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Why Wait 'Til College To Be Terrified Nobody Will Hire You?
You can be terrified as early as ninth grade! A Bergen County high school is making students choose majors -- ones that will determine what electives they take for four years. Winnie Hu writes in The New York Times:

For Dwight Morrow, a school that has struggled with low test scores and racial tensions for years, establishing majors is a way to make their students stay interested until graduation and stand out in the hypercompetitive college admissions process.

Some parents have welcomed the requirement, noting that a magnet school in the district already allowed some students to specialize. But other parents and some educators have criticized it as preprofessionalism run amok or a marketing gimmick.

“I thought high school was about finding what you liked to do,” said Kendall Eatman, an Englewood mother of six who was president of the Dwight Morrow student body before graduating in 1978. “I think it’s too early to be so rigid.”

Even college might be. One of the best things I did in college was do an internship at UPI in Washington. I didn't even work for my college newspaper -- I got it with column clips from high school. But, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I realized, after working at UPI a month, the last thing I wanted to do was run around writing about what other people were doing.

Here's an example like mine from Hu's piece:

Nicole’s mother, Georgette Hutchison, said she liked the concept of majors, but wondered whether it was “premature” for ninth graders to make such choices. “I don’t know what they’re expecting out of these 14-year-olds,” said Mrs. Hutchison, who drives a school bus. “I think they’re going to have a lot of ‘I changed my mind.’ ”

Akelia Morrison already has.

Two years ago, Akelia applied to the magnet program’s law and public safety academy because she wanted to be a lawyer. But after finding many of the legal cases boring and hard to relate to, she was unable to take classes in other fields because she was locked into her specialization.

“Now I wish I had probably gone to another academy because I like computers,” said Akelia, who is 16 and starting her junior year. “When you’re 13, you don’t realize how much work you have to put in to be a lawyer. It’s not like you just go to court, and win or lose, you make a lot of money.”

More from Hu:

Debra Humphreys, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, called high-school majors “a colossally bad idea,” saying youngsters should instead concentrate on developing a broad range of critical thinking and communication skills.

“Today’s economy requires people to be constantly learning and changing,” Ms. Humphreys said. “A lot of jobs that high school students are likely to have 10 years from now don’t yet exist, so preparing too narrowly will not serve them well.”

Despite such naysayers, a number of school districts around the country are experimenting with high school majors, an outgrowth of the popular “career academies” that have become commonplace nationally, and in New York City, over the past decade. But while many career academies simply add a few courses to a broad core curriculum, majors require individual students to make a more serious commitment to a particular educational path.

Already, little kids have more homework than I ever did in high school. In my New York City adopted family -- my friend Cheryl and her husband and three kids -- the seven-year-old sometimes has hours of schoolwork, and loads of pressure on her. Is this a good thing? Does it make kids into better adults, or more neurotic ones?

Posted by aalkon at August 16, 2007 12:27 PM

Comments

Really really bad idea. I think this is going to lead kids in the very wrong direction. AT that age choosing is done more by parents then by the kids. I'm absolutely certain that if my high school had a pre-engineering program (which is does now) I would have been dragged kicking and screaming into it by my dad. His one dream in life was that me and my brother become engineers. I would have so utterly resented it that the seconds I got to college I would have switched to basket weaving, or anything as far from engineering as possible. Which would have in the end screwed both me and dad. I am an engineer and I love my job. High school let me explore different studies which was when I found that I had an aptitude for the tech and pretty much sucked at everything else.

I have even seen this happen at the college level where one couple I knew were both disowned by the parents for leaving engineering. The pressure cripples people, why do you think there are such high suicide rates at Ivy league schools. MIT doesn't (or at least didn't) even give grades for the first year. This level of pressure destroys people in there late teens early 20, what do you they think it does to 13 year olds. That age sucks to begin with now you want to make it worse.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 6:36 AM

Very familiar territory, for me as a product of a somewhat-privileged English education. Like Vlad, I was "persuaded" to opt for engineering at about 14 (in spite of a scholarship in languages). About a year later, the question was "What kind of engineer?", and later "Yes, but what KIND of electrical engineer?"


