Academically adrift: College students learn little

A new study and book find that colleges are asking less of students who are working less as a result.

A new study and book find that colleges are asking less of students who are working less as a result. (AJC File photo)

Any parent paying college tuition — and I am one of them — will cringe when they read “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” a new book that says 45 percent of college students “demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications during the first two years of college.”

Written by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia, the book also looks at the workload of today’s college student and finds it lacking.  Students are not taking courses that require more than 40 pages of reading each week or classes where they have to write more than 20 pages per semester. It seems colleges are demanding less of students, and students are happy to comply.

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Arum said, “What concerns us is not just the levels of student performance, but that students are reporting that they make such meager investments in studying, and that they have such meager demands placed on them in their courses in terms of reading and writing.”

The findings come from the authors’ study of a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 students at 24 four-year colleges. The authors maintain that the problem of the lack of rigor and lack of learning hurt more than the students. They write in their book:

The U.S. higher-education system has in recent years arguably been living off its reputation as being the best in the world. The findings in our study, however, should remind us that the system’s international reputation — largely derived from graduate programs at a handful of elite public and private universities— serves as no guarantee that undergraduate students are being appropriately challenged or exposed to educational experiences that will lead to academic growth throughout the wide range of diverse U.S. colleges and universities. While the U.S. higher-education system still enjoys the competitive advantage of a sterling international reputation, in recent decades it has been increasingly surpassed in terms of quantity (i.e., the percentage of young adults it graduates), and its quality is coming under increasing scrutiny.

The authors have continued tracking the students in their study through graduation and plan a sequel on their post-college worlds.  According to the Chronicle:

The students who graduated on time, in 2009, have been rewarded with a miserable recessionary labor market. As of late last year, 35 percent of those recent graduates were living with their parents or other family members, and 9 percent were unemployed. Among those who were working full-time, only 17 percent were earning more than $40,000 a year.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

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Peter Smagorinsky

January 26th, 2011
6:04 am

I think that declining financial support for universities contributes to this problem, assuming that it actually exists (and I’ve become skeptical of many studies of achievement based on surveys, which are notoriously unreliable, and reductive test scores). The less money that’s budgeted, the more universities rely on large (3-500 students) lecture hall classes to meet instructional needs. And central administration uses “credit hour production” formulas to reward campus units–that is, they actually reward programs in which student/teacher ratios are extremely high because they are economically rewarding, if not intellectually rewarding. Most of these mammoth classes at large universities take place during the first two years of “general education” course work, which is the period emphasized in this study. When students get into their majors in the junior and senior years, class size decreases and demands on students can be ramped up because it’s more likely that a professor can make 25 people accountable than 250. I should also note that–again, for economic reasons–those gigantic intro courses are more likely to be taught by teaching assistants and adjuncts than by tenure-track faculty. I’m not saying that these faculty are necessarily inferior as teachers to tenure-track faculty, but whatever reputation a university has tends to come from its established faculty rather than its graduate student instructors or adjunct professors.

So I think the author’s conclusion that U.S. universities are “living off their reputations” suggests that administrators and faculty are simply coasting rather than living within their budgets, which the state continues to cut. You get what you pay for. See President Adams’ recent address to the university for an appeal to restore funding that would help address these problems, at least at the graduate level. http://www.uga.edu/news/artman/publish/110120SOTU.shtml

justbrowsing

January 26th, 2011
6:23 am

So much for the student as a “customer” mentality. We run schools like businesses, you compromise the quality of the output. So much for entitlement.

LA teacher 2

January 26th, 2011
6:36 am

I have two in college. I totally disagree; I have seen amazing work ethics, critical thinking, and the development of independence in my sons. Maybe it depends where they go to school?

catlady

January 26th, 2011
7:06 am

No surprise here. Part of it is due to parents who don’t seem to push their students to take meaty courses. Get those minimum 12 hours, prolong your 4 years of college to 5 or 6, and, most importantly in Georgia, keep that 3.0!

