascinating concept, but I wonder where he got the idea. Does he think that a college degree is the major measure of a man or woman. Given his own privileged upbringing, no ghetto child he, I suspect it is for him.

Triangleman's comment: Like learning to read critically, formulate ideas, and communicate them effectively through writing? ... is something certainly almost anyone could benefit from ... especially today because it doesn't seem to be developed in High School anymore. That said, a couple of the most innovative young men of our day are both college drop outs.

I wonder if President Obama realizes that even the manual skilled trades apprenticeships today require a fair amount of college at the junior college level. Difference is that as an apprentice you earn while you learn, gain experience while you qualify as a Journeyman. What a concept.

If college cost what it does today, with the debt burden involved, I can assure you I'd have skipped all of it except that I needed in skilled trades. I damn sure would not have dug a 6 figure hole to crawl out of post graduation. Looking back, I suspect I'd have been happier in skilled trades as well.

RonF said...

MadisonMan, just because a town is conservative doesn't mean that the school was. Often quite the opposite.

bagoh20 said...

If you are conservative, you will be docked in may ways in college at the personal and institutional level. It continues at most government jobs, and at least half of all private industry. It's the power of PC, and it affects everyone, because violating PC rules gets you in a lot of trouble. I'm conservative, and I'm an employer, and I hate most PC crap, but I have to admit that I also follow it to some degree, because the hassle and legal cost of violating these unwritten rules is just not worth it on a daily basis.

I have a dream that higher education would be an escape from that, but of course that's where it's created, so I continue to dream of a people free to learn it all unfettered...somewhere. Maybe that somewhere is only here online.

Jay said...

Related reading on the topic:

[T]oday's college degree is the equivalent of the 1950's high school diploma," Clarey writes

Crimso said...

"And I don't want them held back by a feeling that they don't belong in that milieu, that it's for other people."

That's the mandatory flip side to discouraging students who aren't serious. There certainly are people who would absolutely shine in college who don't think it's for people like them (many of our students are first-generation college students). We need to strike a balance between throwing the doors wide open vs. making it invitation-only.

RonF said...

Triangle Man said:

Like learning to read critically, formulate ideas, and communicate them effectively through writing?

Well, yes - everyone should learn these things. They SHOULD learn them in High School. Recent studies have shown that they DON'T learn them in college, however. So sending your kid to college is not the way to ensure that he or she develops these skills.

coolkevs said...

I'm trying to convince my 17-year-old nephew who definitely seems to be brilliant in computers not to even bother, but the indoctrination is so steep that it's hard to push through. For sure, I got an advanced degree, but to do what I'm doing today (computer programming) I don't think I needed one or two courses if not learning it from the book. Indeed, the experiences of college were fun, sometimes not so fun, and it was a nice stop along the way to adulthood, but necessary? In most cases, I think not.

Jay said...

Ann,

your post unintentionally reveals the racial element to this issue too.

White men are fleeing college.

While Obama was a privlidged student because of his race, those who can relate to Santorum's views were obviously not.

Bender said...

If EVERYONE should go to college, and every job is one that requires a college degree, and you are a complete nothing unless you do go to college, then let's just extend high school by another four years, and maybe they will learn then what they should have been taught the first four years of high school.

Old RPM Daddy said...

"Saying that everyone should go to college does imply both that everyone should want to, should aspire to and should prefer the jobs college brings. And that an economy where everyone does that is a viable economy."

I'm not sure that everyone should aspire to college, or to the types of jobs college brings. Why would you want that? I'm with those commenting here that people should have some kind of education after they leave high school, but there are lots of ways to do that, and I suspect the education model in this country will be changing more quickly than ever before in the coming years.

roesch/voltaire said...

Oh Lyssa that is such a simple and condescending explanation; I refer you to the article written by Brent Srong, and engineer, entitled, "Why Engineers Should Read Shakespeare" which resonated well with my engineering students for some further insights.

Rusty said...

Looking back, I suspect I'd have been happier in skilled trades as well.

Even today skilled trades need a good high school education.
I've been a journeyman machinist for years and have taught apprentices. It isn't for dummies. The very least you'll need is a good grounding in geometry and you have to know how to read and comprehend what you read. I'm not going to waste my time teaching somebody stuff they should have learned in sophomore math. and eighth grade english.

James said...

What percentage of the "greatest generation" attended college?

Jim Howard said...

I have a point of protocol question.

Professor Ann, you're a real 'Professor'.

I am a former 'adjacent lecturer' in computer science at our local junior college. Just as Obama was a part time lecturer teaching a law course.

Is it OK with you if I call myself 'Professor Jim'?

Because my understanding is that part-timer lecturers like me and Obama are not 'Professors'.

I always thought that to call myself a 'Professor' would have been the academic equivilent of Stolen Valor.

traditionalguy said...

The kids who want an education usually find a way to go.

The kids who want to enjoy their 18-19 years eating, sleeping and screwing also go until they are weeded out.

The problem is the waste of time the second group imposes on everyone.

The good thing is that many of the second group finally learn to read while they are in College's remedial education classes.

Bender said...

Let's do Obama one better in elitism --

Everyone should go to graduate school.

And then after getting a master's degree, everyone should go on and work toward their Ph.D.

Rather than people going out into the world and getting a real job, everyone ought to preparing that dissertation well into their 50s and 60s.

We should all be professional students getting our learning from "experts," rather than actually believe that all real learning happens AFTER you get off your ass and go to work.

Tim said...

"...but that they should make an informed choice about whether to go."

This is not very likely to happen. College education is now as much a class marker as it is of anything else; most all the cultural values of America's middle and upper classes point to "go to college to make something of your life."

It is to this point Obama spoke. It is beyond obvious the recipients of transfer payments are already on the plantation for him; his statement is meant to appeal to middle class voters worried about the high cost of college education.

Regardless, Santorum's point is entirely accurate: the economic value of a college degree is now less than ever before (it might be the one thing the idiots with "Occupy Whatever" have right); America's educational establishment is exceptionally biased toward the academic track - the scarcity of vocational ed programs in public schools is scandalous - and it won't fix itself. Relying upon those within the educational industrial complex, who benefit from tenure or irrationally high employment and retirement benefits, to reform itself is utterly foolish.

As for the ideology of academia, duh. I once had a tenured professor inform us that Mao killed fewer people than Hitler, and that even if he had killed as many, or even many more than Hitler, it was ok, because Mao was at least trying to modernize China.

In the end, my idiot liberal professors, and the things they said, made me a conservative. The thirty or so years that have passed since then have done nothing to change my assessment that American academia is irretrievably intellectually corrupt, in the service of ideology.

MikeDC said...

And I don't want them held back by a feeling that they don't belong in that milieu, that it's for other people.

That's only half of the issue at best. Do you want them pushed in by a feeling that if they don't jump into "that milieu" they're not good enough?

Lyssa said...

R-V, what's wrong with reading Shakesphere in high school?

bearing said...

"docked" in an academic context definitely means "received a lower grade." Usage:

"Even though I got the answer right, I got docked seven points on the test for not showing enough work."

I'm surprised the professor was unaware of this usage! Maybe it is a regionalism? (I'm from Ohio originally.)

karrde said...

I think every student that wants to attend college should spend a year apprenticing with a tradesman of some kind.

Welder, electrician, carpenter, auto mechanic, plumber, roofer, electrical linesman, etc.

After that year, they will
(A) have a broadened mind about what manual labor means, and what skills are necessary to keep a complex civilization running
(B) have some marketable skill to fall back on if they don't do well in school

MadisonMan said...

MadisonMan, just because a town is conservative doesn't mean that the school was. Often quite the opposite.

But not at Penn State in the late 70s.

There was an element of ultra-leftism there, as I recall, that was met mostly with eyerolls. Far more prevalent were the Social Conservatives (although even they rolled their eyes at Brother Jed preaching in front of Willard Hall).

I admit my views are colored by spending most of my time in classes in the Colleges of EMS and Science. But my times in the dorms and elsewhere color my views of Santorum's whining.

