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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

P.S. 247 and the absurdity of the idea that college is a necessity

For a speech I am giving I was looking for a picture of the man who was principal of my elementary school many years ago. So, I went to the P.S. 247 (Brooklyn) web site and discovered that it is now a "New York City College Partnership Elementary School." When I finished laughing, I started to wonder when this "everyone must spend their entire childhood worrying about getting into college" nonsense would end.

Then I saw a very nice article called "7 Reasons not to send your kid to college" by James Altucher:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/seven-reasons-not-to-send-your-kids-to-college/19572537/

which I recommend to anyone who wants to think carefully about this issue. Of course it is followed, in the mode of the day, by the usual vitriolic comments about how he is an idiot and how college must have taught him to be able to write his column. This again had me in fits of laughter as I recalled how I had to teach writing to Ivy League graduates who were my PhD advisees because they had never learned to write in college.

In any case, I agree with the writer. College has become, in people's minds, something it was never intended to be: a job training ground, and it fails miserably at that, since professors don't give a damn about job training.

P.S. 247 was not a great bastion of learning nor a fun place in the 1950's, and I can only imagine how awful it is now.

2 comments:

anonymous math maestro said...

Here is what might or have happened if the school administrators do not advocate the "college-bound" mantra. More funding will go into "non-academic" education like vocational arts, trade schools, career training, etc. Then a misappropriate number of minority students collect in the non-academic education paths. Politically correctness groups will then sue the school district for misappropriating the minority students to the non-academic paths while appropriating other racial demographics to the academic path. So the short answer as to why school administrators continue the "everyone must spend their entire childhood worrying about getting into college" goal: to provide equitable education environment to all students without getting sued. If you can help eliminate the lawsuit part, then public schools may actually specialize to the students and not the other way around.

Sure, there will always be small pockets of public vocational or trade schools that have equitable diverse student demographics. But on the large scale, students will more likely group to certain schools or career paths of their race. This is evident 30-years after court ordered de-segregation that Anglo, African-American or Hispanic students still find ways to collect at certain schools, which is why we still have segregation, but at least it is voluntary this time. Another example is that California higher education students being 50% Asians, but yet Asians consists of 12% of the overall California population. At least higher education is a choice, but elementary and secondary education is not, therefore, the school administrators have to put on the “college-bound” face.

I hope this explains why absurd ideas perpetuate in the public schools.

anonymous math maestro said...

Here is what might or have happened if the school administrators do not advocate the "college-bound" mantra. More funding will go into "non-academic" education like vocational arts, trade schools, career training, etc. Then a misappropriate number of minority students collect in the non-academic education paths. Politically correctness groups will then sue the school district for misappropriating the minority students to the non-academic paths while appropriating other racial demographics to the academic path. So the short answer as to why school administrators continue the "everyone must spend their entire childhood worrying about getting into college" goal: to provide equitable education environment to all students without getting sued. If you can help eliminate the lawsuit part, then public schools may actually specialize to the students and not the other way around.

Sure, there will always be small pockets of public vocational or trade schools that have equitable diverse student demographics. But on the large scale, students will more likely group to certain schools or career paths of their race. This is evident 30-years after court ordered de-segregation that Anglo, African-American or Hispanic students still find ways to collect at certain schools, which is why we still have segregation, but at least it is voluntary this time. Another example is that California higher education students being 50% Asians, but yet Asians consists of 12% of the overall California population. At least higher education is a choice, but elementary and secondary education is not, therefore, the school administrators have to put on the “college-bound” face.