Colleges are also at fault, encouraging students to look at their education piecemeal instead of as a coherent whole.

Then there is our policy, where anyone can go to college. The challenge is to keep that revenue stream. My daughter, who taught undergraduate students for 2 years as a graduate assistant at one of the 3 “biggies” here in Georgia, reports abysmal study habits, reading ability, and work effort.

Finally, students who believe that college is their right of passage, and classes are just a necessary evil-a distraction from their real lives.

After all, you can’t increase the rigor. It discriminates and keeps “deserving” students from “getting” their education!

I would be interested to see the response by Pascarella and Terenzini, who “wrote the book” on college effects.

Dr NO

January 26th, 2011
7:14 am

Does “everyone” really need a college degree?

Janice

January 26th, 2011
7:28 am

At my MOR university, some students whine and complain about everything from too much homework to not wanting to think in a class that requires critical thinking. Add helicopter parents and whatever prescription drugs these kids take, and I’m not surpised they don’t learn anything. Further, it’s kind of hard learn when most of them “graduated” from a Georgia high school and are products of NCLB.

On the other hand, there are students who are motivated and want to excel, and are hungry for the chance to learn something when their classmates are not. These handful of students tend to cluster themselves and I find myself teaching to them, the ones who view education as a learning and growing experience and not as a commodity. Interestingly enough, these students are the ones who are landing jobs and internships in their field, in spite of a bad economy.

I’m not surprised so many students wash out their freshmen and sophomore year. If more of them took a year off or went to community college first, they might be better prepared for the rigors of college and so many of us wouldn’t feel as if we’re teaching 13th grade, with a dose of behavioral problems thrown in for good measure.

Dr NO

January 26th, 2011
7:35 am

“I’m not surprised so many students wash out their freshmen and sophomore year. If more of them took a year off or went to community college first,”

Oh no!! That cant be true. As I understand every lil johnny and sally are AGIW – “A Genius In Waiting” and if they are not excelling beyond all previous established norms then of course the material isnt challenging or the teacher isnt motivating or the teacher doenst know the material. Its never the parent or students fault.

Agreed…community college first and let the flunkys flunk out and pay back any funds owed to the taxpayer.

Janice

January 26th, 2011
7:37 am

@ Dr. No: The answer is no but, like everyone having to own a house, we’ve pushed education as The American Dream. While I don’t think we should resort to “Anthem” tactics, more consideration should be given to either going to college or learning a trade.

William Casey

January 26th, 2011
7:49 am

I know that it’s anecdotal, but, I’ve seen phenomenal intellectual growth in my son during the two years he’s been at Georgia Southern. He’s doing dual degree programs in mathematics and philosophy, averaging 17 hours per term. His grades are good but not perfect. It’s the thinking that impresses me. He seems to be enjoying himself as well.

Inman Park Boy

January 26th, 2011
8:16 am

We have so denigrated the college degree that today it carries about the same cachet as a high school diploma did in 1960. We have this desire in the U.S. (rooted in naive beliefs) to send “everybody to college!” Well, what for? A traditional liberal arts degree (poractically dead these days) trained a man or a woman’s intellect so that he/she would have a greater appreciation for life itself. Studies in philosophy, history, literature and mathematics didn’t “train” anyone for a particular “job” (that was the purpose of professional schools, i.e. law, medicine, the clergy). Now we want college to be a job training institution, and for that we are willing to pay several hundred dollars per semester hour. An utter waste!!

Janice

January 26th, 2011
8:17 am

For my vent-free comment, I would like to add that classroom size also can factor into this equation, and I don’t know if the authors take this into account. Students aren’t being done any favors when they are warehoused in classes with large populations. Ideally, the class size would be 20-25, but that isn’t economically feasible at many public institutions and in some classes.

I was fortunate enough to attend a private college and graduate school where the ratio was 16 to 1 and then 20 to 1. When one instructor has 30 or more students, in addition to administrative duties (and factor in being on tenure track, which I’m not thank God), the quality can suffer for what the instructor is able to do and what the students learn.