MadisonMan said...

I'm also surprised Althouse had to look up 'docked' in the context of grades.

If a Student hands in bad work, are they docked because the work is bad or because the student has political views that run counter to the professor? Santorum suggests the latter but provides no evidence.

Whiner.

John Lynch said...

An eye-opening experience was when I took my "physics for liberal arts dummies" course. I did really well- highest grade in the class. I had a great time, asked a lot of questions, and soaked up basic quantum mechanics (really basic) and special relativity. Then there was Global Warming day.

All of a sudden, questions were unwelcome. The prof couldn't tell me why the current warming was different than past episodes. The class got hostile. And I'd been acting the same way about every other topic all semester.

The prof wasn't a climatologist- he was a physicist and a nuclear engineer. So, why was he teaching climate? Because he had to.

That's indoctrination.

Robert Cook said...

"There was an element of ultra-leftism there, as I recall, that was met mostly with eyerolls. Far more prevalent were the Social Conservatives (although even they rolled their eyes at Brother Jed preaching in front of Willard Hall)."

Could that have been Jed Smock? Holey Moley! He and his minions used to show up to rant on the plaza in front of the library at the University of Florida, where I attended school in the mid-70s.

MadisonMan said...

The prof wasn't a climatologist- he was a physicist and a nuclear engineer. So, why was he teaching climate? Because he had to.

It's never a good idea to teach material you are unfamiliar with, because you can't answer questions. Usually when that happens to me, I'll get back to the student. It sounds like your prof went the imperious me route and tried to bluff his way out. Ugh.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

College for everybody! How can a kid expect to get through life without taking Queer Studies courses and paying off student loans until he's 50?

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/09/student-loan-bubble-deflating-just-bit.html

Aridog said...

karrde said...

I think every student that wants to attend college should spend a year apprenticing with a tradesman of some kind.

Not a bad idea. Way back in the olden days (1960's) University of Wisconsin Engineering students had to take 18 week each courses in machining, metal working, and welding ... as foundation for what theory they were going to be learning. I still have the tools I made in those classes in my tool box.

SteveR said...

The problem with the attitude that everybody should go to college is that its not necessary. Plenty of people do quite well without it and many who do go, get degrees of questionable value that come with massive debt.

That serves the academics well, but who else? Costs have skyrocketed, as money has become easy to get, not because the product is more valuable. Like printing more money...inflation. The "higher education bubble" is very real and naturally Obama is clueless.

Paddy O said...

The important thing, in my view, is that every young person in America — regardless of their cultural and economic background — needs to see clearly that they can get a higher education — that they belong there if they choose to go there — and that they have a choice that should be based on what will work out well for them.

Yes! This is what is important. Possibilities and options,that allow for each person to be who they want to be.

I have now about 11 years of higher education behind me. None in science or engineering. But, I loved the learning. I went to a liberal arts college and studied history and loved the topics. I loved learning, and I was always frustrated by the people who were there for all sorts of different reasons. And they were frustrated to.

Meanwhile, for far too many it delays adolescence, with the bacchanalia more important than the BA. It's a waste of time. That's not an elitist thing, that's a reality that people are wired differently. It's like so much of public schooling itself. Three quarters of it is useless use of time, requiring a mad dash afterwards (in homework or practical job training), to actually do the hard work of learning what is important.

Cut out that time wasting, and get to the actual worthwhile part, people get started earlier, more focused, more possibilities open up.

Education is great as a foundation for a thoughtful life, but really all that can be taught prior to college. Then, the enjoyment of life that takes place in the context of responsibility (which is the adult life) would replace the wastrel life of an entire generation of temporarily idle rich.

damikesc said...

Like learning to read critically, formulate ideas, and communicate them effectively through writing?

Colleges ceased doing that type of thing a long time ago.

John said...

Ann said:


"1. Obama is the university professor,"

This is a lie and you know better. Especialy you, who actually are a professor, know better.

Obama has never been a university or any other kind of professor.

He taught some classes as an adjunct. I seem to recall that his actual title was "Adjunct lecturer" but he might have been an "instructor" or "teacher".

NEVER a professor.

FWIW: I have been teaching at university for more than 30 years and have never been a professor. I have generally been an "adjunct instructor", sometimes "adjunct lecturer" depending on the school.

John Henry

Old RPM Daddy said...

@Robert Cook: "Could that have been Jed Smock?"

For us in the 80s it was Brother Max Lynch and his associated cast.

MadisonMan said...

You, a Law Instructor just doesn't have the same cachet.

And yes, It was Jed Smock. His favorite word, as I recall, was fornicate.

Pastafarian said...

I can't believe that Obama ever said anything so stupid as "everybody in America [should] go to college."

Did he actually say this?

It's indefensibly stupid. He might just as well suggest that everyone attend med school and become surgeons, because it pays so well; and then everyone in America will be upper-middle-class.

Even if he didn't say this: It's bad enough, though, that Obama wants to actually increase the number of Americans going to college. And it's amazing that Althouse appears to be defending this notion, and responding to Santorum's reasonable critique as if it's coming from his own prejudices and butt-hurt feelings from being "docked" for his political views.

Have you not heard of the education bubble, Althouse? Maybe you've heard of this site where they discuss it often; an obscure little place called Instapundit.

X said...

tied to a pier. of socialism.

Col Mustard said...

Obama's FOS.

Imagine that every 18-year-old in the country showed up on college doorsteps every year.

How many more teachers would be needed... administrators... facilities... scholarships... grants... 'programs'?????

And, you know what? In a few short months (if not sooner) many of the 'students' would be long gone. I did a semester in a CA community college when I was in my 40s. Enrollment was listed as about 20,000. At the end of the term about a third of the people were showing up.

Maybe there should be entrance exams... EEK!!! Frankly, it's harder to qualify for enlistment in the military than admission to college. On top of that, the military (esp. navy and air force) will teach and 18-year-old how to do something useful in a year.

Sending EVERYONE to college for four years would be an enormous waste of time and resources.

roesch/voltaire said...

Lyssa what's wrong with reading Shakespeare in college or even attending his plays after graduation? You are missing the point-- engineers and scientist need to develop the ability to think about and discuss their work from a broad and comprehensive viewpoint. They need some critical non-technical skills ranging from understanding marketing, patents, and poetry etc. in order to understand multiple viewpoints.

Moneyrunner said...

(I genuinely wondered what he meant by saying he was docked, looked it up on line, and ended up in the Urban Dictionary. What a distraction! Anyway, I think he means "docked" in the sense of deprived of some benefits. But, in light of recent discussions of Satan, it might mean he had his tail removed or shortened.)

What a genuinely snotty way of ending that comment. Is it to cover your provincialism?

bagoh20 said...

What exactly can you learn in a university that you can't learn without it?

The whole thing is a scam in 2012. It's just buying credentialed class standing and nothing more. You pay other people enormous sums to tell you what to learn, and then have them judge you on it.

In 2012 and onward, with information what it is, it's just a rip off. There used to be libraries and special knowledge that was sequester away in these places, and you needed to buy access. That is long gone and it's not coming back, yet the price keeps rising. Something has got to give soon.

The education industry will fight, but will they hang on to their rent seeking bonanza.

Of course there is the high concentration of hot people your age, and the parties. All this paid for by your parents or a loan while you continue to ride that adolescence. That's hard to beat and will continue to be a big selling point.

Bruce Hayden said...

I went to college when keeping the girls' dorms safe was the administration's chief plan.

And, I went when we were transitioning. My freshman year, there was intervisitation twice a week, and my sophomore year, the men were supposed to be limited to noon to midnight, Sun-Thurs, and until 2 on Friday and Saturday.

It turns out that I was probably the first guy to move into the freshman women's dorm (or, is it the freshwomen's dorm?) It was a pain though, since I was stuck there until noon, which meant that I couldn't take any morning classes. Second semester that year, I moved into a single in the fraternity house, which worked much better (except that we had to add locks to the restrooms).

Peano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Wow, Brother Jed at Willard, haven't thought about that for awhile.

