Fark reported on an article in The Atlantic concerning the state of education in the US vis-à-vis that of Finland. It is an interesting article but it leaves some questions unanswered, at least for me, a non-teacher.

Insisting that we are all the same because the only difference is if you are first generation import to a country seems a bit of a stretch to me. I don’t think that kids born in New York City or Los Angeles are culturally the same as kids born in say – oh Elyria, Ohio. Probably not the same as those born in Maineville, Ohio or Summerville, South Carolina either.

But that is an entirely different subject.

I was reading the Fark comments and enemy of the state had this to say (in part):

US colleges are ranked at the top. [I have no idea where that statement came from or if it is anywhere close to true. – me] There are two reasons for this. First, that professors answer to no one but themselves. Second, college is designed to teach only two things (to undergraduates):

1) How to learn, and,
2) How to think.

And now I think I see part of the problem with our Occupy everyplace people. They didn’t learn how to think soon enough and majored in Psychology (the degree with the lowest hire rate after graduation) or some other degree that left them without any job skills.

I’m not sure what enemy of the state (who obviously eschews the shift key but claims to have “taught college” whatever that may be) would have to say about a nurse or teacher who had learned to learn and think but didn’t know anything about disease or education upon graduating and just prior to entering the work force.

I would like every college graduate to be able to write a cogent essay, letter to the editor, or even a properly spelled and grammatically correct Tweet. But alas, this isn’t the case. I guess they will all learn this when they rack up tens of thousands of dollars of more debt in their post-grad classes.

However, accruing tens of thousands of dollars of debt to learn how to learn and think without learning anything else at all seems like a rather stupid thing to do. So if this is what our universities are teaching, I see a problem.

I’ve listened to Steve Job’s speech to some graduating class. It seems the other thing colleges are good at imparting is that you should “do what you love” because your life is too precious and if you just take a job for a paycheck, you are selling yourself short. Find your bliss and follow your star and get out there and make money doing what you like.

I’ve yet to see a job for social networking, partying, and acting stupid which seems to be the great pastimes on college campuses. So we give brilliant learning and thinking adults this message. College wasn’t supposed to teach you any actual subject matter and get out there and do what you love.

Recent graduates ranked being able to check their Facebook page as more important than salary. How’s that for knowing how to think?

Every year there is a list of the dumbest classes offered at American Universities and they are simply mind-boggling.

There are jobs out there that simply need to be done and they pay fairly well. But it is beneath the thinking learners to do them. They are also untrained and can’t do them, but who would want to point out the emperor is naked? All those school loans and you aren’t trained to do anything.

I’ve had jobs I’ve absolutely loved. But I’ve never had a job that I loved every moment of work. It’s called work because it is. Even the jobs you love come with stuff that you can’t stand.

We keep telling our teenagers that college is the answer to all their problems. Because once you get a college degree, you will be worth millions or at least many tens of thousands of dollars per year to some employer who just wants someone who can learn and think and doesn’t actually have any life skills, job experience, or training.

I’m not really sure of the state of our educational system, but it seems to me that much of the problem might lie in the stuff being posited about what it is school should teach.

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