Some students need extra attention, yet they may not get it at a school where larger classes are the norm. This is not the fault of the school or instructor; this now becomes the fault of politicians who have no concept of what a true learning environment is and are concerned with the bottom line.

Toto

January 26th, 2011
8:32 am

I’m getting my fourth grader ready for college. He’s studying Latin, Machines (pre-physics), writing (5-paragraph essays/creative writing) Ancient history, Medieval history/geography, health and anatomy, botany, general science, Arithmetic (geometry, long division, fractions, pre-algebra, math fact speed drills), drawing (self-portraits), origami, drama, and Bible. Do you think he will be bored?

jd

January 26th, 2011
8:56 am

Legislators don’t think you should teach hard courses and give students the attention needed to succeed — use a non-phd to teach math – -with 60-100 students per section — assuring that tests are nothing more than multiple choice. Refuse the resources needed to expose students to practical applications of what they are learning. Indeed, who needs to be taught how to solve problems not yet invented when the only problems legislative bodies understand is that there is freight that must be moved from the Chinese freighters onto trucks headed to Walmart…

one second

January 26th, 2011
9:01 am

there goes that critical thinking again; critical thinking comes with experience and time; plz ppl on this blog think back when you where in High school and the first years of college; Did you think critically? Now, bring it up to today; have your own reasoning skills not improved?

Students need basic knowledge and skills; then with age and experience critical thinking skills will come

Double Zero Eight

January 26th, 2011
9:02 am

Dr, No is correct. Everyone is not college material.
Many parents and counselors do not have the fortitude
to tell John or Jane that they should pursue alternate
career paths, and learn a trade.

Many kids get behind in middle school and never catch up
because they did not learn the basics (reading, writing and
arithmetic).

Our schools will continue to flounder until discipline,
parental involvement and common sense become
an integral part of the education process.

EnoughAlready

January 26th, 2011
9:12 am

Are college students learning? If you have worked with Interns or hired college graduates in the last 10 years, you already know the answer to the question is absolutely NOT.

I have worked with approximately 30 in the last 10 years and I can say it has been a disappointment and their parents wasted a lot of money for what most would consider excellent schools.

Most can’t think critically or outside of the box; many need someone to tell them step by step how to perform basic task.

Thank goodness for “job shadowing” during the first six months, because most couldn’t function in the business world without the ability to mimic a co-worker. I would go on to say that most are being paid to do nothing the first six months of employment.

I think more people should participate in “Take you child to work day” and we should start teaching our children how to perform some of our day to day business task befoe and while they are in college.

I have found that most kids who function well on their first real JOB are those who have worked in fast food, retail and front-office support roles. Maybe all kids should work their way through college.

Gwinnett Parent

January 26th, 2011
9:17 am

When I graduated with a dual business degree, Managerial Cost Accounting, 3 Econ classes, and Calculus were required. All three of these requirements have since been dropped and replaced with lower level “filler courses”. Also, back in the day there was a lot less parental hand holding and fewer students taking remedial courses. On the other hand, students are less prepared today. If I sat back and decided the local public school was preparing my straight A student adequately, I would be sadly disappointed. As mentioned in a previous blog…What is an A when the bar is set so low?

b

January 26th, 2011
9:20 am

With my oldest, a senior in college, I have seen tremendous growth in her ability to write, analyze and research. I will agree that her freshman and sophomore years were struggles at time, but-and this is a large but-the classes she had issues in were the core classes not in her major/minor like the required math and science classes. She did well in the classes of interest-literature, history, philosophy, etc.

She kept the HOPE all four years, so I think she probably learned quite a bit. She was able to study abroad on a partial scholarship and is applying to graduate school and fellowships. Her internship this semester was awarded based on her research and analytical skills.