I graduated with a BA in 78 and a Master's in '80 at University Park. Over the years Penn State has been home to some of the worst PC excesses in the country--just do a search at FIRE's site sometime. In the grand sweep of things it was still relatively early days for those kinds of abuses, though I wasn't highly political at the time plus I styled myself as a Kennedy Democrat back then so I wouldn't have noticed as much. The liberal worldview was prevalent.

Triangle Man said...

The supply of the college educated exceeds the demand, and the supply of hand skilled people who can actually help me today is in crisis.

@bagoh

The demand is still there. Employers are still asking for the Bachelors degree. It's going to take a lot of employers backing off of that requirement to get reduction in demand.

Roux said...

College is not for everyone. Many would be better off with some training and a quicker path to a career.

FWIW Many enter college and spend 4 or 5 aimless years running up student loans. Finally graduating with a meaningless degree and the equivalent of a 30 year mortgage.

How is that a good thing for anyone?

wild chicken said...

hoards of illiterates

adjacent lecturer

And they were frustrated to.


These higher ed posts bring out the best in commenters, don't they?

Elle said...

"If EVERYONE should go to college, and every job is one that requires a college degree, and you are a complete nothing unless you do go to college, then let's just extend high school by another four years, and maybe they will learn then what they should have been taught the first four years of high school."

- Bender

My thoughts exactly. Yes please Mr. Obama, every American should go to college. That would solve our education problems for sure.

Neither one of my parents attended college, yet could out reason most colleagues on any given day. The amount of discrimination they faced amazed me, and propelled them to ensure a higher education for both of their children. This was in the '80s.

Higher education snobbery chaps my hide, and I have a degree.

Dan Hobby said...

What Obama actually said:
"I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity."

As published in that lefty publication, Parade Magazine (http://www.parade.com/news/2009/01/barack-obama-letter-to-my-daughters.html)

Joanne Jacobs said...

President Obama has said that every American should get at least a year of postsecondary education or training. (High school graduates who earn one-year vocational certificates often raise their earnings significantly, though it depends on the field.)

In addition, he wants 55 percent of young Americans to earn an associate or bachelor's degree by 2025 so the U.S. can be first in the world in college graduates.

Bruce Hayden said...

What I don't think that he is taking into consideration is that not everyone is qualified to go to college. Remember, IQ is distributed on a bell curve, and that means that half the population is below average in that area. What this means is that college classes are beyond the ability of a large minority of people in this world, and any attempt to reduce the rigor of classes to address this, will reduce the value of a college education.

Also, a lot of high schools fail to prepare most of their kids for college. And, that means that those underprepared students need to either take a couple years of classes without credit to catch up, or colleges will start giving credit for late middle school through high school classes.

Any of this will, by necessity, reduce the value of a college degree. And, what about those kids who did take AP classes in high school? In those subjects, they may be coming into college 2-3 years (or more) ahead of the least qualified, esp. if Obama has his way here. Should they get to just skip their undergraduate years, or maybe their first 2-3 years? (Already happening to some extent, with some students effectively entering as sophomores).

I think that there are a couple of things behind this push by Obama. First, there is the progressive desire for equality of outcomes, as opposed to equality of opportunity. And, since college degrees give their recipients advantages in the work force, it would apparently be more fair if everyone could have one.

The other thing is that college students are a recipient/leisure class. They delay entering the work force until their early, to mid, to late 20s, and during that time, are dependent upon others, and, ultimately, the government, during that time. And, for the Dems, what is not to like about that? A new dependency constituency that wants to delay facing the reality of supporting themselves.

bgates said...

Once upon a time in California, I was a high school teacher. One day a girl transferred in to my pre-algebra class, on a day when I gave the kids a few minutes in class to start on their homework, page [who cares], 1-15, odds only.

The new girl raised her hand and asked, "Does that mean one, and three...?"

"That's right," I replied.

"...and five...?" She faltered.
"...and...s-seven?"

She wasn't putting me on. She was a diligent worker, and a nice kid, and it took as much mental effort for her to calculate the set of odd numbers between one and fifteen as any of us expended in a semester of calculus.

I'm not sure if Obama thinks he would benefit if that girl were weighed down with tens of thousands of dollars in debt she can never repay, or if "college for everyone" is a soundbite as cynical and empty as "net spending cut" was, or if he thinks people like that girl should be identified in the womb and aborted so the only live births in the country are people who are capable of earning a four year degree.

Incidentally, I checked the girl's transcript later on. She had transferred from a school in Oakland, where she had been enrolled in a geometry class. The grade on the transcript was a B.

Ken said...

I finished a master's degree a couple years ago at the University of Maryland and can verify that as a conservative/libertarian, I am not welcome there. In fact, that's the main reason I got my master's, instead of finishing a PhD. I started a PhD program, so that I could potentially teach or work in a college or university sometime in the future. However, the few years I spent in grad school cured me of that ambition. The hostility is open and non-liberals are constantly derided; the hostility comes from the faculty, staff, and students (grad students mainly; undergrads are far less likely to be aggressively liberal the way grad students are). With that experience, I simply finished my master's and left academia for good and have no intention of ever going back.

Alex said...

Notice it's all broken down again. The Althouse hillbillies are all supporting Santorum's paranoid view and the lefties are all touting the joys of studying anything but STEM subjects. A pox on all your houses.

Holmes said...

Only 30% of Americans graduate with a college degree now. To get to 100% would require a massive transfer of wealth and resources to...Oh.

bagoh20 said...

"The demand is still there. Employers are still asking for the Bachelors degree."

Many do, for sure, but in my experience of hiring hundreds of people the degree is with all other things being equal, a negative.

People with a degree are looking for a job where that alone gives them something to be paid for. They soon find that the things they learned have little application in the real world, and they far under-perform against people with a couple years of work experience who didn't attend college.

I'm really in the position of telling them: I'll hire you at minimum wage for a year until I reeducate you and then we can talk real salary.

This is why internships are so common. You can't pay people much just for having a college degree. Sure they learned a lot of stuff, but it's just not all that useful.

This is, of course, not true in many high tech fields, but it is in the majority of jobs out there, which require skills just not taught in college. The basic reading, writing and math are very useful, but that used to be high school stuff.

Peano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tarzan said...

I went to a state college in 1983 and was far in the minority as a young, punk-music-loving conservative. Heck, I was even a Christian at the time, but found nothing whatsoever to admire with the campus Christian groups, but that's beside the point.

I was studying IT at the time, and was a profoundly lazy and unfocused student (should have been at a community college, honestly, but parents 'wanted the best' for me, damn the torpedoes ; ) and took a philosophy class as an elective. Fun, beret-wearing toker-dude teacher, using 'logic' to prove Conservatives were stupid and that sort of thing. I liked him, though, and had already come accross that nonsense in high school with a Howard Zinn loving history teacher who was also a lot of fun.

I always made my positions clear, but never tried to compete with them on their turf. I simply didn't have the wherwithal to do it and had no illusions on that front.

Friends left and right were spouting their great new flashes of insight and learning from various socialist professors they encountered. You could see them strutting about as though scales had been lifted from their eyes when in fact they had fresh, galvanized steel buckets placed over their heads.

Oh well. Anyone who says academia at any and every level is not (or was not) utterly poisoned with leftist drivel is a bit of a sap in my opinion. It's the water these people swim in.

Michael Haz said...

Why no mention of technical schools or apprentice programs? Is Obama so arrogant that he simply ignores those two paths to economic success?

It doesn't matter to me if the plumber who does work in my home has read Camus or Sartre. What matters is that she or he has read and understands the relevant building codes and can calculate water pressure levels and flow rates.

College isn't for everyone. I remember an interview of Warren Buffet on this topic earlier this year. He said that he told his children that "What you want is out there, maybe in college, maybe not. You need to find it on your own." Two of his children found success not in college, but in pursuimng what they truly wanted (musician, farmer).

I have friends who are plumbers and electricians and welders. They are happy and earn nice middle-class incomes. Two of them own successful businesses.

