Personally, I never cared for the liberal arts side of my early educational. Showing the steps taken in mathematics-based courses was far easier than creating essays in which both the content and structure of your presentation were at risk. I surmise that my preferences made me an ideal candidate for a math, sciences or engineering degree and I definitely fit the old education model of “share the facts and test application and retention.”
In spite of me, schools of the arts, music and broad-based liberal arts colleges have existed for centuries. A quality education should not simply determine which of us can design and use the world’s sophisticated technology, but should address the question of “Why should such technology exist, who will it serve, and how will it impact our biosphere?”
Most youth are full of dreams and aspirations. Many of our brightest minds are as OEM parts of educational organizations that are actually just feeder systems for the Fortune 1000. Yet, many of the most talented are budding Picasso’s, phenomenal athletes, have extraordinary biological intuition and animal husbandry sensitivity. They have an uncanny fondness for the land, water and sky, and they are blessed far more than I with language skills that romance our ears and documents our existence.
Of course there are plenty of budding doctors, lawyers, architects, chemists , economists, programmers, and engineers to keep the standardized test-taking companies pleased with their labors. And, with the logarithmic growth of information during the past couple of generations, you cannot fault the school systems for their unenlightened tendency to fill students’ plates with increasingly more facts and technology training for accessing even more information, calling it education. Such is especially true when quality teaching is often defined as that which effectively delivers specific information with resulting high student performance on related standardized tests.
Students clearly need to know the facts, use the technology and appear competitive in the open market compared to foreign students/workers to whom the Fortune 1000 would otherwise unashamedly gives away their jobs. However, there should be more to education and more to learning. There should be commonalities of history, culture, values and an integration of such for common purposes evident in a quality education. The quality education should be infiltrated with just such objectives as made in the previous sentence if only for the purpose of letting such statements be alternative to the secular null hypothesis that we need none of these, and serving as foundations for compositions by which to address vocabulary, grammar, and rhetoric skills.
Education should not be just a well coordinated and orchestrated input/output activity, rather an experience during which students share the subject matter with their peers in a manner that brings life to materials, demonstrating that the information is multifaceted, the paths to and from it are numerous, and it has multiple interpretations with many potential applications in their lives.
In times when higher education is very expensive and people clearly wish to assure that they are receiving good value and high return for their investments, it is still nice to have a liberal arts college education available.
Don’t forget to apply for admission to one of these schools.