As promised, I said I would discuss college and here we go. How valuable is a college education? To answer that we need to view it from a return on investment perspective for each class that is required. Not all classes are created equal, and some are required just to justify other college degrees.
We spend over 13 years going from kindergarten to our senior year in high school, and every year we get some form of English, history, physical education, music, and other random electives. Then we go to college because we were told we had to if we wanted a good job, and have to take those same classes all over again no matter what degree you want to get. But can anyone tell me the purpose of English class once we get to high school? Maybe some people had a different experience than I did, but 9th through 12th grade English did little or nothing to prepare me for the real world.
English should be about teaching kids how to effectively communicate an idea to an audience, not reading books that need English to English translations. You know what I am talking about. No one except English teachers understands Shakespeare, yet every year we have another Shakespeare play to read. I am an engineer, if I did my presentations and wrote my reports like Shakespeare, would I still have a job?
The other favorite authors are no better, go ahead and recited Mark Twain in public and give me a count of your bruises if you made it out alive. Salinger wrote one book about a cursing teenager, that somehow inspired crazy people to assassinate other people. While I do not necessarily believe in toxic masculinity, Hemmingway made a living off of promoting it. And let’s not forget Dickens, who wrote about poor orphaned children, in Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield, but is best known a story about a greedy man who gets scared into being a good person on Christmas.
That is just high school, then to get my engineering degree I had to take two more years of English in college. When I mention this to people after the fact, I get the same response, “It was to make you a more well-rounded person.” To which I respond, “That is what high school was for, but I am paying for this now.” And those English classes were not about putting together reports to communicate the results of the experiments we did in engineering class, it was more literature written 100 years before I was taking that class.
I would have understood a little better if they had me take a technical writing class, but instead I got to learn the same stuff I learned in high school, and pay for it. I at least took those classes at community college where it cost about a tenth of the price as it did at the University of Houston. I am convinced the only reason we have to have more English classes in college, is so all of those English majors have a better chance of finding a relevant job when they graduate, instead of having to learn something new on the job.
At the end of the day, about half of the time in college falls into the same category as those English classes, a complete waste of time and money grabbing scam. And much like hazing, we all feel like it is a right of passage, and think our kids have to suffer like we did. How about we drive down college costs, but cutting out the worthless classes, can we could all save about half of our money.