I agree with an earlier poster, the study only really looked at the first two years of college, when students are trying to get through those core classes, with 200+ other students. In our experience the papers for the literature, history, etc classes did not require 20+ pages until the last two years; prior it would be 5-10 pages. As for reading, again it depends on the class. Last semester her book bill included 11 novels just for one class. With a book to be read almost every week, and 5 classes being taken, there was a lot of reading going on.

The college experience is what the student decides it should be. Pick the right college/university and find your area of interest. If you want to learn, you will; if you want to coast, you might be able to, but it will catch up with you eventually.

Double Zero Eight

January 26th, 2011
9:25 am

Parents can help prepare their kids for college.
Encourage them to take AP courses. Encourage
them to read and stay abreast of current events.
Enhanced critical thinking skills will be an asset
on their journey to obtaining a degree. In order
to be a pre-med major, they should have an
aptitude for math and science. If your child hates
math, and has no aptitude for it, you owe it to
your child to have that tough love conversation.
You can help your child immensely by having candid
conversations, and setting realistic expectations.

Confussedd

January 26th, 2011
9:25 am

This may be because colleges are primarily concerned about getting tuition money not learning. They also are forced to admit and graduate students who are not qualified to begin with. This is because of numerous federal and state laws, funding tied to rules, funding needed and the fact that is not fair if certain people are failed for whatever reason. Colleges are part of the new entitled,I have rights, me, me, me, be fair and please the politically correct society we have built so everyone can have a fair chance weather they work at it or not.

Janice

January 26th, 2011
9:26 am

The comment about students not being able to critically think in the early years of college is amusing and not unexpected. I guess how a person is reared factors into that. In my household, there was the expectation (oh, golly, there’s that word again) that we would provide answers and rationale for our thinking process and be able to support our ideas. Of course, as kids, this was through stories, the books we read, etc. rather than what scholars thought. Nonetheless, we learned (all five of us) that our opinions mattered and there was a much smarter answer than “I don’t know.”

At this point, I expect students to be able to make logical leaps or to at least THINK about what might happen instead of having me tell them. I tell my dogs and cats what to do, and there are times when there exchanges are far more interesting than anything I get in the classroom.

Lynn43

January 26th, 2011
9:32 am

The worst instructors I ever had were in graduate school. Because they were not in the same work environment that I was, they had no clue about the job or what it took to do the job correctly. Now, many years later, my granddaughter, a science major, is having difficulty with professors who have English as a second language. Most of the time, she has to “get it on her own” because the professor’s instructions cannot be understood. If she wasn’t so happy with her university, I just wouldn’t waste my money there.

q1

January 26th, 2011
9:43 am

Actually, a good plumber is all that any one needs. That is where the money is. I live next door to a plumber. He has not worked in decades. He made so much so quickly, he spends his winters in Barbados, summers in Montauk, Long Island. All the education is what someone else needs from you.

Dr. Phil

January 26th, 2011
9:48 am

About five years ago, Sonny Perdue and the Board of Regents removed the SAT admission requirement from two-year colleges. This did two things–it caused a bump in SAT scores by removing the lowest performers from state averages, which Sonny took credit for. Secondly, it admitted anyone who could draw breath to state colleges and entitled them to Pell Grants and Stafford loans. This lack of admission standards swelled tuition collections, but flooded two-year classrooms with clueless kids who bought cell phones instead of textbooks and were kept around for two or three semesters taking remedial courses. These non students not only didn’t learn anything, they prevented more serious students from learning, in addition to wasting taxpayer money. This situation exists more or less throughout the US. Perhaps a third of students enrolled in state colleges have no business being there. The SAT is not a perfect measure, but it is the best predictor of college success. Higher admission standards would lead to smaller enrollment and smaller classes, but it would also lead to more effective education in state institution in Georgia and elsewhere.

