Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is University for Everyone?

I have a particular reason for asking whether university is for everyone. I'm asking because of a charter school organization called Aspire Public Schools which has about 34 campuses throughout California. They introduce the idea of college at kindergarten. Each room is themed after a different university, they learn college sports songs, the projected year of their university graduation, and the corresponding university flag hangs outside of the classroom door. Some particular campuses such as Lionel Wilson posts general education requirements on the floors of hall ways. I believe they also visit colleges for field trips and talk to different professionals to hear how they are using their university education.

Personally, I don't outright condemn the introduction of university to kindergarteners. I think some aspects of it are fruitful. For example, I think going on field trips to hear about how professionals use their university education for their field is fruitful in terms of introducing students to what kinds of jobs that people perform.

However, there's just one problem with indoctrinating every child into the idea of going to university. Not every student needs to get a college education to be successful. Some people need a university education and some people don't. Students who cannot perform the functions of their job without a university education need that university education. But, those students who can perform their functions well with or without a university education should not be indoctrinated into getting a university education. For some students its productive, but for others it is counterproductive.

If a student just wants to become a paralegal and they only need to go to community college for that, it's that much a waste to push them to go to a university. But, it is not quite a waste for the student who will become a lawyer. The problem though is that you cannot figure out what any given student will want to do when they are five years old. They need to be allowed to determine their own interests. Or, at the very least, assisted in determining what their interests are rather than giving them tunnel vision by only giving them the university route.

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