Published on 2012/02/14

Time To Descend From The Tower

The one thing I’d change about higher education is it’s false belief that education is best “delivered” and “assessed” from the top-down, by forcing people to pay to learn about ideas they are NOT interested in, and that are irrelevant to their interests, and even antithetical to their talents, rather than supporting people to learn about those things about which they care deeply.

Higher education is built on a shallow academic arrogance that utterly fails to take into account the student’s deepest purposes and circumstances. We refuse to give students credit for their talents, callings, and life experience and insist that one size fits all assessment is functional. We refuse to teach to people’s strengths and enable them to work with and around their weaknesses in the most gracious ways possible. Colleges and universities are disrespectful hosts to those they serve!

It is as rigid as our most rigid of institutions. It squashes initiative and imagination. It is the child of egocentric, patriarchal habits, inflicting unnecessary pain on those who seek the benefits society would give to its “most educated.”

While “enlisting” a huge number of our brightest, most dedicated citizens, the process of higher education contributes almost nothing back to the community as if our society can afford to have its most sensitive people working their heads and hearts to the limit without that work making any immediate contribution to society or to the learner.

It is a tortuous system that requires far too many students to put heart-felt purpose and societal relevance off to after graduation. The proof of the failure of higher education to meet individual and societal needs is abundant. None is more striking than the fact that so many in higher education drop out, and those who remain so often engage in excessive use of alcohol, narcotics, and stimulants.

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