A Facebook friend commented about the fact that some major corporations had dropped the requirement for a college degree. She agreed with the change because her experience was that her education had no apparent value to her current employment.
There’s a lot of validity in her comments although she may not be considering the totality of what she learned in college. This is especially true given the amount of subsequent education, in different forms, she has undertaken. In the words of the motivational speaker, Steve Chandler, she clearly has emotionally left High School behind, which many people never do.
For many years, employers valued a college degree for a number of reasons. Some of them, STEM and professional related degrees, related to an entry level understanding of material necessary for job performance. In a broader sense, a college degree had value in that it demonstrated the ability to think clearly about a myriad of subjects, communicate effectively, do research, and to have a goal and stick to the tasks required to achieve it for an extended period of time. These values also applied to getting a High School Diploma. The system involved both Process and Performance.
With regard to the value of sticking to a task for an extended period, it’s important to recognize that decades ago when this ethos existed, many people failed to graduate from college; the term ‘College dropout’ was in common usage. In fact, a significant percentage of people didn’t finish High School. The fact that some failed was accepted as a part of process because Performance was an integral component of the system. This possibility of both success and failure was a key factor with regard to what gave the paper of a Diploma its meaning.
At some point, this whole system changed, both at the high school and college level. The change was most likely driven by two things; the misplaced desire for ‘equity’ and the evolution of higher education into a business rather than a calling for both students and educators. The misplaced desire for equity overrode the concept that performance, standards, and testing were important. Higher education evolved into a business as a result of financing options underwritten by the Federal government that had never existed before. There are numerous parallels in other parts of American society where financial meddling by the Federal government has wrecked underlying institutions but that is separate topic.
Those changes destroyed the value of the Diplomas and the education they stood for. Everyone is NOT the same. Nor is everyone entitled to the same Outcomes regardless of their performance or lack thereof. The underlying value of challenge and overcoming adversity as part of the process of education has been lost. It’s unfortunate that several generations now have been cheated of the opportunity to excel by those who changed the system. Not all of the underlying motivations were nefarious but some of them were clearly opportunistic and/or antithetical to core American values.
The effects of these changes have reverberated throughout American culture in a way that is not well understood today. They may never be, given the fact that the very institutions responsible for preserving history are major aspects of the problem. The possibility of Failure is neither evil nor inequitable. Without the possibility of Failure, there is no possibility for Excellence. They are two sides of the same coin. We can’t have one without the other. It’s tragic that the reality of that paradigm became lost somewhere along the way.
What does this have to do with the Tactical Professor? This post is being categorized in decision making, skills, standards, and training. The answer to that question is for you to ponder.
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