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The other night as I was driving home, alternating between singing my heart out and listening to talk radio, something made my ears perk up… A conversation between George Noory and some guy named “Uncle Ted”. Can I just pause right here to say that late night radio is waaaay different than daytime radio? Ok, well, I guess I did just sorta say it, huh? Well, it is. Nighttime radio is full of aliens, ufology (the study of UFOs ~ I learned something) and Big Foot sightings… Anyway, George and Uncle Ted were talking about the American education system and how it’s failing our young people. And being part of the American education system and having young ones in the public school system and being absolutely certain that there was no way this conversation would involve the paranormal, I decided to listen. Can I pause again to say that I was wrong on that last count? But that’s another story for another time…
So George and Uncle Ted are talking about how the current economic crisis and the failure of the American school system sorta seemed like they were planned to coincide with each other. According to Uncle Ted, way back in the 70s he became privy to a document which pretty much stated that the U.S. would be headed towards an economic decline around 2012 (yep, another 2012 conspiracy theory, but stay with me), therefore, the country would be in need of more “worker bees” and not so many power players. According to Uncle Ted and George it’s easier to keep the people down when they’re not well educated because the folks with the degrees want to get paid.
Now skip ahead in the conversation but keep that other part sorta simmering…
One of Uncle Ted’s arguments is that creativity has been removed from the classroom and children (whom he called “Universal Beings” or something like that, hence, the paranormal aspect) are forced to sit in boring classrooms and learn things through rote memorization. He stated that his classes are child~centered. If a child needs to get up and “take the edge off” he encourages them to go into the hall and do jumping jacks, if they have a thought they can just shout it out, etc. He also argued that the lack of physical activity and creative outlets are possible contributors to the increase in ADD, ADHD and autism diagnoses. Interesting theories, no?
But the really interesting part of the conversation (for me, anyway) was when they started talking about college education. George asked the following question (and forgive me but I’m sorta paraphrasing because this show did air almost 72 hours ago and I was driving, looking out for deer and cops and eating at the same time, I was not, however, speeding) should colleges tell students that their chosen major
may will not lead to gainful employment? Now both George and Uncle Ted both stressed the need for students to “follow their bliss” but they also realized that in order to survive in this world, a person has to have an income.
As an example, George used himself. His father wanted him to be a dentist but he wanted to work in radio, after taking a couple of pre~dentistry courses, George switched majors. His dad was livid. At that time, making a living in radio was unheard of ~ people either worked in factories, on farms or became professionals. It wasn’t until his father saw his name at the end of a news program that George was able to regain some cred with his dad. Jump ahead many decades and George says his dad may have been on to something, out of the 27 or so people who studied radio broadcasting, only 2 of them were able to find gainful employment. Wow.
I’ve worked in a couple of academic institutions and I’ve often wondered the same thing. Do colleges have an obligation to point out the earning potential to students who, say, major in Underwater Basket Weaving or is it up to the student to study up on their chosen major and decide for themselves?
What do you think?