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What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 2:58 PM

I'm not American, and so I won't have to suffer all the cries of 'socialist' or other abuse. So I ask, in a moment of complete fantasy, what you think the future history of America (and Canada) would be like, if fully subsidized University were available to all? What if virtually ever man and woman 'of age' in North America were educated to at least a BA level?

What would be the costs and what would be the benefits: To Law and Crime, Politics & Finance, Science and Engineering, etc? What about Global Warming, Global Overpopulation, World Hunger, War and World Government? Would we be competitive with China and India? Would Foreign Affairs policies change? Would American freedoms be so freely given away to creeping fascism? Would health care cost this much? Would pension dollars be dwindling? Would greed take over Wall street? Would we advance to a futuristic utopian society?

I've read how just this approach is what created powerful pacific rim economies. (coupled with Gov't investment in spin-off technology) I think it holds a great deal of merit for reviving economies and modernizing social awareness and helping to eliminate tyranny

Chris

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#1

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 3:54 PM

I personally like the goals, but fear it wouldn't work. The bright, energetic, thrifty, (or lucky enough to be born to upscale parents) would still go to CMU, CalTech, MIT, Harvard, etc. because they know those degrees carry some authority. I suspect you'd wind up with a low level, 5th year of high school where the students would demand that remedial algebra be taught in "Jeopardy" format. If so, what good engineering professor would teach there?

School for all will work in India and China (and some other places) because those students have a fire in their belly. And, because the culture almost demands that parents and teachers use "a little stick" to encourage them to study and work hard.

I still have some hope for Canada, but the US has gone soft. Does anybody ever watch the career school ads that typically run between 4 and 5 pm on US TV? "Here at East New Jersey Advertising University, you can learn more than a doctor, and in less than nine months. Call now, Operators are standing by."

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 4:22 PM

I think that 'if everybody is doing it' that there will generally be a peer-pressure driven movement that will gradually improve everyone's grades and general knowledge. There will always be differences in our abilities, but that does not mean that our overall efforts at improvement should be less.

But maybe you are right.. maybe America doesn't want to be a world leader anymore. Maybe citizens are largely willing to coast, and let others become the world's leaders in knowledge, technology, standard of living, and possibly freedoms. What does the cradle of education not give growth to?

Chris

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 7:24 PM

As I think about it, you might have some success doing the equivalent of a "bargain basement". Let's say Georgia Tech sets up a couple of branch campuses, just low cost, no amenities except toilets, open and free to all, with the understanding that you must be at 60% of the standard of the "Big School" by the end of the first semester, then 75%, 90%, and 100%. You could rotate faculty in and out for junior and senior courses, and use more remedial types for frosh and sophmores. Couple that with an adult division - where people learn practical chemistry, French bawdy films, whatever - and you might have a good idea.

And, I guess I'd want to move toward the idea of awarding degrees or certificates on the basis of demonstrating knowledge and skills instead of seat-time. So, you might get some hick genius who comes in, spends a semester, and gets a PhD cause he builds satellite tracking stations as a spare-time hobby.

Yeah, on reflection, I think the idea has some merit. It sure would help some of the kids who come out of a four year program with $250,000 debt. And, it certainly would improve our work force.

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#6
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 7:42 PM

If the question is: How do we stimulate the economy, then either by tax incentive, or de-profiteering the education industry, there are signifigant gains to be had. All progress comes by the combination of knowledge and labour. These bloated prices on education only act as an inhibitor. Your idea is valid as a starting point, but I think the point is to improve the prospects of the future by amplifying the raw fuel of human intelligence with knowledge, on a large scale. This will pay dividends many many times the input cost.

Chris

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 8:15 PM

I agree with your point about amplification. Would you propose doing this for only a university education, or perhaps also in some continuing ed function?

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#33
In reply to #5

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 7:20 AM

It sounds like the community college system right now.

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#87
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 7:03 PM

I think this is a great question, and there have been a number of solid responses. I can't help wondering, though, what would we do with all these educated people? It would obviously create a very competitive job market - would there be 1000 applicants for every job, or would there be people with masters degrees serving burgers at McDonalds? I have to believe that due to the pool of worthy professionals, salaries would drop. If salaries dropped enough, would people eventually see that there was no longer any reason to go to school? I imagine that we would see some sort of equilibrium reached between between those who desired an education and those that did not see the point in it. Currently in the US, an education is often viewed as a vehicle to a better station in life. If an education was free, would it be seen in the same light?

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#2

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 4:08 PM

Or you could as easily argue that rather than have 1 million men on the streets - the GI bill did a lot to kick off the prosperity of the 50s and 60s.

Wonder if there have been any studies....

Or you could as easily argue the prosperity of that period had more to do with being one of the few countries with ANY manufacturing capability left.

Dunno.

