Guest column/Higher education: Yesterday and today
I attended college from 1965 until 1989, acquiring three degrees as well as taking other postgraduate education courses. The total tuition for my undergraduate and graduate classes was approximately $10,000 during the “golden age” of a college education.
Today, many parents have to mortgage their homes to pay for their son’s or daughter’s college education. And it’s not only the tuition price-tag, but the outrageous costs of books, lab fees, required course software, etc. Parents and students are being “nickeled-and-dimed” to death with such incidental expenses.
Oops! I almost forgot. The essentials. Your child has to eat and have some place to sleep. And the beat of the “financial drain” goes on.
I am reminded of a father I spoke to a couple years ago. He was so proud when his daughter received a $10,000 per year scholarship. That is, until he was shocked to learn that the yearly tuition cost was $40,000.
The financial nightmare doesn’t end upon graduation. There are the student loans (plus interest) to pay back, an ordeal that haunts graduates for years, even decades.
While working out at the gym the other day, I was talking to a young man who just completed his master’s de,gree in education with a major in mathematics. I was shocked when he informed me of his student-loan debt: $101,000. His grandchildren will still be paying it off.
Life after college is no picnic for many graduates and their parents as well. “Why?” you ask. They can’t find employment in their degree areas and have to live at home — still being supported by their parents and working part-time, low-paying jobs at fast-food establishments or restaurants as waitresses, waiters or busboys — while interest accrues on their hefty college loans. Not a pretty picture.
You would think college deans (especially in the education and liberal arts departments) would see to it that all their graduating students would be offered entrance-level positions in their areas of expertise upon graduation.
After all, these students and their parents have practically sold their souls for a sheepskin.
But it gets even more frustrating for hardworking parents when they realize that their children were college “guinea-pigs” who have been indoctrinated by many unrealistic, narcissistic professors who think they have the panacea for the human existence via liberalism. Allow me to explain this politically oriented, academic practice in many institutions of higher learning.
The political agenda
When I matriculated at college from the 1960s to the 1980s, I was, of course, surrounded by many liberal professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers.
The definition of a liberal in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “not narrow in opinion or judgment; tolerant.”
Most of my professors had no qualms in expressing their liberal tendencies.
Were they trying to sway students to embrace their philosophical views and values?
Of course, they were. And to be totally honest, so did I during my four decades as a K-12 teacher. One cannot help but express his or her views and values; it’s just human nature.
However, my college professors were tolerant and listened to students who had different viewpoints on various topics. They never embarrassed anyone in their classes who expressed thoughts contrary to their liberal outlook on life.
Moreover, students were able to express their own opinions on essay exams without fear of a lower grade if their writings contradicted the thoughts of their college content-area professors.
In fact, these liberal professors promoted fresh and opposing ideas from their students as part of the collegiate classroom learning environment.
I had a wonderful undergraduate and graduate education-student experience, preparing for my future profession.
In contrast, many of our contemporary liberal professors in the college and university academic arenas have gone way too far with their beliefs. They have become dogmatic with no “tolerance” for other points of view. Much of it under the guise of what they call being “politically correct.” Let’s face it, today’s liberal movement of being politically correct, especially in our colleges and universities across the country, has most definitely “muted” the voices of intelligent students who may have different, more conservative ideals.
For fear of upsetting their “profs” and receiving lower course grades. In a way, these students have become “hostages” in their college classrooms.
Today’s liberal professors with “narrow-minded” opinions are very judgmental, especially with others who don’t agree with their self-proclaimed, superior views on how we must all behave, speak and think.
Furthermore, where do you think many college students are being indoctrinated to believe that “socialism” is the cure for all of society’s ills?
Of course, it’s a “no brainer.” They are being “brainwashed” in the collegiate classroom setting by professors who have no understanding of the real world. If they did, these pseudo-intellectuals would possess the wisdom to know that socialism has failed horribly whenever and wherever it has been put into practice.
To be honest, most teachers working in their classroom “cocoons,” have no concept of what it’s like in the private-sector work place.
I have to laugh when I think of one of my former classroom colleagues. He was offered a position at a local business that would pay him twice as much money.
His last day as a teacher he informed us, “Well, folks, I’m going out into the real world.”
A year later, he was back in the classroom.
We all want our children to be well-educated adults, but use common sense.
If your children are not that excited about bookwork, don’t waste their time or your hard-earned money on college. Instead, point them in the direction of the trades. The price tag is much, much lower, their paychecks will often be equivalent or even better than college graduates (who can find a job) and they will have a deeper understanding of living in the real world.
(Welker is an educational and athletic columnist.)