Republicans really do want to destroy higher ed


Just look at what’s being done to the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

Many professors in Wisconsin saw their fears of a 2015 change to state tenure law realized last week. That’s when the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point announced its plan to cut 13 majors — including those in anchor humanities departments such as English and history and all three of the foreign languages offered — and, with them, faculty jobs. Tenured professors may well lose their positions.

Here’s what’s being cut:

The shock was part size, part substance. Cutting 13 majors — in any disciplinary area — is significant. But the cuts are concentrated in the humanities and social sciences, raising serious doubts about the institution’s ability to deliver on its liberal arts mission. Here is the full list of nixed majors: American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.

Note that what’s being demolished isn’t the whole program in those fields — just the possibility of majoring in those disciplines, which means that these fields of study are being reduced to support programs for more valued programs, which happen to be the sexy and more readily vocational STEM side of campus. So students won’t be able to drink deep from the well of English literature, but they’ll just get little bit of exposure they need for their computer science degree, which ain’t much. They’ll still keep a few English professors around, but they aren’t going to be happy with a job that is reduced to teaching a few low-level service courses to biology and physics majors who resent being there. As for the other disciplines…chemists and auto mechanics don’t need no music literature or philosophy or art. They’ll wither and die.

UWSP is going to be reduced to a vocational college.

The plan is part of the campus’s Point Forward initiative to stabilize enrollment by investing scarce resources into programs Stevens Point sees as distinctive and in demand. Those include business, chemical engineering, computer information systems, conservation law enforcement, fire science and graphic design.

Business schools don’t even belong in a university. Those other majors certainly are legitimate and useful, but they are all specifically applied skills, which is fine, but they aren’t going to have the depth that I expect out of a university’s curriculum.

The key phrase there is “scarce resources”. They aren’t that scarce, they’re just not given to universities by the state as part of an ongoing strategy of gradually starving education out of existence. Wisconsin has just lurched farther ahead in this destructive program than other states, but Republican legislatures everywhere would love to cut the education budget and use it to pay off lobbyists and their own election campaigns.

It’s not just UWSP. You know they’re also gunning for the jewel in the crown of Wisconsin’s educational system, UW Madison. UWSP is just a harbinger for every other college in Wisconsin and the country.

Comments

  1. wcorvi says

    Actually, tenure does not guarantee one a job; only the right to the specific job they were hired for, or first crack at another, similar one.

  2. methuseus says

    Don’t you know that UWSP is in the middle of nowhere? Why do they need esoteric degrees there? Oh, and UW Madison is in the middle of nowhere, too. Madison isn’t that big of a town, right? /s

    In reality, a large number of universities are in “the middle of nowhere” except for the area around them.

  3. consciousness razor says

    Why call it a university? Tell prospective students they’ll be enrolled at the Stevens Point Technical School for Kids Who Make Money Good, and see how that works out for them.

  4. jack lecou says

    Scarce resources, indeed.

    What the hell good is having a “rich” country if you can’t actually afford anything?

  5. erike says

    So leaders who manage schools around the idea that they need to be paid for is now considered irresponsible? Any mention about how many students were enrolling in those programs?

    When colleges are funded by state dollars, isn’t it the responsibility of state leaders to ensure those colleges live up to the expectations of businesses and communities those colleges serve?

    How many college graduates right now are worried about being able to find employment? Do you think adding more English Literature grads is a solid solution that feeds employment opportunity?

  6. jack16 says

    What is the long term financial result? Surely not good for the state.
    There may be opportunity for English instruction in Estonia where students may go for free education. Employment agents should be looking for overseas situations for both professors and students.
    jack16

  7. cartomancer says

    The word “university” originated in the legal Latin of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (“universitas” or “universitas scholarum et magistrorum”). It literally means “turned into one” – all academic disciplines and scholars of all nations brought together and turned into one common institution. From the beginning the university was supposed to be a home for all scholarly pursuits.

    So what’s going on here is literally the de-universalisation of the university. Perhaps they ought to call it the Diversity of Wisconsin from now on, since they have clearly decided that there are two different kinds of academia in the world, and they’re not going to support both.

  8. paxoll says

    What is music literature? Books on tape? Books about composers or musicians? Is this something that an entire major can be built around? As a science major who had every single educational credit eaten up by a required humanities class, while humanities majors often had enough empty credits to get a whole second major, I think the “depth” of the teaching is probably not going to be hurt all that much.

