One year after our oldest daughter graduated from BYU, our son-in-law followed suit. Yesterday we watched him file in amongst the rest of the class of 2012 to Pomp and Circumstance and then, later, walk by the podium to receive his diploma.
I sat thinking back about 25 years, when I receive my bachelor's degree from the same university and when my husband received his integrated bachelor's/master's degrees. Four years later, he marched again to get his hood and his PhD.
College is an interesting animal. It is fun, demanding, social, stressful. I can be the means to learn a trade or to know yourself. It can be the best investment of a lifetime or a colossal waste of resources.
So much depends on the student and the rest depends on the professors and the institution.
How much are linguistics courses in Los Angeles or graphic design schools in Miami really worth? Are large, prestigious, extravagant schools of higher learning really worth the big money? Or will a small, local community colleges fit the bill?
I know a couple of things for sure:
- I'm a big proponent of college attendance (my oldest daughter is in graduate school and the next two are undergrads)
- Kids take college more seriously when they are seriously investing in paying for it
- Education is what you make it
- Government loans and grants make college more expensive overall
- Colleges require a lot of really dumb, non-educational stuff
- Our current school system (including upper education) isn't remotely the most effective, efficient way to educate people
If I had my druthers, I'd get government out of the education business entirely — from pre-school to post-secondary school. Then I'd engage in true reform that focused on no nonsense, no twaddle, no conflict of interest education. So much more could be done with so much less time and money.
If you could do anything, how would you reform education in your area?