Oscar Wilde once said that a cynic is “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich would appear to be that cynic. He believes that he has found an easy way to dealing with high tuition costs in college — cut the college education itself. In a move that would be a disaster for the quality and standing of Ohio universities and colleges, Kasich wants schools to reduce college educations to three rather than four years to pump out more graduates in a shorter time.
I have long opposed a similar proposal in law schools to reduce the three year curriculum to two years — a proposal by deans who want to convert legal education into a factory operation.
Kasich ordered state universities to investigate ways for students to get a bachelor’s degree in three years and has called for a crackdown on what he views as lazy college professors who do not teach enough. He is getting support from Matt Mayer of the Buckeye Institute — a conservative “think tank” that (on its website) bills as its “vision” “a revitalized Ohio that ranks among the top ten states in high household wealth, low taxation, and low government costs.” Mayer states in the article below that “If we really kind of strip down higher ed and the four-year degree down to a really rigorous three-year process, for many kids that would be a great road to get their skills, get their knowledge base, graduate and then become productive members of society.” Add a second cynic to the list.
What is missing from such analysis is the process of learning and maturation that occurs in a four-year program. College is not primarily about getting a degree to get better jobs — at least not for educators. It is about producing well-educated individuals with an appreciation for a wide array of knowledge. It should be a time of intellectual awakening for students who are exposed to great ideas and great writers. This exploration can lead students into new fields or simply open up a lifetime interest in learning. “Stripping down” education suggests that some knowledge or course are merely frivolous distractions as opposed to the core classes needed to be functional in society. You can strip down a lawnmower and it will still produce a sharp cut. When you strip down education, you just get a dull graduate.
The desire to rank the “quality” of schools based largely on tuition produces absurd results, as shown in the discredited Forbes rankings.
As for those lazy academics, this seems part of the growing trend of demonizing intellectuals in contemporary politics, particularly among some conservative leaders like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. Colleges benefit from professors continuing research and writing to keep new ideas and works flowing through their classrooms. They are not shop teachers who just teach a single unchanging skill. The quality of teaching depends on teachers remaining intellectually productive.
If Kasich succeeds, the standing of many fine Ohio schools will decline dramatically. The academic standing of schools will plummet in academic rankings and the quality of students will decline in response. The result is a downward spiral where Kasich will be able to show “success” in cranking out more degrees but his state will become a second-rate educational center. As the standing of Ohio schools fails, top professors are likely to go elsewhere as are businesses who want the best and the brightest graduates.
Kasich needs to have someone explain the difference between the price of education and the value of education.
44 thoughts on “McEducation: Kasich Orders Ohio Universities To Look Into Three-Year Degree Programs”
1, April 21, 2011 at 12:25 am
Pete, they ARE trickling down on us. It is warm and yellow. In vast quantities.”
I knew that wasn’t rain LOL!!
Eric: great talking points for Grover and the Koch Crime Family. And for GE who paid not a dime on their profits.
Where are the jobs for the middle class? I know a number of well-educated and motivated people who cannot find a job. One of our local fast food restaurants had a few openings for hamburger flippers and window clerks. They had twice or three times as many applicants as there were jobs. Some of the applicants had college degrees. I have a friend with a Master’s degree who cannot find a job and is mowing lawns to survive. Where are the jobs?
I just got off the phone on a service call with someone whose broken English was barely understandable. Said his name was Kevin. Sure it was. That is a job that could have stayed on this side of the pond; but no, the big corporations take their tax breaks and offshore jobs to southeast Asia.
how about we cut taxes for everyone and let the middle class keep most of their money instead of giving it to pay for corporate bailouts. How about cutting spending for everything but absolute essentials?
How about getting rid of duplication of effort within all levels of government? How about making some things fee for service.
There are all kinds of things that can be done. But we wont because both parties are power hungry and want to grow government. They want Leviathan not Locke.
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