IBJOpinion

Educational quantity sacrifices quality

April 24, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Morton Marcus is right to question postsecondary completion rates as the litmus test for evidence of learning (in the March 29 issue). While most college graduates today couldn’t tell you why it is called a bachelor’s degree, they do know it’s a credential that earns on average 30-percent more than a high school diploma. In our rush toward quantity in the production of college degrees, we do seem to be sacrificing quality.

The Pew Charitable Trusts funded a study a few years ago that revealed some disturbing trends (www.air.org/news/documents/Release200601pew.htm). Sampling nearly 2,000 college graduates randomly selected across 80 public and private colleges and universities, the study found that more than 75 percent of students at two-year colleges and over 50 percent of students at four-year colleges were not proficient in basic literacy, meaning they lacked the skills to perform such tasks as “comparing credit card offers with different interest rates or summarizing the arguments of newspaper editorials.”

Moreover, only 30 percent of students in two-year institutions and nearly 20 percent of students in four-year institutions possessed the basic math skills needed to compare prices or calculate costs from a menu.

This ought to scare even the most optimistic dean of students when passing out the vellum at commencement. And, in case you were wondering, the word bachelor comes to us from the Old French and Middle Latin, baccalarius, meaning tenant farmer, squire or advanced student. Thus the bachelor’s degree was only a step on the way to becoming a fully qualified master. Give me a bricklayer who can set a plumb line.

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Thomas A. Orr
 

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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