College was not for them, nor should it be for everyone. We still need people who know how to fix stuff and how to build stuff.

Obama's comment is telling. It reeks with elitism and the iinability to recognize that not everyone fits his scenario.

ed said...

"Like learning to read critically, formulate ideas, and communicate them effectively through writing? " - Triangle Man

And this is taught in college? Are you absolutely sure?

Occupy would be a rather comprehensive counter-argument.

Pastafarian said...

Dan Hobby, is that the only thing Obama has ever said about this topic?

Joanne, immediately after your comment, quoted him saying that he wants 55% of everyone to have some sort of post-high-school degree.

What an idiot.

Here's an idea: Let's allow the market to determine how many people invest time and money in a degree.

If there aren't enough degreed people to meet demand, they'll command higher salaries and have lower unemployment in that field, and people will flock to it to fill the void.

And when we have people with bachelor's degrees dispensing chai-lattes, fewer people will choose to waste their time and money; unless we distort the market, by throwing billions of dollars into it, and assigning silly arbitrary goals like "55%" that sound like they come from Soviet central planning.

Jason said...

Im reminded of a line in the movie "Cocktail" where Tom Cruise' character goes to a city college during the day and bartends at night. The professor flunks him because he talks back to him after getting criticism of a business project. Cruise then talks about it with his boss at the bar that night.

Cruise: "You know, not one damn thing those professors say makes a difference out on the street."

His boss: "If you know that, you are ready to graduate."

Apprentice programs and internships are usually a hell of a lot more important than a college degree when it comes to landing a job, especially in a specialized field.

Kirby Olson said...

Everyone knows that the American college is at least in many cases the last bastion of Mao's cultural Revolution and that if you don't tow the party line your grades will be lower than if you tow the line. I think Santorum speaks the truth here, or at least a truth that will be understood by everyone who's been to college for the last thirty years.

Dan in Philly said...

To a liberal humanist, the answer to everything is more education.

ed said...

"If a Student hands in bad work, are they docked because the work is bad or because the student has political views that run counter to the professor? Santorum suggests the latter but provides no evidence.

Whiner." - MadisonMan

Right.

Because the time and place to delve extensively into a decades past college experience, replete with footnotes, references and cites, is in the middle of an interview on national television.

Bravo!

Dear Sir, I would like to sign up for your newsletter ....

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm with Rick on this one and Occupy Wall Street is all the evidence needed:

If "tax the rich" and "eliminate all debt" are the best college is offering, then it's now worthless, education-wise.

Construction work has been much more satisfying than any desk job I've ever had, both in terms of the satisfaction derived from effort and the people I had to engage with. Anything with college types has usually been a nonsensical nightmare - AKA Maharishi Management - while occupations with laborers are usually pretty much straight-forward, give-or-take a personality quirk.

My take is that everybody knows they can go to college now, but many don't want to because (in too many ways) it's a fool's paradise, and those without degrees should be lauded - and paid well - for their contribution, which, in many ways, can be more substantial to the average American when it comes to day-to-day living.

Hoosier Daddy said...

When I was in college in the mid 80s, I knew one conservative poli sci professor and one history prof that could best be described as cruelly neutral. The others were pretty leftwing with one a bona fide lapel pin wearing hammer n sickle communist.

Peter said...

'Michael' said, "When I taught in the University it was my opinion that each student be given a diploma upon registering as a Freshman. Then only those who want to learn would hang around."

But only after they pay up-front for it.

To state the obvious(?), colleges are not so much in the education business as in the credentialling business. If you just want to learn something (sans credential), there are many inexpensive ways to do so.

It's hard to believe that anyone pays for an expensive school (e.g., any of the Ivies) just for the education. What that brand-name degree says is, "I was smart enough to get in here!"

Anyone looking to fix this might look at the root causes. One of these surely is the inability of employers to test for the aptitudes they want for fear they'll get hit with a "disparate impact" lawsuit.

Because just about anything anyone tests for is sure to have a "disparate impact," no one dares to test for much of anything.

And so, we're left with rampant credentialism. But would we not be better off if one could pass comprehensive exams to obtain these credentials, instead of spending obsence sums to buy credit hours?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

We had a Brother Jed preaching at the University of Michigan in the early 80s.

The Althouse blog really is a small world after all...

Hoosier Daddy said...

One of the hottie bartenders at my local pub has a journalism degree from Ball State.

Michael said...

"Could that have been Jed Smock? Holey Moley! He and his minions used to show up to rant on the plaza in front of the library at the University of Florida, where I attended school in the mid-70s."

Same for University of Kansas. I once followed Jed Smock after he was done and spent about 10 minutes shouting nonsense (mostly cribbed from H.P. Lovecraft) in his customary spot. Most enjoyed it but one guy did follow me to class asking me "what that meant."

"I think every student that wants to attend college should spend a year apprenticing with a tradesman of some kind."

Yes. I mean, I went to college and I can afford to pay someone to fix this or that, but I often wish I had had a few shop classes to learn it for myself. It just seems like one of those things you should be capable of doing. The number of things I learned in college which meet that criteria is not all that high.

phx said...

So did anyone post the link where Obama said he wants everybody in America to go to college?

Not the link where he said "And while we're at it, let's finally make a college degree affordable and available to every American, and bolster our community colleges to help educate and train America's workers."

Everyone can see that's not the same thing as saying everybody should go to college, right?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... And while we're at it, let's finally make a college degree affordable.."

Does this mean reducing costs or is he talking single payer college tuition?

Cause education costs are rising on par with health care.

LordSomber said...

Brother Jed and Brother ForgotHisName used to come by UGA too. Rattling off in what seemed to be the perfect fundamentalist stereotype to vocal derision by students.
In hindsight it was almost too perfect. As if portraying an ugly stereotype was a means to turn college students away from Christianity.

roesch/voltaire said...

Bago, I just was going over a student's application to graduate school at Stanford, where he wants to join the solid state and photonics laboratory-- something I highly doubt can be learned without attending a university. And one of the biggest employers for young folks in the Madison area is Epic, a health care provider,and while why claim working for them means being in a "world- class learning environment" --who doesn't learn on the job, they do not hire anyone without a four year college degree. Of course we can let Santorum and other know nothings attack our colleges at the expense of letting the Chinese and others,who are only too happy to take the open seats.

Rusty said...

Dan in Philly said...
To a liberal humanist, the answer to everything is more education.


It is. Just not college education.
I think the greatest thing and education should do for anyone is teach you how to learn. How to find things out for yourself and ask the right questions of knowledgeable people. Our heads are geared to putting stuff into them.

Chip S. said...

@R/V: The essay you cited does not refute Lyssa's observation about engineering students in any way. Far from claiming that tech students willingly flock to courses in Shakespeare, Prof. Strong observes:

But I have found a disturbing tendency among engineers to just simply comply with general education requirements and not to seek a real understanding that brings real enrichment.

The essay is a plea to engineering professors to try to get their students to buy into the notion that the close study of literature will make them better engineers. Conspicuously absent is anything that resembles evidence in support of that proposition, unless it's customary among engineering faculty to consider personal anecdotes to be data.

Somebody in this thread is indeed being "simple and condescending," but that person isn't Lyssa.

Rusty said...

Yes. I mean, I went to college and I can afford to pay someone to fix this or that, but I often wish I had had a few shop classes to learn it for myself. It just seems like one of those things you should be capable of doing. The number of things I learned in college which meet that criteria is not all that high.


If its already broken, what's it gonna hurt if you take it apart and find out how it works?
Yes I can pay somebody to fix my garage door, but I don't learn anything that way.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It really is a shame that such intellectualy dishonest people think that someone who believes college is not for everyone is an attack on colleges.

Or perhaps they just don't teach critical thinking.

Revenant said...

he wants to join the solid state and photonics laboratory-- something I highly doubt can be learned without attending a university.

I highly doubt it can be learned by most people whether they go to college or not. Ditto most engineering and hard science disciplines.

Roughly speaking, college studies are divided into "stuff you don't need to go to college to learn" and "stuff you need to be highly intelligent/talented/whatever to learn".