  9. cartomancer says

    The attitude of the Wisconsin government is also far from new. In fact, the very term “Liberal Arts” (artes liberales or studia liberalia) was contrasted sharply by medieval academics with the “Lucrative Arts” – law and medicine – which so many were keen to get into because it could make them rich. There are hundreds of complaints from university masters that have come down to us about how modern students only see the liberal arts as a stepping stone to something that will make them wealthy, and that the higher levels of Liberal Arts learning and Theology (the “queen of knowledges” – regina scientarum), which had ethical and moral value – were being ignored and abandoned. Walter of Chatillon has many poems on the subject, as does Henry of Avranches.

  10. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Wait, why did geoscience get the axe? That’s plenty STEM-y. Or are they worried people might go and study climate change?

  11. consciousness razor says

    What is music literature? Books on tape? Books about composers or musicians? Is this something that an entire major can be built around?

    For the last question: yes, if anything, there’s too much to cover in a thousand lifetimes.

    It’s pretty close to terms like the tradition or the repertoire — to make it very concrete, people would just point at a pile of musical scores, treatises, history books, and so forth. (This is mostly or entirely European/American music, it should be noted.) As a major, there should be a focus on music history and musicology (which are also majors that can take things in a different direction), in order to make sense of this literature, not merely “read” it (without comprehension/context/etc.) in the sense that young kids can read a score.

    It’s analogous to English literature, where you’d study English-language writings, in the form novels, essays, poetry, and all sorts of things along those lines. Or if you’re familiar with the scientific literature on ant socialization, let’s say, then you’ve read a bunch of scholarly works about it (journal articles, books, etc.). That’s the basic idea.

    Not books on tape, LOL. We don’t do everything with our ears … not exactly out of necessity, but it helps us blend in with the normal people, when we eat, sleep, shit, fuck, and so forth.

  12. AndrewD says

    Why do I have the phrase “They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing” running around my head?

  13. monad says

    @8 cartomancer:

    The word “university” originated in the legal Latin of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

    Any destruction of things meant to help and educate people is sad, but this long history makes it all the more so to me. Universities developed in the Middle Ages and have grown right alongside western civilization. And yet it seems plausible this will be their last century, as so-called conservatives feed every bit of culture and tradition they can into the fire of corporate profit.

  14. blf says

    Following-up on consciousness razor@13’s synopsis, here is how UWSP describes its Music Literature major:

    The music literature major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point provides in-depth understanding of the history of music and offers opportunities to study music from different parts of the world. In addition to a variety of music literature courses, the program — accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music — offers a comprehensive background in music theory/musicianship, applied performance study with a world-class faculty in state-of-the-art facilities and large-ensemble participation. The program culminates in a senior thesis on a topic of the student’s choice.

    ​The music literature degree leads to or enhances a number of music careers. Graduates with this degree have received training to conduct research in music-related subjects and have become effective scholarly writers. They often go on to graduate work, but are also highly qualified for positions with music publishers, music merchandizing companies and writing music criticism. The theory and composition training included in the degree makes it ideal for those who wish to work as composers. Because the performing arts are an ever-changing industry, students are encouraged to learn entrepreneurial skills.

    […]

    There is a Sample Graduation Plan, Bachelor of Music — Music Literature, and here are some of specialist courses (edited and reformatted for brevity (not marked)):

    ● History of Women in Music
    ● 19th Century Music
    ● 20th Century Music
    ● Opera History
    ● Symphonic Music

    That list does seem to confirm the parenthetical observation “This is mostly or entirely European/American music, it should be noted.”

  15. paxoll says

    BLF, Consciousness, thanks for the clarification. While some might argue about the value of such an education, I will not, as I enjoy music, I will point to the societal need of the universities product. Artists and musician. We love em. We envy them or the attention they receive. But they are like lawyers. We have way more of them then we need, which leads to society inventing more things for them to do. With lawyers that is depressing an horrible. But it is also with artists and musicians. How many go through the humanities with the goal of teaching humanities. The english lit major who graduates and cannot find any job to apply his passion to is a tragedy. I think the tragedy lies in the current belief that following your passion through the highest levels of education leads to your dream job and happiness. Universities started this way because there were so very few people in the universities. Now we have more highly educated people then we need. Let me stress that point, then we NEED. I think the world would be a better place if everyone in it had bachelors of physics degree. But they don’t need it, and while there is still an acknowledgement that a high level of education is of value regardless of the topic it has lead us to our current predicament where people need a college education to land jobs but there are no jobs in their fields available. I don’t think inventing unnecessary jobs for “music literature” majors is a rational solution.

