the distance between what we learn in school and what we do on the job is SO far that it’s laughable (and other jabs at the academy)20 Dec 2016
welcome to today’s rant about the brokenness of our education system. this is an ongoing rant, if you haven’t been reading along. #sorrynotsorry.
some jumbled thoughts:
- a few weekends ago i had a conversation with two friends (let’s call them a & m). we were all lamenting the distance between what we learned in school and what we found we needed to know on the job. a was saying how the most useful things to her work was finance. m was saying that there was almost no relationship between what she learned in school and what she did right out of college (because it takes a while to get to a point in your career where you’re doing what you learn in school and lots of people don’t ever even get to that point because they choose to practice different types of law).
now, on the one hand, i do believe that it’s really important to have time to step outside of the flow of practical learning. creating mental space to explore the history, ideas, and theories in a field of interest is important.
that said, it just feels way to fucking expensive and time-consuming for what it is currently. people are putting themselves in debt to not learn skills they’re going to need on the job. is that not ludicrous? seems like there’s a strong connection here to what i wrote about the other in seneca’s letter 48: isn’t it the height of folly to learn inessential things when time’s so desperately short?
- for a while i’ve been noticing the tension in phd students between teaching and doing their research. this carries on to professors (because they’re trained in the process of earning their phds). this tension in the leaders of academia is the exact problem manifested. professors are valued by on their research publications and even though they’re given teaching responsibilities, those come secondary. engaging with the present world and putting energy towards making it better (in this case to further student learning) is said to be a requirement, but in actuality, there are no/weak systems for professors them accountable to this “requirement.”
- i’ve had a few conversations about this, but the most recent one was with a friend (let’s call her n) about funding in academia. the older we get, the more we’re both seeing into the structures that make academia possible: fucking giant government grants. for many academic institutions, when you win a grant from the government, the institution charges a massive overhead (tax) on the grant. this overhead funds all the people who work at institution, sometimes including the person who won the grant.
now, on one hand, i do believe it is actually important for the government to fundamentally support education. if tax dollars can go anywhere freely, it should be education.
but on the other hand, it totally seems like the people doing the educating should be getting way more of the money. from where i stand, this whole thing looks increasingly like a scheme to funnel job support money back and forth for the certain classes of people (government officials and university staff/faculty). and why is it that we can fund academia so well when literally everyone there knows how little direct good it does for the world, but we can’t see to figure out how to fund public schools? why can we afford to fund the schools that a fraction of the population goes to but we can’t fund the ones that everyone goes to? you can probably guess my answer…
ps - in hindsight, i have no idea why i bulleted these. i hate bullets that are sentences. T_T
spell-check, link-finding, & formatting: 2:34