Pete the Streak said...

MadMad - I graduated in '78 (Bus. Admin.), and about the only professors I had that weren't left leaning were a couple older econ/finance guys. Nearly every GA I had as an underclassman were hippie/wackos.

State College and Centre County were fairly conservative, but the University? Definitely not.

Althouse, please: get rid of these VWs. Please. Meade? Can you help a brother?

Chip S. said...

Althouse, please: get rid of these VWs.

They, too, shall Passat.

Geoff Matthews said...

I wouldn't be so opposed to Higher Ed if it wasn't making itself irrelevant to our economic future.

MM, I went to school in Utah, and conservatives were more often mocked by faculty than liberals were.

In Utah.

roesch/voltaire said...

Chip, I am glad you skimmed the article, but please give the whole quote which includes: "...based in liberal arts and humanities,one that brings real enrichment, one that imitates the Socratic idea of the "examined life." And yes he is setting an example for other education engineers, but he does not exclude the study of humanities to seek a real understanding. As he later writes: " Cross-discipline connections are the essence of creativity." ..."The broad knowledge required for creativity in engineers come from technical area, business areas, and the areas studied for enrichment of values and ethics."
My point is that engineers, as this article points out, need and like the study of humanities and at their best they do so to gain a broader understanding of non-technical issues, and not just for easy grades, but of course depending on the student, one can avoid the examined life, which is what professor Strong advocates for.

Matthew said...

One can appreciate Shakespeare without paying a man to administer a test on it. If someone's goal is to be an engineer, there's no reason for him to pay more money to take tests and write papers on things he doesn't care about.

I read plenty of things, and in college, I read Feynman's essays and books despite being a History/English major. To imply that someone needs to take a course to live an examined life is a make-work proposition for educators.

Yes, Shakespeare could prove to lead to a more fulfilling life for an engineer -- but To be, or not to be, is not going to help him build bridges that don't collapse.

Chip S. said...

The point is that Lyssa was making an empirical observation, while you are making a normative case as to why things should be otherwise.

The fact that you feel the need to make the argument is completely consistent with Lyssa's comment.

Kirby Olson said...

There is something called a Technical College. I realize it's a technicality since many go to college to take up a profession such as art history or poetry or philosophy or sociology, which means they will end up making coffee for those who majored in the sciences.

Still, there are colleges like the one I teach at where you can major in things like plumbing and heating (getting out you start at about 80 grand), or golf course maintenance (also very highly remunerated), or culinary (SUNY Delhi often wins silver and gold prizes in Las Vegas competitions), or nursing, or any of a number of other solid service occupations and you have relatively little to do with the faculty in liberal arts, who are mostly liberal, but then there's me, and I'm not so liberal. Or at least I'm not a Marxist. I do consider myself a classical liberal.

Most of the profs in "liberal arts" at major universities are at least quasi-Marxist esp. in departments of Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies, English, French, Spanish, and other "disciplines." But there is also such a thing as a business major in many colleges, and some even offer criminal justice, in which you are more likely to have someone with deeper roots into the classical liberal tradition.

All the new disciplines were formed around Marxist precepts.

Santorum has a whole chapter on the liberal arts in his book It Takes a Family. It's the last chapter. I think he has a fairly solid understanding of the framework of postmodernism. He also writes clearly and well and doesn't hop around like a mad hornet stinging everything in sight like an Anne Coulter or an Al Franken. He can compose solid prose.

I liked his book enormously.

Amartel said...

It's not the snobbery.

Snobama would be fun to play with
but I don't mind snobbery per se.

For that matter, Santorum is being a snob, too.

It's the small-mindedness of Obama, the failure of imagination and failure to venture far outside his own experience. What libs talking about George Bush used to call (incorrectly) the "lack of curiosity," "strangely incurious" etc. when wringing their hands about how he had not traveled internationally to any great extent. Obama hasn't traveled outside his boundaries much either.

36fsfiend said...

Santorum has a BA, an MBA, and a JD. Why does he claim he was "docked"?

ricpic said...

Everyone should go to college and then get a job, any job, that pays six figures and then live in a mansion and anything less isn't fair!

Caricature? No. That's the straight leftist line, designed to keep as many Americans as possible permanently inflamed with resentment.

Matthew said...

"Santorum has a BA, an MBA, and a JD. Why does he claim he was "docked"?"

You can graduate -- for any of those -- without a perfect score.

Will this be the thin edge of the wedge that lets people start snooping through Santorum's college papers?

Revenant said...

To imply that someone needs to take a course to live an examined life is a make-work proposition for educators.

Well said.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Part of the problem is recent (last 20 years) disconnect between "Education" and "Learning”; too much emphasis on the former, and not enough on the latter.

For example, employment requirements that stress a degree in any discipline, for a position that should not require a degree in the first place, and discount any leaning an individual has in the specific field and/or position.

The “Education” is valued; the “Learning” is not.

36fsfiend said...

Blogger Matthew said...

"You can graduate -- for any of those -- without a perfect score."

Matthew,

Ann stated that she thought Santorum meant "docked" in the sense of deprived of some benefits.

He has three degrees. What benefits has he been deprived of?

I guess if our media would do its job we would have answers to these questions.

Matthew said...

"Ann stated that she thought Santorum meant "docked" in the sense of deprived of some benefits.

He has three degrees. What benefits has he been deprived of?"

Graduating with a lower GPA than you've earned is being deprived of the score you would have earned. There's no way to really tell, without a lot of effort, if he received a lower grade than he deserved.

I believe the precedent has been set that college transcripts, etc., are not to be looked in to too thoroughly. Unless you are a Republican running for governor of Virginia or George W. Bush.

Michael K said...

What we need is a real, competent apprenticeship program. Too many vocational schools taught out-of-date skills and that discredited them. My nephew has a BA from Northern Illinois, then he returned from the Marines and took an apprenticeship offered by the elevator installers union. He has finished it and is now moving up in management. The craft unions could make a real contribution if they would stop obsessing on benefits and work rules. In Germany, they do.

MadisonMan said...

I was gonna comment on something -- but now I'm completely distracted by the new comment page.

Matthew said...

"My nephew has a BA from Northern Illinois, then he returned from the Marines and took an apprenticeship offered by the elevator installers union. He has finished it and is now moving up in management."

Elevator installers... moving up...

Was that intentional? I hope it was not. Unintentional puns are 100 times better than intentional ones. 10/10.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

roesch/voltaire said...

Interesting that one of the complains many engineers make is that their schedule doesn't allow them to take those "softer" classes which they actually desire, so I think there still is hope for the humanities, even though they are so dangerous!


Interesting indeed. Pray tell, what engineering school did you attend that you are able to make such a fatuous statement? Because when I was getting my BSME my fellow engineering students to a man or woman detested the soft-headed humanities classes they were forced to take. All of them, and I do mean all of them, would have preferred to focus on classes they found meaningful rather than Group Dynamics or The Cavalier Poets. I am not claiming this is a positive characteristic of engineers, merely that it is so. But then, since you would never make shit up, r-v, you must have a cite?

36fsfiend said...

Matthew said...

“Graduating with a lower GPA than you've earned is being deprived of the score you would have earned. There's no way to really tell, without a lot of effort, if he received a lower grade than he deserved.”

The man was a US senator, is wealthy and is running to be the President of the United States. So, again, I’d like to know what “benefits” he has been deprived of?

If would have been helpful if Stephanopoulos had done his job and followed up with Santorum to clarify what he meant by being "docked".

Matthew said...

"The man was a US senator, is wealthy and is running to be the President of the United States. So, again, I’d like to know what “benefits” he has been deprived of?"

Docked, in general, just means to lose a few points. That's how I've always heard it used. Stephanopoulos probably didn't follow up because that's what it means.

chickenlittle said...

docked
He received a lower grade because of his conservative views.