  16. antigone10 says

    “Why have a good artist when you can have a medicore business cog?” Is basically what these cuts book down to.

    The resources aren’t scarce. You’re unwilling to invest them.

  17. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

  18. anat says

    For those interested in the numbers, try https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=WI&ct=1&ic=1&id=240480
    Under the Programs/Majors tab you can find how many degrees were conferred in each major in 2016-7.
    It doesn’t seem like they were offering American Studies degrees at all unless they were rolled into one of the other majors such as Liberal Arts (11 BA degrees, 25 associates). They gave 121 degrees in all areas of arts and music together – I don’t see the graphic design degrees they claim to be continuing to offer unless they are counted as part of Art/Art Studies General (44 degrees) or Interior Design (21 degrees) or perhaps Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design (18 degrees).

    They conferred 41 English degrees, 3 French, 5 German, 25 Spanish degrees, 20 history degrees, 13 Philosophy degrees, 16 in Geography, 20 Political Science, 57 Sociology, and 9 in Geology/Earth Science, General.
    This out of a total of 1801 bachelor’s degrees conferred altogether.

    Other than mathematics, biological and physical sciences I don’t think they will have any non-applied degrees at all.

  19. anat says

    erike, paxoll, from my reading it seems these days an English major or a philosophy major has better chance at getting employment than a biology major. The business sector in particular is looking for people with degrees in the humanities. I don’t know how people who go into those fields think of it though. Do they see their college years as a time to enjoy delving into their interests before applying those skills towards corporate exploits? Do they go into those fields looking forward to corporate jobs? Something else?

  20. says

    Artists and musician. … We have way more of them then we need

    Citation needed.

    What exactly is the maximum amount of art a culture is permitted per capita? Do you measure it in chapter-albums per square canvas or what?

  21. Zeppelin says

    Now we have more highly educated people then we need. Let me stress that point, then we NEED. I think the world would be a better place if everyone in it had bachelors of physics degree.

    Why do we “need” anything, if not to make the world a better place in some way? What’s the purpose of any human endeavour, if not that? I don’t “need” food if I don’t mind starving. I don’t “need” educated people if I don’t mind living in an ignorant, inhumane society.
    If you acknowledge that educating people makes the world a better place, why would you stop just because that education doesn’t double as job training?

  22. unclefrogy says

    Now we have more highly educated people then we need. Let me stress that point, then we NEED.

    just what meaning does need have in this context?
    I think a case for more education that is broadly based could be made with reference to our current political situation.
    The real problem is we as a country seem to want to pay labor of all kinds the absolutely lowest that the market will allow.
    Why does say a construction laborer need to be uneducated and ignorant of the rest of the world just their particular job or trade?
    Why should a barista need to be struggling for a “living wage”.
    most of the money is going to the top with those in the middle expected to pay for all the services that government is expected to provide.
    If we are “the richest country in the World” The strongest country in the world why can’t we afford anything?
    uncle frogy

  23. monad says

    @20 paxoll:

    Now we have more highly educated people then we need.

    The state of the country – where inequality is out of control, infrastructure is breaking down, climate is changing, and people are still voting for the ones who promise to make the problems worse – says the opposite. It only might be true if you accept the idea the only needs that count are those of employers. That’s one of the blinders higher education is supposed to remove.

  24. paxoll says

    @Anat https://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/06/15/college-majors-with-highest-and-lowest-unemployment/4/
    Sorry, you’re just wrong.

    @Zeppelin Lol,

    Why do we “need” anything, if not to make the world a better place in some way? What’s the purpose of any human endeavour, if not that? I don’t “need” food if I don’t mind starving. I don’t “need” educated people if I don’t mind living in an ignorant, inhumane society.

    Comparing starving with living around uneducated people….wow you are a fucken gem of a human being. Wonder how many “starving artists” out there would rather actually starve then be around a bunch of uneducated people. Hell I lived for a year in a undeveloped country where virtually everyone was uneducated and really enjoyed myself. Guess that makes me part of the “ignorant” and “inhumane” society.

