Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Is College Worth It? The Story Part Two

To be sure, there were people that agreed with Dan Brown and others who put in their own rebuttal. This is one of the more creative ones I found from Mickeleh:

Now I don't disagree that the upper crust didn't necessary add anything to the society except the money to buy goods and services from creators. This is not a bad thing.

I ain't saying a mumbling word about the church because they wanted to hold on being the dispensers of information. Literacy was bad for business if you get my drift. Oops, I said too much.

Not sure that was what Dan was getting at but if you are gonna dis academic be fair and be accurate. John Fredricksen gets closer to it:

I disagree with John in that this has to be framed as winners and losers. We are talking about construction life tools to adapt to the changes in employment, environment and the society.

There are people with college degrees seeking grunt jobs to survive. There are people with a self-created skill set pulling down six figure independent income. Who would you classify as a winner or loser?

I feel the current debate about education is centered on vending machine outcomes. It is not centered on what a specific person needs at a given place and time. We are so locked into the mantra of if you follow a directed path you will get a perfect result and ipso facto a perfect life.

The Story Part Two

There are a range of educational options, not absolutes. The goal of education to me is to provide as much life flexibility as you can acquire. It is the ability to have as many choices as possible to support your life.

Let me give you an example.

When word processing classified ads started to replace traditional clerical work I understood in an instant I needed to secure a new level of job skills. When the opportunity came for free training there were people that refused; they didn’t want to learn anything new.

Two years later they were out of work or forced to catch up. Flexibility.

When I returned to college I knew what I would and would not accept in terms of instruction and access to opportunities. I asked questions and snooped around the place. I researched what I wanted to learn and questioned if the school would get me as close to the goal as possible for what I was able to pay.

I made decisions of what I wanted to learn and locating resources both on and off campus that would fill my need to know and understand about the world I live.

The truth is I have been an Edupunk even before there was punk music. In a future post I’ll talk more about the Do It Yourself /Open Education movement.

Let me be clear, I am not saying don’t go to college. I am saying it is ok to think about options and alternative paths that are right for you at this point in your life. That point may change or you might be forced into accepting a different path.

Being prepared for the road untraveled is a very good thing. This includes you Dusties who have always wanted to go back and get it done. Be the change.

BlogHer Recycling and Other Resources

This post appeared in its entirety in February 2010 on BlogHer as The Price May Not Be Right - Is College Worth It?

I am a Contributing Editor at BlogHer. Basically, I'm recycling some of my prior content and finding new stuff.

  • In 2009 Chris Brogan wrote about the various ways that stakeholders, businesses, creatives and others want to contribute to the conversation about How Could New Ideas Change Education.
  • Dr. Kathleen Bolman isn't waiting around for the change. She is providing information about art and architecture via her web site to any teacher, homes chooler or instructor that wants to incorporate it into their lesson plans.
  • Edubeacon is a place where folks can gather to talk about educational innovation. This is cross cultural and not necessarily American centric. We don't have a lock on good ideas lets be open to what other folks have to say.


  1. Hello Gena
    Appreciate your mention of my blog 'Edubeacon'. It's not actually a community site, although I very much appreciate feedback from fellow educators and teacher librarians via comments. I am very interested in educational innovation and good practice in integrating technology into learning.

    As you note, Edubeacon is not American centric. I'm actually Australian with an interest in applying ideas suitable to this part of the world in particular.
    Cheers Camilla

  2. Thanks Camilla for the clarification. Times being what they are I think everyone is or should be looking at different approaches from all sources.

  3. Hi Gena,
    Your comment about winners and losers was right on the mark. It has been accepted that having the "paperwork" promises that one will be successful in life. However it ignores that paperwork alone doesn't define who will be successful. The real question is, who is defining success in the first place? Is it about learning and being equipped to function in the world, or is it about having paper to frame and put on the wall? I'm not sorry that I went to college, but I feel that my real learning took place once I went out into the world.