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Thread: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

  1. #31
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    Yes.

    And the point is training the mind to reason critically and solve problems, not to learn a trade.
    on the contrary - our society has a surplus of people who think that their degree in art history qualifies them for middle management. what we don't have enough of is welders.

  2. #32
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Public education has moved away from servicing the public and providing what the nation needs to be prosperous and thrive. The perception that everyone needs a college education outweighs the need to provide choices for students. Even in the 1970s funds were provided for vocational education that would prepare students for employment immediately out of high school. Now most education dollars are spent on college bound tracts of study.

    This country still needs plumbers, mechanics, those skilled in air conditioning and refrigeration, and electricians, just to name a few. These vocations used to be learned via public education, but not as much any more.
    Last edited by Μολὼν λαβέ; 09-23-11 at 08:55 PM.
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I don't believe there is enough emphasis on liberal arts. Liberal arts is more than just memorizing a series of data and regurgitating it later. Knowledge retention is and has been looked at extensively, and in my field it's of particular importance since in physics many students who take it will end up retaining nothing. However, there is a more important aspect associated with liberal arts and that comes through the use of critical thinking. And it's here that one can say one of the true powers of liberal arts education lies. Even if we forget what we've memorized, we are able to keep the critical thinking. Liberal arts should teach people to question and think about answers more so than learning which way to turn a wrench to loosen a bolt (I use the right hand rule). The ability to critically think is something which I feel is really leaving the American populace. Too much people want to opposite of liberal arts education, they want to know how what they're learning is going to fit into the cog necessary to do their job; and that's not so much liberal arts as it is more accurately labeled as vocational. That focus I fear has driven away intellectual and academic pursuit and has caused us to lose a lot.

    In the end you don't just want a cog. A cog can be replaced with an appropriate robot. You want thinkers, you want people who can analyze and question circumstances, who can weigh out the data in front of them and come up with intelligent solutions. It's imperative not just for the success of the individual to be able to think, but for the Republic as a whole. And on this front, we should be doing more.
    Quite right. Well said.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    on the contrary - our society has a surplus of people who think that their degree in art history qualifies them for middle management.
    A degree in art history qualifies you for a job that can lead to management. The skills you learn are often more important than the subject matter.

  5. #35
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    if "liberal arts" are expanded to include all areas of study.... yes. however, typically "Liberal Arts" refers to "humanities", while math and science go by the nomer of "hard" subjects.
    Math and Science tend to be in the Liberal Arts college. As I said, contemporary liberal arts comprise studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I don't believe there is enough emphasis on liberal arts. Liberal arts is more than just memorizing a series of data and regurgitating it later. Knowledge retention is and has been looked at extensively, and in my field it's of particular importance since in physics many students who take it will end up retaining nothing. However, there is a more important aspect associated with liberal arts and that comes through the use of critical thinking. And it's here that one can say one of the true powers of liberal arts education lies. Even if we forget what we've memorized, we are able to keep the critical thinking. Liberal arts should teach people to question and think about answers more so than learning which way to turn a wrench to loosen a bolt (I use the right hand rule). The ability to critically think is something which I feel is really leaving the American populace. Too much people want to opposite of liberal arts education, they want to know how what they're learning is going to fit into the cog necessary to do their job; and that's not so much liberal arts as it is more accurately labeled as vocational. That focus I fear has driven away intellectual and academic pursuit and has caused us to lose a lot.

    In the end you don't just want a cog. A cog can be replaced with an appropriate robot. You want thinkers, you want people who can analyze and question circumstances, who can weigh out the data in front of them and come up with intelligent solutions. It's imperative not just for the success of the individual to be able to think, but for the Republic as a whole. And on this front, we should be doing more.
    Are you talking about K-12 or college? You have an interesting perspective as the complaint mostly heard about the U.S. educational system is turning out students weak in math and science. Now you are saying we are not teaching critical thought. Sounds like kids are not learning anything.

    On this I will disagree. With a son now going through college I have a pretty good sense of what was taught during his K-12 experience. I can say in high school that there was a lot of science, much more writing for English than I can remember a great history program, a jazz band program and sport temas of all sorts. The school also went out it's way to insure that the kids were involved in helping the community with food drives, etc.

    The opportunities are there. Kids and parents have to strive to achieve what is available.

    P.S. yes he did take a couple of physics courses.

  7. #37
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by washunut View Post
    Are you talking about K-12 or college? You have an interesting perspective as the complaint mostly heard about the U.S. educational system is turning out students weak in math and science. Now you are saying we are not teaching critical thought. Sounds like kids are not learning anything.

    On this I will disagree. With a son now going through college I have a pretty good sense of what was taught during his K-12 experience. I can say in high school that there was a lot of science, much more writing for English than I can remember a great history program, a jazz band program and sport temas of all sorts. The school also went out it's way to insure that the kids were involved in helping the community with food drives, etc.

    The opportunities are there. Kids and parents have to strive to achieve what is available.

    P.S. yes he did take a couple of physics courses.
    It is probably the whole lot. University isn't for everyone and shouldn't be passed off as being for everyone. University really should be the highest of academic pursuits, but I see a lot of idiots out there (business and psychology majors usually). But it's mostly K-12. At the elementary level of education, there's actually a lot of information and academic rigor present, but it starts to slack off in Jr High and by High School it's epidemic.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    It is probably the whole lot. University isn't for everyone and shouldn't be passed off as being for everyone. University really should be the highest of academic pursuits, but I see a lot of idiots out there (business and psychology majors usually). But it's mostly K-12. At the elementary level of education, there's actually a lot of information and academic rigor present, but it starts to slack off in Jr High and by High School it's epidemic.
    Well my son is a finance and accounting major ( no offense taken). Just as an example about the teaching and the students, albeit a standardized test. The median score on the comprehension part of the SAT for his class was about 650. Not sure if you would think it is good or bad but 20% of the kids got 800 on the math part. Not exactly slackers.

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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by washunut View Post
    Well my son is a finance and accounting major ( no offense taken). Just as an example about the teaching and the students, albeit a standardized test. The median score on the comprehension part of the SAT for his class was about 650. Not sure if you would think it is good or bad but 20% of the kids got 800 on the math part. Not exactly slackers.
    Not everyone is going to be bad. Certainly there are some very good students in all disciplines. But there is a reason why there are so many students taking psychology and business as majors.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

  10. #40
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    Re: Does Public Education over emphasize the Liberal Arts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Quite right. Well said.
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