  25. fernando says

    American Studies: What is that? Something about cowboys and indians? Seems pointless.
    Art:Boring! And all artists are half-crazy and half-starved.
    English: Everyone already speaks english. Redundant.
    Franch: I can say “croissant”, “rochefort”, baguette” and “bordeaux”, and that is enough!
    Geography: Google Maps.
    Geoscience:I can watch “Discovery Channel” or “National Geographic”.
    German: Is unpatriotic to speak in the language of Hitler.
    History: A lot of things that hapened a thousand years ago… truly useless.
    Music Literature: I already read the names of the songs in the CD box.
    Philospophy: A lot of strange bearded weirdos, with a lot of crazy ideas. I pass that, thank you!
    Political Science: Just be sure to vote in Trump or in any other Republican candidate.
    Sociology: A commie conspiration!
    Spanish: Did you mean Mexican?

  26. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    @1

    Out of curiousity, how much of their scarce resources are going to their 18 sports teams and 14 sports facilities?

    From what I’ve read, the students themselves don’t even get paid for the benefit of being bashed to death in an arena. They’re literally not allowed to take money. Something about tradition, or some such.

    I would hope that it was slightly better than at my public school. We got a new scoreboard outside and a fresh coat of paint in the gym before we even got air conditioning, meanwhile the music and art teachers were frequently paying for essential supplies out of pocket because of budget freezes.

    Re: the article, not too long ago I learned that, once upon a time, state-funded tuition-free college was a thing in California. Until Ronald Fucking Reagan decided that too many dirty, smelly hippies were going off to become smug, foulmouthed intellectuals on the state’s dime, and that it was immoral for the state to be paying for a bunch of bratty kids to tool around in a bunch of waste-of-time books and learning things that don’t build cars or whatever.

    I haven’t vetted the truth of it (from what I’ve read, there was indeed tuition-free college, and Reagan indeed had something to do with its dismantling), but it made me think a lot about how republicans seem to hate, hate, HATE higher education in general, and especially higher thinking skills. About how so many colleges in the US are private, for-profit, expensive businesses and that this wasn’t always a thing, and in many other countries today is not a thing. About how tuition is skyrocketing with every passing year. How students are encouraged to get loans for educations that they will then spend decades struggling to work it off, especially if they sign up to some diploma mill that won’t even give them the quality of education that they paid for. How student loan debt isn’t dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    Education is specifically targeted. It’s being tailored to become harder and harder for any but the rich to afford. Students are punished with financial hardship for seeking it out. Diploma mills built to make cash rather than build an educated populace are competing for space, funding, and students. And public spaces are being squeezed into obsolescence, until they’ll eventually decide that we don’t NEED all these extra buildings sucking up our tax dollars, look at how poorly they’re doing! and shut them down.

    Republicans hate education. They hate a populace that knows. Because it makes it harder to lie to them.

    And slowly, bit by bit, they’re killing it.

  27. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    @29 I’d think it would make the world a better place if everyone had a basic understanding that other people are human beings that have dignity and deserve to be treated as such, instead of what we have today, where at best people are screaming about how outrageous it is that Tumblr’s SJW propaganda has “leaked” into the sociology books.

    Or that… well, should people start hollering about how climate change is a hoax, an educated populace can go ‘lol no’ instead of going ‘lol yes’ like they do now.

    *shrug*

  28. consciousness razor says

    paxoll:

    While some might argue about the value of such an education, I will not, as I enjoy music, I will point to the societal need of the universities product.

    It wouldn’t matter if you enjoy it or if society needs it.

    Let me explain that second part, since the first shouldn’t need explanation. There are things to know, and people have a right to know them. If society doesn’t need those people to know those things, I don’t care.

    Artists and musician. We love em. We envy them or the attention they receive.

    It wouldn’t matter if we were hated.

    But they are like lawyers.

    No, they are no like lawyers. Artists and musicians make art and music. Lawyers practice law. Those are not similar.

    We have way more of them then we need, which leads to society inventing more things for them to do. With lawyers that is depressing an horrible.

    I doubt there are enough lawyers in the US to meet demand. The tendency for many decades at least, if not all of our history, is that public defenders don’t have enough time to do all of the work required of them. People have a right to be properly defended, and they don’t get it. That is what is depressing and horrible.

    But it is also with artists and musicians. How many go through the humanities with the goal of teaching humanities[?]

    I don’t know how many. That wasn’t my goal when I studied composition. Does it matter how many are like me or not like me? Let’s say that in total there are some thousands of people in the US with a similar degree as mine. Now what?

    The english lit major who graduates and cannot find any job to apply his passion to is a tragedy.

