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Building an Einstein, False Pretense, False Hopes: Where is the Accountability?

In American Dream Series, College Series, Life! on November 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Building an Einstein, False Pretense, False Hopes:   Where is the Accountability When a Woman Sues College for Unemployment and Disney Faces Lawsuit for Falsely Advertising Baby Products?

A year ago, lawyers threatened a class-action lawsuit against Disney’s Einstein series for deceiving parents into thinking that using their Baby Einstein products will make their babies smarter.  The result: Disney is offering refunds.

About three months ago, a woman sues her college for not helping her find a job once she graduated. The result: case is without merit.

While both Disney and colleges market their products as “educational,” Disney is now forced to refund its products for lack of  infantile intellectual results, while colleges are held unaccountable for unemployed alumni, who are often promised help from their college’s Career Development Offices.

Do not get me wrong; I am not necessarily supporting the woman’s case.  I am however, trying to make sense of accountability.  Who is responsible for the vague ambiguous idea of “education”?  Indeed, Ebony and I have met many a book-smart individual who lacked common sense.  So, what does it mean to be educated?  In what capacity does a person qualify as educated?  Better yet, what is an “educated” being supposed to look or act like?    Both Disney and college rely on the overall potential of their customers as their marketing gimmick.  Explicitly they both promise to produce more learned and capable humans, implicitly that their products will prepare students for the “real world.”

But no parent in their right mind really expects their kid to become an Einstein when they buy these products.  However, parents do expect their kids to get better paying jobs when they send them to college.

So why is Disney held accountable and college are not?

Perhaps,  the reason why colleges are not sued is because in their Mission Statements, they never advertise that their goal is to employ students in the workforce.   Maybe, Disney could have avoided their sad fate if they wrote a nice mission statement too.

In fact, many colleges mission statements are slightly flowery and vague, generally aimed to prepare students to graduate with a sense of social awareness.  Take Notre Dame University; they hope to graduate students with an “appreciation for … achievements of human beings … and concern for the common good that … becomes service to justice.”   Similarly, Grinnell College seeks to:

Educat[e] young men and women in the liberal arts through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas … to graduate women and men who can think clearly …  speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others’ ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and … serve the common good.”

And if they fail?  If students don’t come out serving the common good or being open minded or persuasive?  Did the school fail? Should the students deserve a refund?

A lot of people think that going to college automatically means that they will get a better paying job.  Not in this market. BUT,  they eventually will, so is it right that colleges credit prominent individuals who become successful in their later years to them?  Likewise, are we judging too soon on the effects of Baby Mozart on Everybaby?

Regardless, with the rampant statistics correlating higher education with salaries, people are running like crazy for higher learning.  After hearing that veteran IT professionals are taking classes in Shakespeare, which have no relevancy to their jobs, so that they can complete their Associates Degree, I could not help but shiver at the wasted time and money.

Perhaps it is an incremental process and we have judged too soon whether a baby will become a genius.  In that sense, perhaps the essay I wrote regarding Hobbesian theory to Wuthering Heights will traverse its way into serving the common good.  And, perhaps, Freud and Jungian Psychology actually does help explain away and thereby relieve the abnormalities of humanity.

Ironically, it is these very statistics that perpetuate the system we live in now, where almost every decent paying job requires a B.A., which further demarcates and stratifies the privileged, who can afford an education, gain power, and make rules, against those that cannot.

So, we applaud Lawyers who want to break Disney’s monopoly on the baby market.  Perhaps we should applaud this woman on trying to break college’s monopoly on young adults?

If we are to move into the future, we need to credit other forms of education, other than the traditional four year degree, which is not a guarantee of anything. 

This one anonymous post expresses the frustration of many graduates:

Colleges regularly lie through their teeth about the job prospects for their degrees in the subjects they teach.

Imagine that after working your #$% off and getting yourself in debt for that degree, you suddenly find out that the job prospects for your degree were crap. And it’s not because the job prospects for your degree declined recently, but the job prospects have been crap for more than a decade.

If colleges and universities can be honest about job prospects for sociology, gender studies, art, history, then I see no reason why they should also be honest about job prospects for information technology.

As for:”The college prides itself on the excellent career-development support that we provide to each of our students, and this case does not deserve further consideration,”(Sarcasm) I bet when you ask the college, they don’t have problems with drugs too. (every college has).

We live in a world where status is determined by tiers and ranks and educated individuals validated by a paper of credit and their ability to create “open discourse.”

If that is the case, it’s not the college’s fault when we students graduate unemployed.  We just didn’t read the mission statement.  And in order to avoid problems, Disney should create one too.

What do you think?

Obsolete When All Are Employed welcome your comments!

Please, For the Sake of Your Wallet Don’t Believe the Hype

In College Series, Life! on October 26, 2009 at 9:39 am

9 Cons:
1. False sense of security (socially and academically)
2. There really is no guarantee, of anything once you graduate
3. Elitism
4. Can be a crap shoot if you lack in resources, or you don’t know what to do once you get there
5. Expensive
6. Depending on the institution…rigid
8. Education is worth it….but the typical animal house stuff…maybe not
9. May be wasting you’re time if not focused…

Let’s Elaborate on the Cons…shall we?