Only thing is, I don't understand this concept of "pressure". What pressure? As for me, my contact with the real world of engineering persuaded me that it was not for me — I skated through college enjoying extra-curricular activities no end, got a fairish degree and went off to try Shakespearean acting. No problem.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at August 16, 2007 6:57 AM

I have a college friend whose parents told her she had to either go to med school or law school. I had biology with her and she completly froze when it was time to dissect the rat. She just couldn't do it. She has no real desire to be a lawyer either, but she started applying to law schools because her parents wanted her to. I always felt kind of bad for her. Lit was always the subject that made her happiest. It's a shame she couldn't (or felt she couldn't) persue it becasue of her family.

Posted by: meshaliu at August 16, 2007 7:04 AM

The funniest thing about dad pushing me into engineering is that he resented his parents for doing it to him. He spent most of my life swearing that he would never push me into any field of study and how he resented his parents for pushing him into EE since he wanted to do Aerospace (which he later tried and failed). He went on and on about how he would never make me be an engineer. About a 2 years back (and half way through a masters degree) he tried the same shpeal. Not having slept in about 4 days I was beyond the point of niceties and called him on it. Once I had him trapped his final response was "Well that's where you belong any way." I can't remember if I laughed, growled or just fell asleep on the phone.

I have several friends who are or were in the same place. The parents want them to do X and they are no more capable of doing X then I am of flying by flapping my hands. Engineering appears to be the most pushed field, promptly followed by medicine and a distant third law. The engineering for me at least was a cultural issue. All good little Russian boys had to be engineers, or if you fail that become a doctor. I saw people self destruct in ways that at the time I envied (like partying all the time, doing the nasty in groups etc.) or seemed funny but years later the damage is much more obvious. Lives basically ruined by parents at least some of whom had the kids interests in mind (that road to hell is paved), backwards as their approach was.

I was very lucky. I like engineering in the lab I was on par with the prof. and teaching the TA the class work was horrid and I hated most of it though. The lab skills got me through most of the courses. I think it's one of the cruelest things to force someone to dedicate their life to something they hate. At the college level you have some chance of standing up to your parents, at 13 your SOL beyond words.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 7:29 AM

How on earth does a 14-year-old even know what his options are? There are careers now that didn't exist when I was 18, and there are careers that DID exist back then, but that I had never heard of.

14-year-olds should be thinking in terms of having a future, and understand that making good or bad choices now makes a difference. They should be introduced to the idea that their lives will suck if they don't gain some measure of financial independence, and that money is, in fact, important. Someone should also explain to them how bad their lives will suck if they have to drag themselves off to work every day to a job they hate. Then give them the next ten years or so to think about it.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 16, 2007 7:56 AM

It would be better to focus on writing well, reading broadly and having enough math to go into a technical field later, if you want. At 14, any technical stuff will be water-down to the point of being useless. Physics requires calculus, which reqires algebra. I am making my 13 year-old take algebra, because you need that to take stats, which will save you from lots of quackery in life. She likes biology, but you can't do genetics or population studies without some math.

Posted by: Ruth at August 16, 2007 8:17 AM

Pirate Jo, how do you define bad decision? In all other aspects we are in absolute agreement. The youth of today need to do (hell my high school class mates should have done) more exploring of life so they know what it is they want to do. However at 14 how does one see ones future. I don't know anyone who really knew what they wanted to do at 14. I wanted to be an engineer but a good chunk was my parents pushing. Now just shy of 15 years later I see that I and they were correct in that belief but thats after 9 different jobs of which 3 could have turned into careers, and 7 years in academia (or hell as I prefer to call it).

Yes money is definatly important, no matter what if your broke your life will suck. One of those painful object lessons I learned while exploring my options. Money can't buy happiness but a lack of it can take it away.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 8:25 AM

Algebra is needed for everyday life, at least outside of minimum wage. You may not be aware of your using algebra but most of us do. As far as technical stuff being watered down to the point of being useless, I'm not so sure.