I recall taking a required composition course at UW-Madison back in the late 70's/early 80's as part of my chemistry degree curriculum. One of the essays I wrote was on the topic of full gender equality and took a pretty conservative position—I remember because I had reasoned my way into it. I do recall that it prompted the instructor to write some extensive marginalia rebutting my arguments—much more than usual. I may have received a lower grade on that essay too (I’ll have to check later on—I saved all that stuff). It didn’t matter though, because she gave me an A for the course overall.

phx said...

"The man was a US senator, is wealthy and is running to be the President of the United States. So, again, I’d like to know what “benefits” he has been deprived of?"

Docked, in general, just means to lose a few points. That's how I've always heard it used. Stephanopoulos probably didn't follow up because that's what it means.


I think as we get to see him closer and better it becomes pretty apparent that Rick Santorum is a little whiny. I don't think that's a good characteristic in a president or even a candidate.

Matthew said...

Phx: Indeed. He probably wants everyone to stop asking him questions so he can just eat his waffle.

Revenant said...

Because when I was getting my BSME my fellow engineering students to a man or woman detested the soft-headed humanities classes they were forced to take.

I think you're talking about two different things.

The engineers I went to university with detested the *required* humanities courses. They also tended to complain that their schedules didn't let them take other courses they were interested in. For some of them that might have meant history or philosophy or whatever, although offhand I can't remember any who felt that way. Mostly they were talking about the engineering and science courses they were missing out on.

36fsfiend said...

Matthew said...

"Docked, in general, just means to lose a few points. That's how I've always heard it used. Stephanopoulos probably didn't follow up because that's what it means."

I don't know what "docked" means to Santorum since he wasn't asked to clarify.

MadisonMan said...

Elevator installers... moving up...

I hope the nephew is named Otis.

36fsfiend said...

phx said...

"I think as we get to see him closer and better it becomes pretty apparent that Rick Santorum is a little whiny. I don't think that's a good characteristic in a president or even a candidate."

That seems to be the case.

Matthew said...

36fs: Could you define what you mean by "Santorum," "I," "don't," "know" -- actually, every word you've said. This whole thread.

In detail. Please. I can't know what you mean if you don't spell it out for me. I know it looks like I'm using the same words, and some are extremely common, but, to cling on to the hope you meant something different from what you said, please expound on it for me.

What does it mean to you?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@Revenant

The antipathy the engineers I knew had for the "breadth requirements" lay in one simple fact-- engineering courses are hard, and anything that took time away from those classes was a negative.

I spent four years as an English/ Comp Lit major, then reached a crisis when I realized how very valueless such an education was. I dropped out. Several years later I returned as a freshman engineering major. You can take the student out of Comp Lit, but you can't take Comp Lit out of the student. I told my advisor I wanted to take a Chaucer class, to which he reacted, "Why the hell would you want to do that?" He was right. I never took another "fun" class after that.

shu said...

Stephanopoulos asked him: "Now getting to college has been part of the American dream for generations, Senator. Why does articulating an aspiration make the president a snob?"

For an individual person, to set a personal goal of (e.g.) $1 million net annual income is fine.

That is not the same as proposing the government provide the same to all citizens at public expense.

Besides... Who gets to decide for everyone what the "American Dream" is? Home ownership is the "American Dream?" There is not one person in this nation who finds it more convenient to rent?

Give me a break!........

Hagar said...

For Obama and his cohorts, "going to college" means being accepted into the privileged class; working hard to learn something useful so that you can work even harder after you graduate, is not on their agenda.

Ths you never hear anything more definite than that vapid phrase "going to college" from them.

ed said...

Astonishing that so many people can have such little understanding of the word "docked". As if "to cut short" or "reduce" isn't obvious enough.

As for phx trying out the argument that, since Santorum has made a success in life, that any docking that took place in college couldn't possibly have been of any substance. Doesn't really pass the laugh test. Obviously Santorum feels differently.

roesch/voltaire said...

Thomas I have been teaching in the COE at UW-Madison for fourteen years working with approximately 60 to 80 students each semester, and my observations are a result of conversations with students about classes that they like, and the result of conferencing with them as they craft letters for jobs and graduate schools. For example the student that I mentioned, who is applying to Stanford, took a minor in Japanese language and lit, and found it helpful in many ways both directly for his career and for his own self-development.

36fsfiend said...

Matthew said...

“36fs: Could you define what you mean by "Santorum," "I," "don't," "know" -- actually, every word you've said. This whole thread.

In detail. Please. I can't know what you mean if you don't spell it out for me. I know it looks like I'm using the same words, and some are extremely common, but, to cling on to the hope you meant something different from what you said, please expound on it for me.

What does it mean to you?”

Matthew,

Santorum stated he personally was docked for his conservative views while at college. My experience with the term “docked” is when someone has been docked or denied their pay.

Santorum wasn’t deprived of any of his three degrees. Again, he was a senator, he is wealthy and he is in a position to run for the most powerful office in the land so I’m not sure what benefits he has been deprived of if that is what he is referring to when he says he was docked.

I think he is just whining because he may have been criticized for his views while at college. However, I really don’t know if that is the case since he was not asked to clarify his use of the term docked.

Matthew said...

"My experience with the term “docked” is when someone has been docked or denied their pay."

Try not to use the word in a sentence when defining the word, otherwise it is clear you know what it means.

In this case, you clearly understand to be docked one's pay is different than to have it denied (or withheld!) You even use the word docked in contrast with denied to show the difference.

roesch/voltaire said...

At last a Republican with some sense on this issue:"I wish [Santorum] had said it differently," said the Virginia Republican. "I'm pushing in Virginia this year 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years. I want more college graduates. But that means community college and four-year universities, but not to the exclusion of realizing that some people are going to graduate from high school and be in the trades. What we say is we want somebody to be career ready or college ready. If we haven't done one of those two things for the young people, we have failed you."

36fsfiend said...

Matthew said...

“Try not to use the word in a sentence when defining the word, otherwise it is clear you know what it means.

In this case, you clearly understand to be docked one's pay is different than to have it denied (or withheld!) You even use the word docked in contrast with denied to show the difference.”

My point is Santorum seems to be implying that he was somehow discriminated against while at college because of his conservative views, yet he earned three degrees and has been very successful in life.

Given that, I don’t follow his claims that colleges are indoctrination mills and desiring a college education should be something to frown on.

He has been successful in life because of his higher education.

Matthew said...

"My point is Santorum seems to be implying that he was somehow discriminated against while at college because of his conservative views, yet he earned three degrees and has been very successful in life."

If a woman has multiple degrees and is very successful in life, would you argue that there is no gender bias? What if a black man were to become president, would you assume that people do not discriminate against black men?

Or, would you assume that people may be the victim of some form of discrimination, yet still somehow overcome adversity. Perhaps Santorum was brilliant enough to overcome the bias, or perhaps he sucked it up like many conservatives and parroted what the teacher wanted during class to get the A. Who knows?

But, at least we've dispensed with pretending we didn't understand what he meant by being docked.

Synova said...

"which is why enrollment is up,"

I think that enrollment is up because if you can't find a job and make money, you might as well go to school, which the government will pay you to do (though you do accumulate debt at the same time, you hope that things will get better before you graduate).

36fsfiend said...

Matthew said...

“If a woman has multiple degrees and is very successful in life, would you argue that there is no gender bias? What if a black man were to become president, would you assume that people do not discriminate against black men?

Or, would you assume that people may be the victim of some form of discrimination, yet still somehow overcome adversity. Perhaps Santorum was brilliant enough to overcome the bias, or perhaps he sucked it up like many conservatives and parroted what the teacher wanted during class to get the A. Who knows?

But, at least we've dispensed with pretending we didn't understand what he meant by being docked.”

I haven’t dispense with the position that I don’t understand what Santorum meant by being docked. I’ve offered what I believe he meant but since I cannot read his mind, I don’t know what Santorum meant in regards to his own personal experiences while at college.

Again, if Stephanopoulos had followed up and asked Santorum to clarify what he meant we would have a better understanding of his position in regards to this issue.

bagoh20 said...

""I'm pushing in Virginia this year 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years. I want more college graduates."

The number of degrees or graduates tells you nothing about the quality of the education the public is getting - nothing. It does however tell you if the education profession is flourishing or not.