Socrates

January 26th, 2011
9:54 am

Why don’t colleges have National End of Course Tests for introductory level courses so that we can see what students are learning where???? English 101. Psychology 101, U.S. History, etc. could easily have tests designed and given to show accountability of professors. I know a local banker that swears he showed up for finance classes less than once every three weeks at UGA and bought notes from the class at a local store. He studied those and showed up on test days to take the exam. How much real learning took place??? Is he really qualified or is the program a diploma mill instead? Accountability is expected in K-12 but not in higher learning???? CRAZY!!!!

J

January 26th, 2011
9:57 am

Our education system needs to be revamped. Nothing ever changes in our country. Our education system has been the same since the 1800’s. College is so expensive now that we can’t waste our money while they live there for 4 years and graduate and then can’t get hired because they don’t have the skills or knowledge they need to find a job. With our fast paced world and competitive job market our kids need to come out of college more knowledgable and able to go to work right away. Companies don’t have time to train employees and they expect them to have the necesssary skills even in a lower entry position. I spent over $100,000 dollars for my sons college education. He graduated with a marketing/business degree from a reputable college. The first 2 years he was required to take the usual wasted “core” requirements and it was only the last 2 years that were focused on business classes. Basically 4 semesters. The core requirements were just a rehash of what he learned in High School and a total waste of time and money. My money would have been better spent on marketing and business classes starting freshman year through graduation, with more choices such as web design, graphic design, more marketing classes, advertising classes, internships, a class on how to network, etc more hands on experiences, so that once he graduated he’d have a broader knowledge about marketing.

redhousecat

January 26th, 2011
10:01 am

most are missing the point. These days, the first two years of college is spent teaching kids what they should have learned in middle and high school. Kids come into college with no basic geographical knowledge. Remedial math courses are a standard for most. Teaching kids that OMG is not a word to be used in a critical writing course. What do you expect?

Remedial courses should not even be an option at a 4 year school. There is nothing wrong with learning these things in high school, or attending community college beforehand.

if colleges can overcome the time and monetary expense of these remedial courses, then they could devote more towards developing grandeur thinkers, as they should.

2Degrees

January 26th, 2011
10:01 am

It COMPLETELY depends on the university or school you attend. Additionally, the quality of education depends on the individual professor.

Sadly, many college professors are incredibly self-absorbed (often, they are forced to be!) and many teachers only focus on achieving tenure, obtaining grants, doing their own supplemental research or writing their own books – rather than educating the students who help pay their salary.

Whether a student is “college material” or not is missing the point. If you can get into the college, stay in, and actually go to class – then you shouldn’t be REWARDED with a degree for doing that, you should be CHALLENGED the whole time you are in school.

Last time I checked, you are supposed to be working towards a college degree. Not being rewarded with one just for paying tuition and showing up.

Obvious

January 26th, 2011
10:07 am

The problem is that so many schools emphasize their liberal arts programs and students graduate with little or no marketable skills. Schools that focus on engineering and hard science programs develop graduates that are employable and have a knowledge based skill set.

My anthropology degree sits in my desk drawer in my firm’s account department. Everything I needed to do this job, I learned in about two months’ time on the job.

Joe Schmoe

January 26th, 2011
10:09 am

Who really get screwed in this whole process is a non-traditional student, who does not need the classes that someone out of high school needs. Why does a Information Technology major need a Philosophy class??? Its just money pits.

David Sims

January 26th, 2011
10:11 am

I’m not in college anymore, and I usually read more than 80-160 pages of something or other every day. Most of what I read is either web pages for research or books of fiction. The notion that anyone can’t read 40 pages a week is a strange one. And, though I don’t write quite as much as I read, I certainly do write more than 20 pages in a semester. It sounds like I’m educating myself better than the colleges are educating their students, doesn’t it?

