Derek Donohue writes:
Loved your article on LRC today about bursting the college bubble. Yahoo News, like a broken clock, can even be on point once in a while. On that same topic, Yahoo published a similar article recently that really closes the deal on the points you are making. The article (sorry for not providing a link) spoke to the fact that information has a shelf life. And in a world where we are seeing the realities of Moore’s Law, conventional educational practices cannot keep pace with the decreasing shelf life of information.
I was a physics major in college. And while physics has become such a hijacked discipline that many of the same junk theories have persisted for decades, it’s easy to point to health sciences, computer sciences, government, archeology, and more as areas where many of the established ‘facts’ are vastly different from what was being taught when I graduated from college in 1998.
For instance, consider the following standard academic questions:
What kind of government does Libya have?
Is cancer genetic?
Were dinosaurs cold blooded or warm blooded?
Who built the pyramids, how, and for what purpose?
The answers to these questions are literally changing every day, while the prevailing theories addressing them are also growing and diversifying. Similarly nobody is programming with Fortran (what I learned in the 90’s) anymore.
For this reason, the existing model of public schools and state universities are in no way equipped to even keep pace with the rapidly increasing establishment of new truths and new methodologies. And despite their marginal efforts to appear so, it is clear that they cannot compete with existing means of accessing and acquiring this information. I can Google every fact I learned in 4 years of college in under 10 minutes, for free, in my underwear at home. Thus, to even maintain a building for people to gather and do this very same thing, is not a market viable plan. For that reason, college, high school, middle school, etc etc, are dead men walking. They cannot be saved in any recognizable form. Anyone with a strong market mentality like yours knows that no “Aha” arguments are even required. This is the inescapable reality.
So as much as I love hearing it, it almost doesn’t need to be said any more. Schools are archaic, useless and will soon be unpleasant memories. If even Yahoo news can get their feeble minds around it, you can be sure the rest of us get it too. But thanks for reminding us anyway.