It's like claiming that all the diet programs and fitness equipment purchased on TV proves we are slimmer and fitter than ever.

Robert Cook said...

"I think that enrollment is up because if you can't find a job and make money, you might as well go to school, which the government will pay you to do (though you do accumulate debt at the same time, you hope that things will get better before you graduate)."

What do you mean the government will pay you (to go to school)?"

Are you referring to the Direct Federal Loan program? If so--you're paying to go to school. The government is just loaning you money to help you go to school, money that you will have to repay, and which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court.

I'd hardly characterize that as being paid by the govt. to go to school.

Scott M said...

I'd hardly characterize that as being paid by the govt. to go to school.

How would you characterize Pell Grants, RC?

Revenant said...

My point is Santorum seems to be implying that he was somehow discriminated against while at college because of his conservative views, yet he earned three degrees and has been very successful in life.

There is no contradiction between those two things. You can be discriminated against and still be enormously successful.

Robert Cook said...

A Pell Grant is a grant of free money. With a maximum of about $5,500.00 per year at this time, this is a valuable help to students, but it does not constitute "paying" students to go to school.

Amartel said...

Those ubiquitous online ads for educational grants with the tag that "Obama wants moms [or whoever] to earn their degree" make me think maybe there's some validity to Santorum's indoctrination mills comment. It's one thing to think, in the abstract, that everyone should have the benefit of a college education. It's another thing to push Pell Grants at people who wouldn't otherwise independently have realized any burning need for a degree.

Synova said...

I'm going to stick with "pay you to go" Cook. It's not a perfect explanation but it's close. Most of the expense of my college is paid directly by taxes. I don't borrow for it and I don't have to pay it back. It's a state school, so that's how it works. The tuition and books that I do have to pay for, I get loans for. The government decides how much it is willing to give me, including what I supposedly need to live on.

Ultimately, yes, I have to pay it all back with interest. In the mean-time the practical affect is that I can get money to go to school and money for books and food and rent and transportation. Someone is giving me money NOW and later is... later.

I've also had more than one person go on and on about how much money you can get for going to school. It's not accurate, but it is the way it seems to be on the surface.

So when I say... if you can't find a job and you can get paid to go to school, you might as well go to school... that's also a statement about the decision making process, not necessarily a claim that the decision making process has got all it's details precisely right.

Scott M said...

A Pell Grant is a grant of free money. With a maximum of about $5,500.00 per year at this time, this is a valuable help to students, but it does not constitute "paying" students to go to school.

Nice tap dance, Robert Heinz. Congrats.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I don't think it makes him a snob. I think he is an 'elitist' for other reasons, though.

A little off-topic, but do you know what a group of baboons is called? I.e. a 'murder' of crows, 'gaggle' of geese...

That's right - a 'congress' of baboons. I shit you not(troop, tribe, and flange are also used).

Revenant said...

"They aren't being paid, they're just being given 'free money' for doing something". Nice.

Politicians should try that. "It isn't a bribe, it is just free money in exchange for a vote".

36fsfiend said...

Revenant said...

“My point is Santorum seems to be implying that he was somehow discriminated against while at college because of his conservative views, yet he earned three degrees and has been very successful in life.

There is no contradiction between those two things. You can be discriminated against and still be enormously successful.”

True. I just offered discrimination as one possible interpretation of Santorum’s use of the term “docked”. Again, since he was not asked to expand on that comment, I really don’t know what he meant by his claim that he was docked for his conservative views while at college.

bagoh20 said...

As someone who is always trying to hire good people to expand business, I find there is a huge disconnect between what is taught and what is needed in the work place. I have hired MBAs that don't know simple accounting, taxation or even financial statements. I've hired mechanical engineers that don't know that aluminum will make a poor cutting tool, or that things they design must actually be possible to manufacture without a Star Trek replicator. This happened when, due to rapid expansion, I needed to cut corners and hire people based on resumes alone - a big mistake.

Schools are just too insular, and need to work with industry more, for both their interests.

Part of it is that a student cannot absorb things well just by reading or hearing about them. It's when you actually do the work that it sinks in - that the necessary separates from the fluff, which is easier to teach. It's hard because schools and the people who work there are so distant philosophically and in experience from the environments they are trying to prepare students for.

I don't think it's all that hard to make huge improvements in education if we can just get the education experts out of the way. It's not all particle physics. Some people just want to be useful and get laid once in awhile without using an obscure literature reference. BTW, does that ever work?

Ken said...

Now he could have said there are many kinds of skills that can be obtained in a two year colleges, which is why enrollment is up, as well as four year colleges, but instead he plays the class resentment card.

College enrollment is up, but graduation rates are in decline. Additionally, the absolute number of graduates in the hard sciences is roughly the same as 25 years ago, despite a 30% growth in population.

I want more college graduates.

It's easy to get more college graduates: lower the standards to graduate. This is the likely "solution" whoever said this will take to achieve this end. Why are you so approving of politicians deciding how many college graduates there should be? Would you be so approving if politicians set about to decide how many singers, writers, millionaires, entrepreneurs, inventors, etc should be?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don't Tread 2012 said...

"It's not all particle physics. Some people just want to be useful and get laid once in awhile without using an obscure literature reference."

Okay I just blew water out of my nose - awesomely funny.

Totally relate bagoh20. I've had hiring managers tell me how many fresh engineering graduates they've interviewed, knowing they haven't a clue unless they had some co-op experience. And, I've 'worked' with a few. Book smart is no substitute for practical experience. I frequently chuckle when I hear different parents insist their kids 'must' go to 4 year college. Fact is, it isn't for everyone! Agree that if you aren't going for engineering, doctor, etc. and have skills and interest that suggest you are a hands-on problem solving type, a trade is probably where you should be looking. I know - the horrors!!! But I will tell you, I know many successful skilled tradesmen/women in electrical, machining/carpentry and plumbing that make good money (100K and up) and don't have more than 2 year tech school.

bbkingfish said...

Did Obama ever actually say that he wants every American to go to college?

Or is Rick just making stuff up again?

Ken said...

I think one reason is because it's scary to think about how many graduates China is churning out compared to the USA.

I'm not impressed. I'm sure many "graduate" from schools in China, but what does that mean?

From most of the experiences I've had with these "engineers", they aren't very good. The Chinese in American grad schools are the cream of the Chinese crop and aren't any better than the American students in these programs. Meaning most of these "graduates" stay in China are mostly likely terrible engineers and are just statistics used to scare people like you and bolster claims of Chinese dominance.

Additionally, why are "scared" of Chinese engineers? What is so scary about them? If they are any good, they will simply develop useful things that we all will enjoy.

Ken said...

I think one reason is because it's scary to think about how many graduates China is churning out compared to the USA.

Lastly, this doesn't answer my question as to why you think politicians should be deciding the proper number of STEM graduates. Haven't the last few years (well really all of history) made you weary of politicians being social engineers?

dreams said...

What's uncool about a $100,000 factory job? These days not much. In fact, factory jobs -- once considered back-breaking and low-paying -- have become high-tech and high-salaried.
Still young people don't get it, say factory owners, who can't find enough skilled workers. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/100-000-factory-job-whats-145600750.html

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Did Obama ever actually say that he wants every American to go to college?"

Maybe he did.

He did say in response to republican opposition, "if they bring a knife to a fight, we'll bring a gun".

And other 'stupidly' constructed responses aimed at Americans he arguably represents as president despite party affiliation.

Did you vote for this man?

bbkingfish said...

I see. Rick's just making stuff up again.

ken in sc said...

For three years, I taught Industrial Maintenance Technology in a high school career center. The 2nd year I scaled back my expectations of student performance because the guidance counselors sent me the dumbest, least motivated kids they had.

So, I made it my goal that all my students would know that there are 25.4 millimeters in and inch. That seemed like a reasonable goal for the kids I got. I put that on the board every day and included it as a bonus question on every test.