But I think that depends on which majors you look for college students in. While it has been a long time since I graduated, I wouldn’t think that math majors are taught less math, or that physics majors are taught less physics. In those disciplines, a teacher can’t really water down the concepts: he either treats them or he doesn’t. Nor will you find cutesy games involving “choose the ‘best’ answer” or even “there’s no one best answer” on a physics or a math quiz, because there’s only one RIGHT answer and all of the others are wrong. Alas, you will sometimes find multiple choice questions for which every suggested answer except one is obviously ridiculous, but most of those are found in the 101, 102, 103 series of courses that everybody takes as required curriculum or as GPA-padding electives.

It’s probably those “social sciences” where the standards are forever being lowered, and that’s because those subjects are taught by leftists who want to be ever-so politically correct about “including” everybody in the ranks of students who are given passing grades. And if some of those who are to be included have low IQs, then naturally the course requirements must fall down to the level for which the semi-retards can handle them.

Maureen Downey

January 26th, 2011
10:13 am

Joe Schmoe

January 26th, 2011
10:13 am

I have emphasised this point to any of my advisors, and they agree. College really needs to be reformed, to where non traditional students can get through the weeds of typical college classes, and have fast tracks. More emphasis on majors, with less on Core.

Musicteacher

January 26th, 2011
10:13 am

I didn’t notice this in the article (and will admit that I haven’t read the book), but I would be interested to know if a comparision was done between traditional and non-traditional college students. (By non-traditional, I am referring to those students who didn’t enroll in college directly out of high school.)

My husband teaches at a respected university which, in addition to degree programs for traditional students, has a thriving program for non-traditional students. The majority of his students work full-time, raise a family, and take a full load of college courses. Most (not all) better appreciate the opportunity to earn a degree, and bring with them to their courses rich life experiences that most traditional student lack. Having taught both traditional and non-traditional students, he prefers the non-traditional, who usually have better time-management skills and a greater work ethic.

MiltonMan

January 26th, 2011
10:16 am

Look at all the worthless degrees being pumped out – history, art, theatre, etc. More & more Liberal Arts garbage degrees & less & less science, engineering, math, etc. degrees.

Joe Schmoe

January 26th, 2011
10:22 am

Musicteacher, I cant tell you how many times I was treated as a traditional student without any worldy experince. They say that they are ther to shape the minds of the young people… Problem is, most of the non-traditionals already have their minds made up on their worldly opinions. Coming out of the Marines, and into a traditional class was about worthless… Lets just say I am purely distance learning now.

Double Zero Eight

January 26th, 2011
10:28 am

Some students spend the majority of their time “searching for themselves”.
They have no idea as to what profession they want to pursue upon entering
college. Some even graduate without a clue as to the profession they would
like to pursue. College professors do not have the time or patience in most
instances to “catch anyone up”. They generally move at a fast pace based
on the assumption that you have the basics for what is needed to successfully
complete their courses. If not, that is not their problem. If a student needs
individual attention, it is up to the student to get the necessary tutoring.

Musicteacher

January 26th, 2011
10:29 am

@Joe: certainly I don’t have knowledge of your personal experience, but I am guessing that you were enrolled in a program for traditional students (please correct me if I’m wrong). My limited knowledge of non-traditional programs (only where hubby teaches) is that the profs design their instruction with the non-traditional student in mind. This may be a broad generalization on my part; I simply speak from observing what I’ve seen at one particular institution.

And Joe, I too prefer distance learning. Did my master’s degree that way, and I would do so again in a heartbeat.

Forrest Forrest Gump

January 26th, 2011
10:30 am

Well arent I me? And thats all I have to say about that.

Joe Schmoe

January 26th, 2011
10:38 am

Musicteacher, that is correct about being in a traditional program. I have since moved onto a pure distance learning program. Talk about a diffrence.

Ken

January 26th, 2011
10:38 am

Important to note the obvious, implicit in the report is that 55% of college students DO demonstrate significant gains in intellectual skills.”

I suspect that if you disaggregate a representative sample to compare students attending Harvard/Stanford to students attending GA State/Fort Valley, you’ll find tremendous growth after two years in the Harvard/Stanford group and little if any growth in (a representative sample) the latter group.