    I don’t see how we have any business engaging in this kind of economic or political design. People can study whatever they want, including English literature. That is a fulfilling thing to study for many people, and it is not tragic that they’ve done so. They can apply this (or not) to a wide variety things, beyond teaching English literature or writing English literature, and it even goes beyond things that are paid employment. Learning about our world, our history and culture, what people have done and how they think, etc., is not merely a means to getting a job. That is not why it has to be done, and it would be very tragic to become an adult (as you apparently are) and somehow reach the conclusion that acquiring jobs is the only thing of any value.

    I think the tragedy lies in the current belief that following your passion through the highest levels of education leads to your dream job and happiness. Universities started this way because there were so very few people in the universities. Now we have more highly educated people th[a]n we need. Let me stress that point[:] th[a]n we NEED.

    I don’t care whether you need it. I have a right to an education, like everyone else, whether or not you NEED me to have an education.

    I think the world would be a better place if everyone in it had bachelors of physics degree.

    I love physics, but that sounds like an awful place. Do they teach moral or political philosophy in physics classes, for example? No, they don’t do that. So this world full of physicists doesn’t have people who learn formally about it? Would they just not know it’s a better place, but they’d accidentally and miraculously get that result anyway? Should they not care whether or not it is a better place? If they shouldn’t care about it that much, and this is a better state of affairs, then perhaps you shouldn’t care either.

    Who’s doing their bookkeeping? Who’s making their vaccines? Who’s providing their legal defense? This could go on for a long time. How would these physicists address all of their non-physics problems, if nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing except in the case of that very narrow range of problems?

    But they don’t need it, and while there is still an acknowledgement that a high level of education is of value regardless of the topic it has lead us to our current predicament where people need a college education to land jobs but there are no jobs in their fields available. I don’t think inventing unnecessary jobs for “music literature” majors is a rational solution.

    Nobody has claimed we should be “inventing unnecessary jobs” for anybody or anything. I don’t even understand what that would entail, but it’s definitely true that nobody has claimed that.

  29. Rob Grigjanis says

    paxoll @20:

    I think the world would be a better place if everyone in it had bachelors of physics degree

    God, no. It would just mean more people who thought they knew fuck all about physics. Masters, maybe.

  30. says

    Learning about our world, our history and culture, what people have done and how they think, etc., is not merely a means to getting a job. That is not why it has to be done, and it would be very tragic to become an adult (as you apparently are) and somehow reach the conclusion that acquiring jobs is the only thing of any value.

    Capitalism is a tragedy.

  31. Porivil Sorrens says

    @20

    I think the tragedy lies in the current belief that following your passion through the highest levels of education leads to your dream job and happiness.

    Nah, the tragedy is that people’s value as human beings and ability to survive is tied to how much money they have. A rich CEO isn’t more deserving of food and housing than an artist or an English major, and yet, here we are.

  32. Dean Pentcheff says

    One of the most well reasoned and well put arguments against this kind of trimming at universities was Gregory Petsko’s open letter to the then-President of SUNY Albany, who had just announced the closure of the departments of French, Italian, Classics, Russian, and Theatre Arts. I strongly recommend it. It was published in Genome Biology: http://genomebiology.com/2010/11/10/138

  33. chigau (違う) says

    Dean Pentcheff #37
    Thank you so much for that link.
    Petsko’s letter is brilliant.

  34. paxoll says

    Lol, that link was chock full of BS.
    @Consciousness

    Let me explain that second part, since the first shouldn’t need explanation. There are things to know, and people have a right to know them. If society doesn’t need those people to know those things, I don’t care.

    First, I never said anything about people should not be able to study whatever they want. Now on whether they have the RIGHT to do so, implies there in an inherent obligation for society to provide access to that education which is wrong. We decided that as a society there was a certain level of education that was profitable to society and enacted laws and a governmental department of education to run. What you are implying is something very few people in this country would agree to even among those of us who would like to see government paid university education for everyone.

    I doubt there are enough lawyers in the US to meet demand. The tendency for many decades at least, if not all of our history, is that public defenders don’t have enough time to do all of the work required of them. People have a right to be properly defended, and they don’t get it. That is what is depressing and horrible.

    good job misunderstanding my point and throwing up a complete red herring. First, my point is lawyers create a business for themselves through the lawmakers, it is a tragedy that people can no longer do almost anything without a lawyer anymore. A great example is immigration. If you want to immigrate to the US and cannot afford an attorney you have very little chance compared to someone who can pay for an attorney. Secondly, there is way more attorneys in the US then are needed for “public defenders”, they are short handed because very few attorneys want to do the work because it doesn’t pay well, essentially the same reason there was a crisis in primary care doctor before the ACA. https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-sues-over-public-defender-shortage-and-resulting-wait-list-new-orleans .

