I saw this article in The New York Times about colleges supposedly failing. I guess I’ve grown tired (actually probably 20 years ago) with that set of journalists who don’t do anything or put their necks on the line, but love to sit back and criticize–especially institutions. I think the question is, who is failing. I’ve watched progressively over the past 25 years as parents (not all, thank God) decide that their little kiddies shouldn’t be responsible for anything, but instead their failures should be overlooked and blamed on someone else.
Last week, I had two interesting conversations that illustrate my belief that people are responsible for their own direction and education. First was with Craig. He is developmentally challenged. He reads words well, can converse well, but his understanding isn’t deep. But…what he’s interested in drives fantastic knowledge–and that interest is country music. He asked if I had really been in Austin, Texas recently. I said yes. He said, there have been a lot of country music stars from Texas. He then proceeded to name 15-20. And he named some of their songs and/or the type of country music they represented. I said Wow, that’s great knowledge. He said simply, “I like country music so I study it.”
Then I talked with a woman down the street who is pushing 90. She not only watches the news, she thinks about what’s going on. We are constantly sharing books to read with each other. She’s interesting and well read.
I’m not really writing this to defend universities in general, just to point out that information is out there. If the goal is just getting a degree and not an education, well, good luck. (I meet lots of those people–a piece of paper with nothing to back it up.) But if you want to learn something, you can. If Craig with a lower IQ can remember all the stuff he does, kids with normal IQ surely can remember the things they need to learn.
I learned my lessons by reading the US founding fathers. They were all about personal responsibility. I say Amen to that.