At 14 you can definatly grasp basic concepts of CAD, and you don't really need calculus to understand basic circuits or basic mechanics. However without calculus the problems solving takes a long time so either you study nothing but engineering, or you get such a watered down view that as you said it becomes pointless. I'm more afraid of kids studying engineering exclusively, without diversity.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 8:32 AM

Good points all. We Americans forget that even 17-yr-olds are still CHILDREN. From age 11 or so, kids' bodies turn alien and libidos go off the chart, then at 14 you spend most of your waking life in a building and culture wherein you are narrowly defined by your peers, engage in daily power struggles, are surrounded by numerous libido triggers with little hope of relief and subject to an arguably ineffective meritocracy that will forecast your future. Nonetheless, you will likely experience some of the greatest joys of childhood. Then you turn 18 and get bitch-slapped by reality. This is the system we designed.

We should junk the boot-camp approach and support our children to grow and mature into jobs they love, not be in a hurry to push them out of the nest.

Posted by: DaveG at August 16, 2007 8:37 AM

Vlad, by bad decisions I mean things like getting knocked up, getting someone else knocked up, developing a drug problem, flunking out of school, or failing to learn basic things like reading, writing, basic math, etc.

It creeps me out to think of 14-year-olds being forced to choose a career. In fact, I don't think even an 18 or 19-year-old has to decide. I picked accounting as a major because I knew I wouldn't have any problem getting a job or making an independent living, and those were the only important things to me at the time. However, I've been in the accounting/finance field for 15 years now, and although I don't have to worry about money, I am bored into a coma. So I'm going back to school at the age of 37 to get an IT degree and move in a new direction. What does that prove? Well, that you NEVER have to decide what to do "for the rest of your life." You can always change your mind later if you want.

However, I think that for "at-risk" kids, the issue isn't so much getting them to decide on a career, it's getting them to even imagine having one in the first place.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 16, 2007 8:53 AM

Yeah, I feel bad for kids these days. I'm only in my early 30s, and things are much different for them than for me. I helped support myself in grad school working for an elite SAT-prep and tutoring company. My students were ridiculously busy - with homework, sports, band, other extra-curriculars, etc. I often just wanted to tell their parents to let them be kids. But the sort of parents who paid my rates (I was billed at $150/hour!) weren't about to let their kids do anything that might compromise them being the best - BEST - candidates for the Ivy leagues, etc. I don't see how this type of life will let the kids explore, mess up, get in trouble, and any of the other things that are really important for growing into a real adult.

Posted by: justin case at August 16, 2007 9:03 AM

See Stu's comments, above.

Also, why is this not like Jesuit school, a setting of pressure so focused and instrusive as to sear the boundaries between your thinking and that of others into your everyday awareness?

Izzat too flowery? You see what I'm getting at.

Life and civilization are supposed to kick you around a little, to make sure you don't like it too much.

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 9:04 AM

Since people now have a number of 'careers' in their lives, the broad spectrum education makes the most sense. Critical thinking skills, basic and advanced English language skills, math, science would be good. Also, since we are in a high tech world, logic and a bit of computer programming should be taught, as well as how to process large amounts of information in an efficient way. Another skill which should be taught is money management.

There should also be the option of letting kids go to trade schools, but only after they have the basics down.

Posted by: Chrissy at August 16, 2007 9:04 AM

Stu said: "Only thing is, I don't understand this concept of "pressure". What pressure?"

As someone who has been in high school within the last years, I'll try to answer your question.

There is a large amount of expectations in high school now. You must take the state standardized tests (two times in Florida), you must take the graduation requirement exam, you have to take the PSAT, the SAT, the ACT, and so on and so forth.

You are also expected to have a part-time job after school (at least, most people I knew had to have one).