    Learning about our world, our history and culture, what people have done and how they think, etc., is not merely a means to getting a job. That is not why it has to be done, and it would be very tragic to become an adult (as you apparently are) and somehow reach the conclusion that acquiring jobs is the only thing of any value.

    Sorry, the problem here is that the vast majority of college education is footed on the dime of the taxpayer. Student loans come from the government, which comes from taxes. Universities are heavily subsidized by state and federal money. So the ability of that education to provide a monetary value (job) to society to effectively pay back their education is part of mine and every other taxpayers right. Which combined with part 1, is why

    I don’t care whether you need it. I have a right to an education, like everyone else, whether or not you NEED me to have an education.

    is wrong. The next part about physics degrees, you are completely, 180 degrees, misrepresenting my point which was that education is of value regardless of what job someone does. Its hard to imagine this happening by mistake since you quote me

    But they don’t need it, and while there is still an acknowledgement that a high level of education is of value regardless of the topic

    . Lastly you spent so much time quote mining my post that you missed the point I was making

    Nobody has claimed we should be “inventing unnecessary jobs” for anybody or anything. I don’t even understand what that would entail, but it’s definitely true that nobody has claimed that.

    I’ll cut it together for you so you can see that the comment about unnecessary jobs is a rational conclusion to the whole topic.

    I think the tragedy lies in the current belief that following your passion through the highest levels of education leads to your dream job and happiness. Universities started this way because there were so very few people in the universities…The english lit major who graduates and cannot find any job to apply his passion to is a tragedy…We have way more of them then we need…I don’t think inventing unnecessary jobs for “music literature” majors is a rational solution.

    also related to the above point about lawyers, who have created their own job market to justify their existence.

  35. John Morales says

    paxoll:

    Now on whether they have the RIGHT to do so, implies there in an inherent obligation for society to provide access to that education which is wrong.

    Nope, there is no such implication. Or do you seriously hold that having a right to be happy implies an obligation for society to make you happy?

    First, my point is lawyers create a business for themselves through the lawmakers, it is a tragedy that people can no longer do almost anything without a lawyer anymore.

    Yeah, just like it’s a tragedy that people can’t rewire their house without an electrician or do their plumbing without a plumber.

    (BTW, where is the successor to ‘first’?)

    … lawyers, who have created their own job market to justify their existence.

    You stick to your principles all you want; me, if and when I need to litigate, I will engage an expert (a “lawyer”), principles or not. Because I value the utility of expertise that I lack when it’s needed.

    (I fancy I have aptitude, though. Shame I lack expertise :| )

  36. consciousness razor says

    First, I never said anything about people should not be able to study whatever they want.

    Isn’t that what you think?

    Now on whether they have the RIGHT to do so, implies there in an inherent obligation for society to provide access to that education which is wrong.

    Society should make education accessible to everyone. You’ve contradicted yourself already. If people are “able to study whatever they want,” they need access. If only a certain class are able to do so, and the rest are a class of uneducated slaves, we don’t have a just society. That is wrong.

    good job misunderstanding my point and throwing up a complete red herring.

    You didn’t make a point. I did my best, but it was just a lot of stream-of-consciousness rambling. And now there’s more of it.

    I think the world would be a better place if everyone in it had bachelors of physics degree. But they don’t need it,

    False. Then inscrutable. That’s all I’ve got here.

    and while there is still an acknowledgement that a high level of education is of value regardless of the topic

    Merely a fragment. What happens while there is this acknowledgement (by some unknown person/group) of a value? I’ve tried to make sense of it and fit it with the rest somehow, but I honestly can’t. It does not paint a picture for me.

    Sorry, the problem here is that the vast majority of college education is footed on the dime of the taxpayer. Student loans come from the government, which comes from taxes. Universities are heavily subsidized by state and federal money. So the ability of that education to provide a monetary value (job) to society to effectively pay back their education is part of mine and every other taxpayers right.

    You want to put money in and get the same money back out. And you claim that this is your right. It doesn’t work that way. As a citizen, you have to pay your taxes.