Belushi

As a product of the cursed class of 2009, I understand that I am biased. And confused. But despite these flaws, I am still entitled to an opinion, and having a romantic and deluded understanding of college can be both deadly and expensive. But I should be clear on one point though: I AM NOT SAYING PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GO TO COLLEGE. That would be quite unfair of me to spit in the face of an institution that has given me more opportunities now than ever before, recession issues aside. But I am saying that college is not the end all and be all, the golden ticket to getting a job or having a career. And the stats and facts that they don’t want you to see, illuminates my argument and frustration with the whole issue.

It is a commonly cited fact that the average student debt out of college is $21,000. Whether in the context of the present, gloomy recession or the golden age of the mid and early 90’s… that is a large amount of money…and if you speak with many individuals you will find that they have much more than $21,000 dollars in debt. As a recent college graduate and added statistic to the millions of people who owe someone money since funding their college education…I truly don’t think that the hype around college is worth it, and only ends up bruising your ego and your wallet. In relation to job worthiness, whether you have a college degree or not, should not be the absolute factor in determining if you are capable of performing well on a job. It should help…but it should not be the only factor.
Trust me, I have met many an incompetent person at college. They being able to obtain a degree…to some degree…does not mean much. Some people use their college education as a crutch…to make up for the fact that they have no personality, no job experience, and no motivation to grind and work themselves up from the bottom like many people who were not fortunate enough to attend college.

Oh yes, I can be harsh, bitter and dramatic. But going to college is a lot more complicated then people make it seem. Its not just simply getting an education, you must also be educated on how to use it to better your life…because at the end of the day if you do not know what to do with your degree once you have earned it…you might as well throw it in the trash! LITERALLY THROW IT IN THE TRASH!

This topic is too big to solve with one article…in this series I am going to explore the reasons why college is overrated…and the rat race to get into college has in some ways devalued other forms of education…which in turn is very, very, problematic.

-Ebony J.

Next: “College, the Pipe Dream”

The Calm Before the Storm: 5 Pros to Attending College

In College Series, Life! on October 26, 2009 at 9:13 am

5 Pros to Attending College:

  1. Chance to obtain knowledge:

At least that is what it should be about. College gives you a chance to learn from the best, learn about the best, and learn how to become the best. Some enter college with aspirations to drink all night, sleep all day and engage in all kinds of promiscuity. Not that I’m judging these people but real is real: if you have to pay thousands of dollars to do that….you’re a dummy. And no amount of college, no matter how long you attend…can teach common sense.  

2.  Chance to meet new people in an academic setting: You meet people from countries you can’t pronounce, much less know. Its truly a great experience to meet people who live so far away, they have to call someone, to call someone, to finally reach home. That’s an exaggeration…but some places are quite far you know. Its also cool when you meet that kid from South Dakota, or Texas or wherever in the country you have never met people from, or you don’t interact with often.

3.  Academic buffet: Pretty obvious, it’s a buffet, of academia, which you partake from. Who can argue with that?

4.  Door opener: You do get exposed to some amazing, things and learn concepts that will open, literally open new worlds for you. If you do go and you don’t experience this at all…you are either: 1.) Jaded or 2.) Not paying attention as closely as you should…oops.

 
5.  Access to resources: There are people who are paid to sit around and tell you how to do things, where to do them and why you should. People willing took look at you’re papers, tutor you, lend you books, clean you’re bathrooms, and serve you food. Yeah you paid for it (or maybe someone is paying for you) so get you’re money’s worth!

 But can we have pros without cons?

Is college worth it? YES!!!!!!!!!!

In College Series on October 12, 2009 at 3:53 am

Having recently graduated from Alma Mater University with a Political Science degree, I am now unemployed and living with my parents at home. Did I plan on this? No. I had planned on either traveling out of the country on scholarship or securing a decently paid job on the mainland.

In starting this article, I realized why so many people debate whether college was worth their time and money. They either came out with bad or good experiences based on the consequences of their priorities at the time. Below are the conflicting opinions that confuse students and affect one’s value of college:

1) GPA matters vs. GPA doesn’t matter
2) Major matters vs. Liberal Arts students can do anything
3) You should have more fun vs. I wish I had studied harder
4) College broadened my horizons vs. College was a waste of time and I didn’t learn anything practical
5) College was worth every penny vs. I should have saved money and started my own business
6) College was the best because of the special friendships I made vs. why did I go to school in the middle of nowhere?

Having listed the often opposing opinions, I would like to list 5 reason why I think college is important. Depending on your own priorities, the list below will give you insight as to how to navigate the world of college.

Click Here to read on …..

College Night (Oh My)

In College Series, Life!, Work Series on October 10, 2009 at 8:58 pm

So, I went to my college night the other night, and it was interesting to say the very least. A lot of people where there, from my year…and they all had jobs….what am I doing wrong?