Not only that, but in addition to passing these tests, managing your social life to the point where you're not completely ostracized, and working yourself stupid, you are also expected to make decent grades, take AP/Advanced classes, and be involved in at least one (preferrably more) extracurricular activity, plus to graduate with honors, you had to do so many hours of volunteer work, too. This is what high school was like.

These high expectations came not only from parents, but from the school. At one of the high schools I attended, an extracurricular activity was required to graduate. And when the school wasn't breathing down your neck (FCAT! PSAT! GRT! AP TESTS!), don't forget about what society thinks of you. Headlines like "COLLEGE GRADUATES CAN'T FIND WORK" and "UNEMPLOYMENT HIGH" and "HIGH SCHOOLERS DUMBER AND LAZIER THAN EVER" peek around every corner, and if you care about your future (or have parents who insist on scholarships and good grades), this counts as pressure. And the pressure isn't that you have to be the best; it's that you have to do all this stuff to even be in the race!

Posted by: CornerDemon at August 16, 2007 9:11 AM

> 17-yr-olds are still CHILDREN.

No, they're seventeen. They've been driving for two years and are a year away from enlisting in the Marine Corp.

I see what you're getting at, but I wonder what Cornerdemon here is complaining about. People seem to think there was this golden age when economics and other social pressures weren't applicable until someone's thirty-fifth birthday... And that this was good!

Ten years ago George Will reviewed a book about what life was like in the year Y1K. He said "There was zero unemployment... Because if you didn't work, you didn't eat."

Yeah, sure, teenagers have to think about what's going to happen to them and how they're equipped to deal. You gotta problem with that?

Not everything that happens to a human being is the result of policy.

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 9:22 AM

Um, last I checked you could still enlist at 17 with parental consent. You don't get to drive by your self in some states or regions (long Island being one of them) till your 17 (18 in NY city). Check your facts.

In year 1K you didn't eat if you didn't work only if you were a commoner. Life was different for nobles.

Teenagers should be aware of their future and how to deal with it. However if all you have is time to prep for the next test as opposed to actually see the big picture how are you to prepare?

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 9:34 AM

Not everything that happens to a human being is the result of policy.

You're right (would anyone here dispute that?). But as people who try to be informed and everything, we're right to think about policy and its effects, no? I think that there's a general theme in most of the comments here that the sort of policy described in Amy's main post may not be a good one. No one's denying that teens have to think about their future, or that nobody gets a free ride till they're 35. In this case, tracking people from a very young age might be a good way to turn people into narrowly specialized technocrats, which seems like a poor response to the economic situation we have now, where more and more people have jobs that use more than one skill set and where fewer people will work the same jobs their whole adult lives. It's not all policy, but it's not all not policy, either.

Posted by: justin case at August 16, 2007 9:40 AM

> Check your facts

You don't like me, do you, Vlad?

A teenager enlisting earlier than 18 seems to support my point, which is that it's wrong to call such people children. At 15 in Indiana, you're driving. Usually it's a learner's permit, so you have to have one of your big brother's friends in the car when you drive into town to try to find beer or pornography. Meanwhile, there you are, in charge of thousands of pounds of deadly flying metal.

> Life was different
> for nobles.

As ever. But in those days nobility was a freakishly rare condition. Have faith that if you could be returned to that century and dropped into a random human hide, you'd be fuckin' hungry.

> time to prep for the next
> test as opposed to actually
> see the big picture

What's the difference? What big picture?

Again, throughout most of human history (and across much of the globe today), kids were desirable because they were so good working in the fields, day after day, year after year....

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 9:44 AM

> teenagers have to think about ... how they're equipped to deal. You gotta problem with that?

Not at all. I think being a manipulative hardass is a poor parenting strategy.

Posted by: DaveG at August 16, 2007 9:57 AM

Unfamiliar territory for yours truly. My school experiences were centered on turning me into a ‘complete’ person through the Roman Catholic tradition. A revised or contemporary version of the trivium* and quadrivium.* Of course, I junked the spiritual mumbo jumbo, but kept the intellectual standards.