    It is not a trade, where you personally get something of equal value which you’ve bought with your tax dollars. It’s not like going to the store and buying a sack of potatoes, because they’re fucking taxes. And it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme that you’re participating in, where you personally (expect to) get something of greater value than the dollars you put in. We do not create societies just so that you may profit. We should want all our lives to be a little less miserable and perhaps worth living, not to ensure that you get rich. If we can’t manage to do the latter while working on the former, we’ve still done our jobs.

    If you really want to talk in this way, think of them as “investments” in the rest of people in your society, because they are valuable. They’re not valuable in the sense that you can extract wealth from these things which you don’t even think should have access to an education (i.e., your fellow citizens) but because they are human beings.

    Instead, taxes are just an expense for you — somebody else can certainly benefit instead of you, if you don’t take advantage of it yourself. If you don’t do so (even though you should be guaranteed access; see above), then it’s just a loss in your balance books, and you can’t even say that all you got was a crappy t-shirt. Your problem and your choice, not mine. You don’t have a right to not incur such a loss, if that’s how it goes, because you don’t have a right to not pay your taxes. But you could get a t-shirt, along with everybody else. Do you see how this works?

    So, I don’t see how there is any coherent statement of your “problem” which goes like this: “but it’s funded by taxpayers, didn’t you know?!” Of course it fucking is, just as it should be.

  37. Nogbert says

    Look it might hurt a bit but I suggest you remind everyone you meet in the meat world that you’re shared nation is a fucking shithole. That for men and soon way things are going women also, it’s a fucking toss up as to which shithole you’d least prefer being condemned to survive in. The US or the KSA. In both cases the S stands for shithole.
    The one useful thing the turd floating in the toilet bowl previously known as the white house did was give us all a useful and accurate label to refer to the failed third world state with a massive war department and bugger all else.

  38. paxoll says

    @John, Right to happiness? Where the does that come from? There is the “pursuit” of happiness, which takes us to rights of one person infringing on the rights of another, which is why we have laws. There is no “right” to education beyond that which is supplied by a series of laws enacted over 150 years. Since this topic is about specific degrees at a university level, there is no “rights” protecting those degrees.

    @Consciousness
    I have repeated said I think education makes people better and have endorsed my appreciation of all areas of knowledge. Your snark is incredibly dishonest.

    If people are “able to study whatever they want,” they need access. If only a certain class are able to do so, and the rest are a class of uneducated slaves, we don’t have a just society. That is wrong.

    Again, there is no right to education. A good analogy is to your “right to access” is a Jewish person has the right to not be discriminated against in any public venue, they do not have the right to demand anyone supply kosher food to them. Your right to an education is only equal access.

    We do not create societies just so that you may profit. We should want all our lives to be a little less miserable and perhaps worth living, not to ensure that you get rich.

    Amazing job strawmanning here. When I said

    Student loans come from the government, which comes from taxes. Universities are heavily subsidized by state and federal money. So the ability of that education to provide a monetary value (job) to society to effectively pay back their education is part of mine and every other taxpayers right.

    Yes I have an actual right as a taxpayer to have a representative lawmaker apply my taxes as I want, and me and the majority of people want our taxes to benefit SOCIETY in the most effective means possible. Yes having an educated population is better then an uneducated population, it is not a cost effective means to benefit society when compared with educating the population to fill needed job positions. I don’t have the right to tell you what you will want to do or study, I do have the right to say what I want my taxes to be spent on teaching, and so does everyone else. So we have equal rights to say what we want our tax money spent on, good luck convincing society on your position.

  39. consciousness razor says

    I have repeated said I think education makes people better and have endorsed my appreciation of all areas of knowledge. Your snark is incredibly dishonest.

    When you actually appreciate them enough to support them with a tiny proportion of your tax dollars, remind me about my alleged dishonesty via snark, you dipshit. Until then, just go fuck yourself.

    Your right to an education is only equal access.

    Then explain what you meant when you said this:

    Now on whether they have the RIGHT to do so, implies there in an inherent obligation for society to provide access to that education which is wrong.

    This is your chance to explain. I will tell you what it sounds like to me, and you may disabuse me of that notion if you think it’s the appropriate thing to do. The original quote says it was wrong of me to make this claim, because that would imply providing access (equally, no doubt). But now you say that there should be equal access, which would be provided if that were the case.

    You act as if this is about correcting what I said, instead of admitting a mistake and changing your views accordingly. First, they should be able, second, it’s wrong to provide access, third, it should be equal access…. Back and forth. They can’t all be right, so which should it be?

