Schooling: Make it Useful

Last time I wrote that schooling does not equate to education. This is true no matter what the SAT scores, the selectivity indices, the retention rates and the job placement percentages tell you. I tell you, that doesn’t make me elitist. People both high and low make the same mistake, and we all get jipped for it.

Tens of thousands of dollars is quite a price to pay for mere job training with a social scene, maybe one with hookups, sexual and professional.

Let me first make a disclaimer. I recognize that fewer people went to college two centuries ago, that tertiary education has made the upper class and that not going to college often means a blue-collar job and low social status. I am not suggesting segregating the population by education, though in some moments of anger at the abuse of the system I think many students are a waste of resources that could better be spent on the real students. I am saying, however, that there’s more to education than we attribute to it and that bad people will not be made virtuous by university systems that don’t do anything but indoctrinate them and make them jump hoops.

Tens of thousands of dollars is quite a price to pay for mere job training with a social scene, maybe one with hookups, sexual and professional. When everyone, it seems, goes to college we find it easy to lose sight of that. I cannot stress enough (no pun intended) how important it is to try to get as much of an education as possible. The Ivy League is not a silver bullet, even if you’ve managed to get into HYP. Neither even is a research position that helps land you in professorial professional school (a Ph.D. program).

“No; you’re looking for the highest and most profound educational payback possible — not ease, not comfort, not fun and not job placement.”

Plugging people into more school in hopes of pushing the bulk into the upper middle class, fuelled by the dream of social mobility, makes no improvement to the people of a nation. White people, stop dreaming about the Ivy League. Asian people, stop dreaming about Harvard, Stanford and medical school. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t a delusion. If you’re a parent, please don’t think of education as a way to get your kids more material security, and don’t pressure your son or daughter to be the golden child. If you’re a child, please support your parents in adversity as well as in comfort, because living your parents’ dream and going without contemplation and sharing your excess isn’t necessarily being filial.

Golden child, I really do lament that life is robbing you of a complete education. I know it’s by no means your fault, and I’ve never had the trust in God you need even to get through the craziness. Maybe Plato, Avicenna, Xunzi and Laozi are all useless to you, but remember what truth this does tell you. If this is you, may God give you courage in His grace and us the love to support not only your immediate needs but also your growth in wisdom and peace and joy.

What things to seek in a good education? Michael Bauman, Professor of Theology and Culture at Hillsdale College and former Newsweek editor, has written an article about what to look for in a university. Those who are trying to choose a university to attend, look well, o wolves, look well. Those who have already chosen, look for this in your classes, not just what’s “relevant” to your major itself. Think about the redeemed purpose of education. Tell me how you’ll use yours as more than just an exquisitely well-oiled cog in a cruel society.

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3 responses to “Schooling: Make it Useful

  1. On the subject of this though, after failing to get into 7 schools, I finally got into my eighth! And I am quite content.

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  2. “If you’re a parent, please don’t think of education as a way to get your kids more material security, ”

    Indeed, you can go to a CC for that. But for a good while I was scared of being consigned to a school with no linguistics, never mind a school where I could research it!

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  3. Ah, alhamdulillah. Are you still waiting for any?

    Like

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