*Trivium: logic/philosophy, rhetoric/oral communication and grammar.
*Quadrivium: mathematics, the fundamental sciences and the appreciation of the arts.

Posted by: Joe at August 16, 2007 10:15 AM

> tracking people from a very
> young age might be a good way
> to turn people into narrowly
> specialized technocrats

Where are these docile, pliable teens? What kind of schools do they go to? Are they suburban or something? Also, am I too old to flirt with the girls?

Every few years someone takes a scifi film too seriously and starts to worry that some Bond villain is going to clone a race of Hitler children and raise them on an island somewhere to be a brutal, merciless killing force. And then you remind them that we already have inner cities full of brutal, merciless teens, killers given to us without coordinated effort and master planning.

This is like that only backwards. As long as high school classrooms are half full of teenage boys, with heads of full of Chevy transmission diagrams and pants full of burning erections, you don't have to be worried that kids are too attentive in class.

The perverting allure of technocracy has limited range, just like foot fetishes and country music. Consider the clerk Chuck, appearing now in a nearby comment stack. You'll probably agree that this is an statistically outlying personality. They're are too many of them and the spend too much of our money, but he's not really dangerous. This is a person who found his place in life. And if there once were edges to the personality and a sturdy ego, the decades of stultifying memoranda have sanded them away.

IJS, let's not panic. To grow up in a time when your greatest pressure is the encouragement of those around you to do well is to live in the envy of human history.

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 10:16 AM

I certainly wouldn't call teenagers "children," either. Infantilizing and micromanaging them only makes it harder for them to take ownership of their own lives as adults. Is there really a need to shove a 14-year-old or a 16-year-old into a life script? Whose life is it, anyway? Why would you still WANT to be telling your kid what to do with his life when he's 18? Do you want him to be completely incompetent to make his own decisions, or do you simply have nothing else to do?

When I look at the 20-somethings around me, it's precisely a lack of independent thinking, a blind adherence to following a life script, that causes so many of them to have a starter marriage/divorce under their belts so soon. Not to mention, what's the big rush to pop out rugrats and saddle themselves with McMansions and car payments at such a young age? When you figure out that you hate your job and wish you'd chosen another career path, your financial obligations (golden handcuffs) are what keep you from making the change into something better.

Financial independence is important, yes, yes, anyone who has ever paid bills understands that. But making money is only part of that equation - the other part is managing it. Baby boomers are notoriously materialistic, and it sounds like some of them are cramming the same values down their teenaged offspring's throats. Gotta get a law degree or be a doctor so you can buy a Brentwood house and drive a Mercedes! Who CARES if you live in a Brentwood house or drive a Mercedes, besides your pretentious parents? Making money is only important to the point where you don't have to worry about it. After that, it's how you spend your time that matters. (And here's another thought - at least CONSIDER living childfree, if you want financial freedom, independence, and more mobility in life.)

I like the point someone made about trade school. What a great idea - learn a useful skill, relatively inexpensively, that you can make a living from. Then, if you want to further your education at some point, go ahead and do it! Learning doesn't stop when you reach the age of 22 - you can go back to school later to change careers or just to pursue a course of study you find interesting. Do kids really need to go live on campus and attend college full-time for four years after high school? If all they're going to do is party anyway, they can go share a house with a bunch of roommates and get jobs. At least then they won't be going into debt for it.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 16, 2007 10:26 AM

I agree Crid.

Even my school wasn't a bunch of mindless technocratic robots in military school uniforms. There was a healthy drug trade and exchange of porno magazines(all boys school) within the student body.

Posted by: Joe at August 16, 2007 10:31 AM

Right, you're one of those Jesuits school guys. Robert Hughes wrote in his book about how they taught him how to think and filled him with enough resentment to propel him through a life of achievement.

(this is not meant to exonerate Mahony & Co.)

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 10:44 AM

Crid,
Don't like you? Don't know you well enough to say either way. The Check your facts comment came out wrong. I was just taking pot shots at the mercury autism idiots and didn't switch out of the mindset. I apologies for how it came out. However I disagree with your points on several levels.

