THIS article nearly ruined my morning.
"Four out of five Arizona high-school graduates do not have a college degree six years after graduating from high school, and just over half haven't gone to college at all, a new report reveals....High schools need to do a better job preparing students for college, and community colleges and universities need to focus more on helping students finish their degrees."
Yes. That's exactly it. High school teachers need to spend more of their grossly underpaid time helping their already-matriculated students pass college courses. Universities need to start handing out degrees like credit card application forms.
Or maybe, just maybe, Michael Crow's New American University, with its focus on job training and mass producing "products packaged in maroon*" needs to put a little more effort into making college worthwhile and enjoyable. You know, like we pay them to do?
*I heard him say that during a graduation ceremony. Seriously.
Do you want to know why they don't graduate? It's not because the work is too hard. It's not because they're not prepared. It's because lately, college kinda sucks. There's a new focus on career training, and becoming active participants in a society, and we don't know what we want to do. Nor do we want to do what you think we should do. The academic side of college goes something like this:
College: Give us your money.
Student: Uh, okay. How much?
College: More than you can afford.
College: Because we're building a new student union that you won't be able to use because we'll be renting it out to corporations to make more money to build more rentable properties.
Student: Why am I doing this again?
College: If you don't, you won't be able to get a job, or eat, or buy beer.
Student: *Sigh* Okay. Writes check. Now what?
College: Pick your classes.
Student: What kind of classes?
College: Anything. The whole world is at your feet. We can teach you whatever you want to know about.
Student: Well, space exploration is kind of sweet--
College: Oh, God, don't pick that.
Student: Why not?
College: Do you know how hard that is? Do you know how competitive internships are in that field? You'll never go anywhere with that.
Student: I thought I was just learning about it.
College: No, no, we are going to give you your money's worth! You are going to make enough money to make alumni donations in the first year! You will be a qualified candidate! Just don't aim above your skill level, that makes us look bad.
Student: So what should I choose?
College: Anything. The whole world is at your feet. Notice that trite graduation cliche very neatly excludes the known universe.
Alumna comes in, wearing a graduation hat and some newspapers.
Alumna: Hey, College? What about that job you promised me?
College: Bugger off, I"m busy.
College: Stuffs Alumna's mouth full of newspaper and turns back to Student. So. Classes.
Student: Okay, what about environmental sustainability?
College: Sure, but then you have to go to grad school here, too, because pretty much the only thing you can actually do with that is teach it to other people.
Student: So what should I take?
College: How about journalism? Then you can't say anything bad about us in the newspaper because we gave you your degree.
Student: You know what? I'm going to go do the dishes before my mom gets home. She works hard, and loves me, and wants me to be happy.
College: No, wait, come back! Don't you want your diplomaaaaaaaa?!
Student: F*ck you.