    If you think you’ve already won this argument (if that’s what matters to bullshitters like you), it’d be awfully surprising that you did it while holding both the right and the wrong claims. Or if you’re just arguing with yourself, then maybe you should wait until that’s finished so that you can show us the results.

    Yes I have an actual right as a taxpayer to have a representative lawmaker apply my taxes as I want, and me and the majority of people want our taxes to benefit SOCIETY in the most effective means possible.

    Lawmakers ought to do their jobs effectively, even if the majority have shitbrained plans that would be ineffective, counterproductive, harmful, short-sighted, etc. They should represent our interests well (not do what we tell them, no matter how stupid or nonsensical it is), so that even if we don’t all understand what those are, it’s not such a problem in the end, since we don’t have to do all of that work ourselves. That should be why we hired them for that position: because we have other things to worry about (like our own jobs), we don’t always have the necessary expertise or evidence, and so forth.

    Anyway, what is “most effective” in this case is not equivalent to “most jobs.” That’s an assumption we have no reason to believe and one which you have not defended in the slightest. So your conclusion still doesn’t follow.

    And look, this kind of shit is killing universities. Get your head out of your ass, and you would see that clearly. When I said above that they should call themselves a technical school? It was not a joke. You can mouth the words that you appreciate all areas of knowledge, but that’s not good enough. Act like it.

  40. paxoll says

    @Consciousness

    obligation for society to provide access to that education

    Sorry, you missed the emphasis that is pretty evident from the context, the target noun in that is “THAT education”, not “access”. At this point it seems your everything you post is simply being contrary. If your position is that every area of study should be available to everyone paid for by taxes, then make your case. I presented my position pretty clearly to anyone not being obtuse, which is what it seems like this thread has been full of.

  41. unclefrogy says

    So the ability of that education to provide a monetary value (job) to society to effectively pay back their education is part of mine and every other taxpayers right.

    no! a job (that pays taxes) is not the purpose of education in a democratic society. the purpose is to educate the population so that they can better govern themselves through the democratic processes they have chosen to use. This is not the 17th century we need to be an educated electorate to deal with the deep problems and the international relations we face. The founders of this country were educated according to the times they were living they would not have even tried this venture had they not been educated.Even the tradesman were literate If we maintain our current de-emphisis of education we will fail as a country.
    That education has become seen as a job preparer is unfortunate.
    If a government fails to foster and strengthen the people those people will fail to support the government. It is more important than military strength. All the strength rests upon the people not the land nor the money
    the only reason we are even having this discussion is because of the relentless assault on education by the reactionary republican party.
    uncle frogy

  42. unclefrogy says

    lawyers do make themselves a job in the sense that they are a response to a legal system in whichthe Law is important and the people are allowed to use it for their own benefit and in which all are equal before the Law.
    It is in response to injustice and criminality and the rights of the people including contracts that lawyers come from. It would be very different in a society governed by the will of a supreme authority of any number of examples that could be found.
    uncle frogy

  43. John Morales says

    paxoll:

    [P] Now on whether they have the RIGHT to do so, implies there in an inherent obligation for society to provide access to that education which is wrong.

    [JM] Nope, there is no such implication. Or do you seriously hold that having a right to be happy implies an obligation for society to make you happy?

    [P] Right to happiness? Where the does that come from? There is the “pursuit” of happiness, which takes us to rights of one person infringing on the rights of another, which is why we have laws. There is no “right” to education beyond that which is supplied by a series of laws enacted over 150 years.

    Ah, hair-splitting. I can do that.
    Fine, you hold that society is obligated to help people pursue happiness since a right implies an obligation. Right?

    Anyway, I was going to adduce the international covenant, but I find that, though the USA has been a signatory since 1977 it has yet to ratify it. So, I have to grant you are correct: there is no right to education in the USA. Wow. Another example of how it is an outlier.

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Economic,_Social_and_Cultural_Rights#States_not_members_of_the_Covenant )

  44. consciousness razor says

    John Morales:
    It’s also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (full PDF here):

    Article 26
    1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
    3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    Note how this is not said to depend on whether a degree is likely to provide lots of well-paying jobs. The aim is full human development, understanding, peace, and so forth.

  45. DanDare says

    The better the level of full education (not just vocational) the better quality and more robust the society.
    Taxes paid are to help provide a robust society, not to purchase some specific item for yourself.
    Of the items cut I mourn most for the loss of philosophy which should be informing students how to reason and understand the theory of mind.

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