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View Diary: Survey of First-Year Students' Politics (45 comments)

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  •  I am very disappointed at the number of responses (6+ / 0-)

    in the affirmative to the question about higher education and earning power.

    That, in my opinion, is a side benefit to going to college but should not be the primary focus. But I think it has been for a long time: I remember as an undergraduate looking around class and thinking "80 percent of these people are totally intellectually incurious". I guess I was wrong. I guess it was closer to 70 percent.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 11:51:25 AM PST

    •  Agreed. (6+ / 0-)

      This from the CIRP report, page 9:

      "To learn more about things that interest me" is a close second in 2011, with 82.9% indicating this reason is "very important" in deciding to go to college. In 2006, before the current recession, this reason to attend held the top position, when 76.8% of entering students indicated that learning about things that interested them was a "very important" reason to go to college, and higher than the 70.4% who indicated the same for securing a better job. Interestingly, although there has been a change in the top spot, "to get training for a specific career" remains steady as the third most important reason to attend college with 77.6% of students in 2011 indicating this reason as "very important" in deciding to attend college. Slightly fewer than this, 71.7%, believe that "to be able to make more money" is a "very important" reason to go to college. About as many entering students in 2011 are interested in making more money as in a general education.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 12:05:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am and also I'm not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee, ER Doc, kyril

        It would be nice if more college students primary goal was intellectual development.  

        On the other hand, the glut of college students who go for social advancement has a benefit for society beyond the students themselves.  Recall that in most institutions, the primary job of the faculty is research, not teaching. Without students contributing their tuition, or driving demand for teachers, there'd be no need for nearly as many researchers, and our sciences (and humanities) would slow down.

        Also, colleges have enormous economic benefits for the towns and cities they're found in.  If the price we have to pay for that is providing little more for many young people (of all social strata!) than social advancement, is that so terrible?

        "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

        by nominalize on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 09:53:48 PM PST

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      •  perhaps.... (0+ / 0-)

        they're thinking of "making more money" as "more than zero"? as in, actually getting a job? I could see that.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

        by wasatch on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 10:59:37 PM PST

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    •  Yes, I was dismayed (5+ / 0-)

      by that data point.

      All that teaching to the test in high school has undermined any love of learning for many students.

      •  Good comment... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ubertar, Chinton

        In my last few years teaching in higher-ed, "teaching to the test" did indeed seem to have an effect on students' relationships to learning. Even in an elite liberal-arts institution I was fielding an ever-increasing number of questions along the lines of "what do I need to know for the exam."

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 05:20:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I saw that in the late 80's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angry marmot

          way before NCLB when I was a biology TA. I also saw students who were panicked by short answer questions as opposed to multiple choice, and though I was not allowed to take points off for sentence fragments, poor grammar and spelling, in the cases where the writing was so bad that we honestly couldn't make any sense of it, we didn't have to give credit.  What were these people doing in college? One of the saddest things? A bunch of them were pre-med students. In one class, I think some had already been accepted.

          In my high school, every student had to take a semester of  grammar, write essays, most (all?) got essay questions on a lot of tests, and every single graduate could at least write a reasonable paragraph with complete sentences. Granted, it was a private Catholic college-prep high school with a great English department, but you'd think that complete intelligible sentences and some ability to synthesize information would be a bare minimum of skills for actual college students.

          48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

          by wasatch on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:11:03 PM PST

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    •  it has been drilled into them for their entire (4+ / 0-)

      education, by parents, teachers, administrators, and popular culture. the half century of obsession with "are our children lagging behind [country X] in the all-important math and science?" fixation hasn't helped either, as humanities and social sciences have been defunded, neglected, and dismissed as irrelevant to the false educational idols of Prosperity and Competitiveness.

      but they do have innate curiosity, often somewhat concealed at first, but it's in there. ultimately, though, a long-repeated talking point is going to get regurgitated if prompted.

    •  I don't think you can discount the high financial (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone, Flying Goat, wasatch

      cost of college as a driving factor in young people's evaluation of the benefit of college. Who at that age doesn't believe he or she can satisfy pure intellectual curiosity on his/her own?

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 06:33:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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