Since my wife worked at the schools system I have the very serious problem with the tracking. As I stated had my dad had the chance to track me I would have gotten screwed. Thus allowing it to happen to other people is wrong in my opinion.

The big picture? Um what goals and aspirations do you have in life. If all you do is look for the next test, which is about all there is in Mass for schooling, then you get simple minded mean spirited little bastards. Thus when these ass holes grow up I'm gone have to deal with them. So for purely selfish reasons. Also if some kid get tracked as an MD by his/her parents then when I get to be an old geezer I get diagnosed based on a crib sheet. Thus yet again I get screwed because they should never have been an MD in the first place. The more regimentation your add (obviously up to a point) the narrower the mind set gets. I'm all for some regimentation but the question is of where to draw the line.

Having seen what my wife had to deal with these parents I can state with certainty, there is no encouragement to succeed. The only thing I'm seeing is parents who want perfect little trophies that walk talk and bug the shit out of me.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 10:45 AM

Pirate Jo,

One of the main problems is that trade schools are looked down upon within the population. The last few decades students have been fed a line that could be summed up in one idiotic phrase: "Yale or jail." Not everyone is cut out for a college or university education.

The other problem is the concern over the 'kid who eats paste' types. No matter how much money or 'reform' the curriculum he/she will still eat the paste, just a more expensive brand. Who suffers in the end? The kids who are there to get a decent education. Trade or vocational schools are an answer.

Posted by: Joe at August 16, 2007 10:49 AM

> I apologies for
> how it came out.

Don't do that! It takes the fun out of this! Be bitter!

> when these ass holes
> grow up I'm gone
> have to deal

I see what you mean, but it seems like we in the west have, in recent decades, been breeding a pretty gentle kind of asshole.

Here's a story about young people under pressure.

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 10:52 AM

I did trade school before under grad. I think it's a fantastic idea. I think it might not be a bad idea for everyone to learn a trade before college.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 10:54 AM

In the north east the schools have been breding the most vicious of little fucker I've seen and I grew up in the shittier neighborhood in queens. These little shits will turn on the most defenseless one in the class like a pack of rabid dogs.

For the same reason the sniper shooting defenseless dogs pisses me off this pisses me off even more. I can't stand bullies and that's what this type of situation breeds. Before anyone says being bullied builds character, in some maybe. In others is breeds a feral hatred that takes years to quell.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 11:17 AM

SHIT! Crid now I'm not gone sleep for a week. This is the type of stuff that is caused by too little guidance. The pendulum swings the other way. I'm all for some regimentation but without some freedom mixed in you get bad results as well. Go to much in one direction and you get hippies or fascists. Neither is a good idea.

Posted by: vlad at August 16, 2007 11:32 AM

I decided to go to both community college and university, thus getting some trade school hands-on education first, and then doing pure academia next.

I believe that it has enriched my life immensely, and I continue to learn all the time. The skills you learn from a general education tend to be more general, like mental self-discipline and the ability to organize your thoughts and present them in writing or when speaking.

The reason I mentioned trade schools is that my father and brother are both in the trades (plumber & electrician, respectively) and have the potential to make lots of money, while remaining independent and doing something they enjoy. The trades are apparently respected in Germany, (I think we already went through all this in a previous blog).

Posted by: Chrissy at August 16, 2007 11:46 AM

Department of "My education was more hell than yours":

We had exams. relentlessly.

We had enforced football, cricket, cross-country runs.

We had compulsory Cadet Force including farcical 'Field Days'

....and now the trump card:

We had corporal punishment. Senior boys were allowed to ritually cane juniors.


Any more questions?

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at August 16, 2007 12:53 PM

I had the typical american modern middle-class highschool experience. I turned out fine. My major complaints at the time where not about the homework. They were:

1. I'm madly in love with a basbeball player will he ask me out???
2. I fucking hate my friends. What fucking pricks.
3. I'm dying of boredom.

All problems were solved after graduation.