One kid got a job because of it. He wanted to work in a machine shop that modified engines for NASCAR teams. During the job interview, he was asked if he knew anything about metric measurements. He said, “I know there's 25.4 mm in and inch.” He was hired on the spot.

Actually, the most useful thing about metrics is to know a 13mm wrench will fit a half-inch nut--saves a lot of walking back to the tool shed.

Matt said...

Santorum's message to Americans:
"Don't go to school, stay ignorant and vote for me...."

MadisonMan said...

ken in sc: That's a great story. Who would think that such a minimal amount of knowledge would result in a job!

DADvocate said...

It's absurd to pretend everybody in America is capable of going to college or should go to college. Societies needs people of all skills and talents, mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, farmers, garbage men, prostitutes and nursemaids all have a needed role. Unless, Obama is the ultimate snob and thinks he can create a super race/culture of sorts and the rest of the world serves us while we perform all the higher level tasks.

bagoh20 said...

Just the other day I was in trouble. My girlfriend was angry about something I said. I didn't understand what I did wrong. My life was in a crisis. I went in search of some help - someone who knows how to fix these kind of things, and would do so at a reasonable price. I needed an expert in wymon's studies. I searched, but found only one, and without any competition, she was expensive because she knew the shortage of skilled wymon's experts meant she would get whatever she asked, and she gave me an 8 hour window for her arrival.

Consequently, I paid handsomely for our universities' failure to educate enough of these experts, but by far the worst part was that she smelled bad.

When there are too many plumbers, one sets a new standard by cleaning up their service and advertizing that they are "the smell good plumber". We need more wymon's studies experts, and we need em now.

BTW, she fixed my problem - my girlfriend moved in with her.

SH said...

Just have to throw in; there are still some fields of engineering you can self study. Do the research before you put in six years (and $50k) for a masters.

Bruce Hayden said...

Just have to throw in; there are still some fields of engineering you can self study. Do the research before you put in six years (and $50k) for a masters.

Yeh, maybe. But, most engineering slots in medium to large companies require at least a bachelor's degree, and a master's degree is useful. The bigger the company, the more such credentials seem to be required. And, in the bigger ones, you may not be able to break out of lower levels without a graduate degree

Not that a lot of the engineering classes are all that useful. There is a lot of mind numbing repetition, at least in lower level EE classes, that you really don't use that much afterwards.

In any case, not sure where you are coming up with a 6 year figure, unless you are including undergraduate too. For less than six years after your undergraduate, you should have a doctorate degree of one type or another. Not always of course, but the stated objective is maybe 5 years in STEM. And, 2 for a master's degree.

At least in the large companies that I have worked in, the best engineering jobs go to those with graduate degrees, and it is hard to break out of the lower levels without. I am a patent attorney, and worked for one company with over 100K employees, with many thousands of those being engineers. And, pretty much all of my inventor teams had at least one doctorate, and cannot remember any inventors w/o a graduate degree. That was out of 100+ patent applications. It wasn't that those with graduate degrees were that much smarter, but rather, that they had, by far, the most interesting work, the work most likely to result in patents.

So, yes, do your research first, but there are a lot of areas of engineering where lack of proper credentials will relegate you to second or third class jobs, regardless of your ability. Not new of course - I had to stretch a degree in mathematics into computer science credentials to get my first programming job maybe 35 years ago.

Bruce Hayden said...

And, that gets back to maybe part of why President Obama is trying to equalize outcomes. A lot of jobs now are closed to those who don't have the proper credentials. For example, it is quite difficult to practice law without a JD, and even without one blessed by the ABA. You can get licensed in some states with alternate education, but it is hard to move to practice anywhere else.

This is, of course, unfair. The only realistic solution is to make such credentials readily available to everyone. But, realistically, the only way to do that is to weaken them sufficiently that they lose their signaling ability.

The problem though for Obama is that college is available for everyone who has a certain level of aptitude, regardless of financial ability. Just start in junior or community college, instead of somewhere like Harvard. The higher education bubble is mostly at the top, where costs have been exploding far faster than inflation or of other goods or services based on the availability of government aid (grants and loans). Yes, it is harder that way, but it can be done, if someone wants it bad enough, has average or above intelligence, and is willing to put in the required work and delayed gratification.

And, it really aren't the faculty (etc.) who are driving up the costs of higher education so rapidly, but rather, everything else. The plush dorms, cafeterias, exercise facilities, sports teams, and administrators and other non-faculty up the kazoo. Most of which are luxuries, and not really required for a college education, but made possible through generous government aid. And, one of the unintended consequences of Obama being able to divert more money to higher education would be more of this wasteful spending, and, really not that much more real education. But, of course, if he actually understood that increasing inputs through government spending did not equate to comparably increased outputs, he would be a Republican.

Dan Hobby said...

Pastafarian: "is that the only thing Obama has ever said about this topic?"

Actually, it's not. On February 24, 2009, teh president stated the following:

"I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma."

Ken said...

This is, of course, unfair.

Why? I love the blank assertions, as if it's just obvious that these statements are correct. Of course, this statement is utterly and completely false.

The market determining wages is inherently fair. If the self-taught lawyers really are as good as the lawyers that went to law school, they would be pulling down the same amount of money. The differences in wages isn't a indication of unfairness, but differences in productivity.

Jack Reylan said...

If securities rules applied to research grants, half the professulas would be in jail! Professulas, trial lawyers and union organizers are Obama's core constituencies. Universities, libraries, museums and other public beneficiaries extort their patrons to lobby on their behalf with taxpayer resources. They even encourage students to max out their loans and invest the proceeds so the school can up its total. Obama learned when he worked for Don Kent at tuition-funded Arms Race Alternatives, while denying admission to Young Americans for Freedom and the Social Democrats. Ted Markowitz used the Xerox 9700 to make fliers for the 1982 June 12th nuclear freezers, but persecuted students for smaller infractions. They destroyed a supply side hero like Jeff Bell! "UPI June 6, 1992 Sovern took over at Columbia after student protests of 1968 and New York's fiscal problems in the '70s resulted in less financial support for the school, a situation made more dire by recent federal government budget cuts. . . But Columbia will be looking for a new president in a period troubled by criticism for destroying records that were being reviewed for improprieties. Universities in general have been under greater scrutiny for how they charge the government for federally sponsored research." When Obama falls in 2010, we should go through the grant-grubbing Ivy Leagues with a flame thrower! Ivy League universities are not good at getting students jobs, only grants to be commie nutty organizers. If you are liberal, anything you do is inherently ethical for the cause, but if you are a conservative, and believe in GOD, family or business, your very moral fiber, even down to trivial autonomic responses, is subject to persecution as either dangerously criminal or the result of clinical illness. Bush 43 had two Ivy degrees and they treated him as stupid because he was conservative even though he had better grades and entrance scores and took a lot tougher courses than Gore. Professors are the ultimate molestor high priests because they extort and control your transcripts and your grants if you turn them in. Like a cult, they will make your children denounce you and everything you stand for as unworthy. The lowest level university bureaucrats offer the worst affectations. No business ever trusts such left wing graduates who don't believe in capitalism and become crooks because they are taught the only way business makes money is crooked so they seek to avenge their unemployability through their own crookedness. The universities consider real jobs and competition beneath them, so they want their little sissies to live off grants, even in the hard sciences or business. How many of their engineering professors have Professional Engineering certification? Almost none! They love foreign students who slave up and don't expect professors to actually work for the tuition, like Americans do. (Surely You Are Joking Feynman p 215 "If I ask you a question during the lecture, afterwards everybody will be telling me, 'What are you wasting our time for in the class? We're trying to learn something. And you're stopping him by asking a question'." ) No middle class parent should consider sending their kids there, because these schools will destroy your entire family. See Zac Bissonnette's Debt-Free U. In his 2010 book on universities (p35) Columbia provost Jonathan Cole brags that undergarduates and their parents are suckers who fund the platform from which professulas can then rape taxpayers with grants. This is why they created Obama - to rape the taxpayer. It is high time to force the professulas to only have corporate support for their research, then we wouldn't be gouged like global warming and nuclear winter.