I also suspect the reasons are obvious to readers: one group arrives in a college environment composed of super-prepared-students w/ continuing competitive attitudes; the other group arrives w/ opposite traits, having been part of the low expectations of the average k-12 experience.

WE lost our way

January 26th, 2011
10:40 am

@EnoughAlready—-Agree 100%.I am retired now,but I experienced it on a daily basis working with Interns and students right out of college.They had no common sense of what to do or where to go.Most thought that because they went to college,they were entitled to a 70,000+ job right out of school.I had five children go to college.Four have graduated and one still at UGA.They all worked part-time in high school and college while maintaining Hope and taking 15 hours or more per semester.I know this prepared them for the business world when they graduated.

LA teacher 2

January 26th, 2011
10:43 am

Joe and Maureen, I must disagree w/ doing away w/ core courses. I guess it depends on your thoughts on the purpose for college. For example, my oldest son is studying engineering. He has basic core course that are totally unrelated. However, I’ve always told my children and my students that there is a basic core of knowledge that educated people have. Perhaps there needs to be more choice in social sciences, as many people think philosophy is a waste of time. My middle son thought it was the stupidest class he’d ever taken. Incidently, it was the first C (hopefully the last) he’d made in his life. No learning, however, is ever wasted.

CobbParent

January 26th, 2011
10:52 am

1. Posters who state that not all people should attend a traditional 4-year college are absolutely correct. In this country we have come to this place where we believe that everyone must go to college, not can if they want to, but MUST – check the job postings to see where employers want receptionist candidates to have a BS…really? And we have combined this with an extended childhood by paying for college and generally taking care of our children through the entire process. No good can come from any of this.
2. All through school, children rarely fail and when they do we tell them that it is the fault of the teacher/school/admin/parents/etc rather than making the child take responsibility. How can you learn anything if you never fail? Oddly, if you don’t fail you never learn to take risks. Sad, actually.
3. Unfortunately, once we have coddled them through college we dump them into a “real world” that has become one in which employees are no longer permitted to be human and make mistakes. Nowadays it is “one strike and you are out.” I have noticed over the past 15 years or so that things have become so harsh in that regard that most people are petrified to stick their necks out and try something new or innovative because if it doesn’t work you get sacked. There is so much CYA and “staying in your lane” going on that I wonder if we will do anything but crawl into the next decade.

What a great disservice we are doing to our children..and ultimately ourselves….by holding them too tightly and protecting them too much from reality (full disclosure – I am guilty of this myself at times). And then as bosses and co-workers we are “shocked” to find that they are ill-prepared for the working world and are not innovative or creative. It hurts, I know, to watch your child struggle or even fail at something – but if we do not allow it to happen then we are digging our own graves. That which does not kill us makes us stronger – help your kids get stronger, let them fall down once in a while.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

January 26th, 2011
10:53 am

How can we convince the vast majorities of students at the college-, high school-, middle school-, and elementary school-levels that learning is important? Quickly!

KMHSmom

January 26th, 2011
10:57 am

Does anyone know what the 24 universities are that were in this study?

ABC

January 26th, 2011
10:57 am

LAteacher: maybe no learning is ever waster, but UGA sure did waste my money by making me take 2 years ot BS classes completely unrelated to my major. I don’t know how other universities work, but I will be DAMNED (HOPE or NO HOPE) if my two sons waster their time and money the same way I did. I was only 3 years into this country when I had to make decisions for colleges and I was not well informed and neither were my parents. UGA was a completely waste of my time. I learned more in the 1st two months of my 1st job out of college than I did in 4 years at UGA.

When the time comes for my sons to go to college I will be darn sure to research more colleges that do not require two full years of BS before you go onto major specific courses.

That “core” stuff should be done in High School.

ABC

January 26th, 2011
10:58 am

Edit: And I majored in Finance, not some useless Liberal Arts stuff either.

WE lost our way

January 26th, 2011
10:58 am

@CobbParent—Great comment!!!