I know there wasn’t supposed to be a Part IV, but at the risk of boring you, and since this is my fantasy list of improvements, here are miscellaneous items that contribute to the degradation of education.
There are Presidents—many of which now have degrees, certifications swearing ability, if you like, in “college administration”; which means that the market has recognized a need to train the bloat—Deans, Associate Deans, Assistance (or, if you prefer, Assistant) Deans, Provosts and underlying hierarchies, Vice President galore, a plethora of capital-O Offices with their associated staffs. The legion of non-teaching “professional” coffer drainers marches on, marches on, assimilating all in their path.
About 80% (a guess, but in the ballpark) of these nice bureaucrats can be fired tomorrow and would not be missed. They wouldn’t be needed if my divisions of trade school, college, research institute existed. But the temptation would be to reproduce the current hierarchy at each division. Given Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, this could be a problem, so the number of non-teaching “professionals” should be capped by treaty in advance.
Russell Kirk suggested that administrators be housed in the smallest and least appealing building on campus. But when these folk perused his book, they read “largest and most opulent”, a natural mistake. Correct this.
Incidentally, most capital-O Offices are designed to placate student whininess. Mike Adams writes that “at least on our campus, the African Americans get a ‘Cultural Center,’ the Woman Americans get a ‘Resource Center’ and the Hispanic Americans…get a ‘Centro.’ But the LGBTQIA Americans only get a ‘Resource Office.'” (I’m not sure what all the letters in that last one stand for.) Students often forget that they are in school to learn, and fearful administrators often forget to remind them.
What Should Be Taught
I suggested (in Part III) that “computer science” students should be housed in trade schools and not college. This is because the vast majority of enrollees in this subject only want to secure a job in programming, web or game design, or the like. These earnest, honest folk really don’t need to know more than the basics. (In a strange twist, professors, insisting on purity (and theory), won’t teach what most of these kids want to learn. Teaching actual languages is seen as an activity…best left to trade schools?)
Hey! Wouldn’t it be nice if computer students knew all about unsolvability, Turing tests, the theory of languages. It would indeed. It would also be nice if they knew all about differential equations, analysis, group theory, quantum chemistry, string theory, all the various niceties of electronic engineering, and so on, plus (for their customers) Spanish, Chinese, and French. And since no education would be complete without a thorough understanding of history, give ’em that. Shouldn’t they know something about literature? And writing? And a slew of other subjects? Yes, absolutely. Let’s well-round them!
My program doesn’t eliminate all these beautiful frills (as seen in the eyes of students), it merely places them in college. There would be no bar to entering a college save ability (and money). But again, the vast majority just want to learn enough to get a job. Let them! If they need to learn more, then can pick up what they need on the job or—get this!—on their own. Those few—Nock’s remnant—who feel the pang and pain of empty skulls can enroll in college. And some of them, upon graduating, can progress to apprenticeships in research institutes.
This all goes for the other trade school majors, of course.
Trade schools should last from between one and two years, no longer unless the need for more is absolute. Every subject does not need the same time to train. “Communications”, “Journalism”, “Business” of any kind can all be packed into twelve months easily. And that’s “twelve months”, not “two sessions of sixteen weeks” plus a lengthy summer and plenty of holidays. “Nursing”, “Engineering” would take two, possibly three years. Etc.
However, no kid will stomach a mere “Associate’s” degree when “Bachelor’s” are to be had. So call all graduates “Bachelors” and save their precious egos.
College should take three years, not four. An immense savings in time is had by removing political requirements (training in “sensitivity” etc., “Introduction to” courses, and so forth), and more time is cut by eliminating electives. Three years of intense, focused reading and writing. This is boot camp.
The carrot I can offer administrators (whose focus is solely politics) is that my plan would increase this precious commodity, for obvious reasons.
College As High School
An increasing proportion of kids come to college/trade school unprepared in the basics (even though, in honor of their self-esteem, they may be co-co-co-…-co-valedictorians). It doesn’t matter whose fault this is, it is still futile to place a kid who can’t read or multiply fractions in college/trade school. Thus one more division must be created to re-do the job the teachers in Wisconsin (etc.) did not do. Call this one “Preparatory School”, where in one (full-length) year, students are re-taught what they should already know.
If we do not do this, and in the name of political correctness continue enrolling the unable, courses must be, as they already have been, “dumbed down.” Or, if not, the flunk out/drop out rate would be too high (see Wither Diversity).