Posted by: PurplePen at August 16, 2007 1:11 PM

I've written before that trade school and learning trades should be offered as an option for those who aren't "college material." And I'm all for the Jesuit-style education (minus the religious bullshit, of course). As Joe noted:

*Trivium: logic/philosophy, rhetoric/oral communication and grammar. *Quadrivium: mathematics, the fundamental sciences and the appreciation of the arts.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 16, 2007 2:11 PM

Drezner considers the "big picture."

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 2:46 PM

Tim Carter, nationally syndicated home-improvement newspaper columnist:

I am by no means an expert in knowing exactly how to reverse the trend of lower quality and promote the awareness of vocational education. But I do know a couple of places we can start. We can begin by mimicking our neighbors in European countries. Students in Europe who decide on a job track that is not white collar are treated with as much respect as those people who decide to be managers and thinkers instead of one who works with their hands. It makes sense because all of those people who work in offices and other places need a roof over their head, a toilet that works and plenty of reliable power for all of the computers and printers they use during the course of a workday. What's more, these same people need all of these things and more when they go home at the end of the work day.

Link: http://www.askthebuilder.com/522_Vocational_Education_a_New_Priority.shtml

Posted by: Doobie at August 16, 2007 7:40 PM

Kaus said something about this last week, that he was OK with the idea that auto workers made more money than college professors. I agree but think it's cool (and cute) that college professors resentful. Europe in general isn't a place that nourishes individual ambition the way the United States does. Not meaning to be all Gordon Gecko or anything, but the will to do better than others is a big reason people like it here. Europeans often seem to content to let a socialist paradise make things happen in their lives, from education through health care. But see this [July 23, 2007 (5:10 P.M.)] for more about health care.

Aspiration makes the world go round. You gotta want stuff (or someone).

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 7:58 PM

are resentful... New record for typos today

Posted by: Crid at August 16, 2007 7:59 PM

It is possible to mimic how Europeans treat those who are in trades--which he was specifically referring to--without adopting their socialist system(s) of government.

Posted by: Doobie at August 16, 2007 8:30 PM

You sure?

Posted by: crid at August 16, 2007 8:40 PM

I think it is a totally stupid idea. Many students do not know what they want to major in until late in their college careers. To me it is just another fad to try to tell people that schools are doing something to improve student achievement and motivation. If we had better teachers in our schools we would not need gimmics like this one. We know that the teacher is the most important thing in influencing students in what courses to take, not content.

Posted by: BrianG at August 17, 2007 7:29 AM

Hmmm. BF and I just got back from Boston; we had gone to visit his 21-year-old daughter, who goes to school there. She has a job at a high-end retail store, and as this is her senior year, she has only 3 required classes. She's majoring in psychology.
She met us at the hotel (we stayed in the Back Bay area, she lives in Brighton), took us all around on the T, was very knowledgeable about the whole damn city. Dinner at Boston Beer Works near Fenway Park. Blue Man Group at the Charles theatre. Boston Commons. Christian Science Building; she pointed out various colleges along the way, and some very interesting restaurants and shops. She conversed very intellegently on a variety of subjects, including the stock market. Her father advised her to start her 401k. She has turned into quite the independent young lady, someone that BF is (and should be) very proud of. I think she turned out so well because of the combination of her schooling (public) and her parental guidance, both of which were consistant and positive. I can only hope my daughters turn out as well.

Posted by: Flynne at August 17, 2007 8:04 AM

Kaus said something about this last week, that he was OK with the idea that auto workers made more money than college professors.

This fact has more than a little to do with the fact that I didn't choose to become a professor after completing my Ph.D. 50k a year (starting), after 5+ years of grad school? No way. (another big reason was that working in tech sounded like more fun, too).

I wonder how much the fact auto workers are unionized and professors aren't has to do with this disparity, though.

Posted by: justin case at August 17, 2007 9:16 AM

Who needs collective bargaining when you've got tenure?

Pussies, all of 'em.

- Crid the Freelancer

Posted by: Crid at August 17, 2007 9:53 AM

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