I DO know the end of Pell grants and low interest loans to students replaced with high interest loans has resulted in only "credit worthy" students being accepted to college, and a large number crashing out financially or graduating to staggering debt loads.

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#3
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 4:16 PM

I agree that the GI bill would have added Hope to the equation, for returning servicemen, of a new life and generations of peace and prosperity. (Which largely happened)

Your last point is more the reason why I'm asking these questions, for from where I sit, it seems a solid idea to foster another real generation of prosperity and peace.

Chris

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: What if America had free university?

05/04/2009 8:32 PM

You make a good point. I went to school on the GI Bill and could not have done it any other way probably. Two points I'd make about that:

I was in the first class at a start-up community college. They literally opened in an old farmhouse because the building was about two weeks behind schedule. Not having any organization, records, or anything else, they decided they needed an accelerated group and put all the Vets in (after all, we were older and better looking, so we should be in the honors program, right?). Well, about two months into the program, the dean pulled my buddy and me out of class and told us they had finally gotten our transcripts (or lack thereof). My buddy had gotten kicked out of school in the eighth grade and I had apparently not actually graduated high school (that's still an open question - I was within a half-credit). Yet we were the best students in the advanced engineering section (which was really not a big deal - we already knew how to play poker, drink, and chase women. What else is there to engineering?).

The other point is that I repaid the entire stipend through increased income tax (on an increased income) within five years. A good investment for me and for the country. And, I think that was pretty typical for most of the Vets.

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#47
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 9:24 AM

Oh, time for confessions?

I went to college at a little residence center on base while still active - got through by pulling a double course load at night. Shore duty for my speciality was only three years.

I refused to sign my contract for graduation OR legitimately APPLY to the University until I had all my classes done. So I filed for admission AND graduation on the same day.

Because my high school grades would have prevented entry otherwise.

And they would NEVER have allowed me to double my way through for two and a half years. But a few years in the military will do wonders for learning to "work" a bureaucracy.

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#60
In reply to #2

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 10:42 AM

yea i got told my advisor to "try" a few classes he never told me it would cost me on my finichal aid limits even if i droped them so now i am 6 credits short of my masters 136,000 in debt and have no good credit left to pay for my last year, and the joke education in architecture is only good enouf to start you as an intern, on ad from architectonica said 40 hours with a generous $100 stipend, so now what, tuurn back to the lift of crime i left to improve my self just to pay off my student loans!

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 11:19 AM

I don't mean to be offensive, but I hope your writing skills are not a product of this $136,000 education.

If so, I would consult a lawyer about getting your money back.

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 11:23 AM

I KNOW you are possessed of sufficient logic to realize not only that your disclaimer is disingenuous, but that the following text could not be taken as anything but offensive?

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#65
In reply to #61

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 12:36 PM

It sounds like Guest has been trying to help himself/herself.

"Don't get me wrong, I am the first to extend a helping hand to those that want to help themselves."

Saying they should get their money back, purely on the basis of writing skill, doesn't exactly sit nicely with that. It's a bit like saying 'get back in your gutter, and don't talk to me until you dress nicely".

Literal snobbery is the same as any other kind. It's your loss if you look at the fancy frame rather than the picture.

BTW - Are you eating peanuts there ? I was just wondering....

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#72
In reply to #65

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 2:14 PM

Who said effective communication skills are not an essential part of any professional job?

Come to me for a job interview dressed in dirty jeans and a T-Shirt, unshaved, unbathed and my first impression will be my last of you. Personally, anyone that doesn't care about their appearance or their ability to communicate effectively is not only doing themselves a huge disservice, it is also a waste of my time.

It tells me that if they do not care about themselves, what realistic chance will they care about my customers, employees, or my company?

My intent wasn't to be overly harsh, but a little kick in the butt is not always out of order and political correctness many times is. Then again, it's his choice and he/she has little to lose if they remain signed in as a guest.

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#74
In reply to #72

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 2:42 PM

Points taken.

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#75
In reply to #72

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 3:01 PM

I agree with your thoughts on dress, though it was used as a metaphor. The post by Guest may well be a leg-pull, but you seem to equate 'professional' with writing skill. If Engineers hijack the word 'professional' and constrict it's use to their own benchmarks, with set literacy standards, do they not set up barriers ? Would a dyslexic person be considered unfit to practice ? How about somebody takinguo a new language ?

Good standards of literacy are essential in many, if not most, professions, but it's unwise to apply it across the board as an absolute.

Having said all that, I wouldn't pay too much mind to a Guest. If you understood the post, there wasn't much call to address the style rather than the content of the post. Just a passing observation.

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#78
In reply to #75

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 3:55 PM

Personal appearance and communication skills - what's the real difference?

I hope his post isn't real, but then again I have had the opportunity to read real posts from students in 300 and 400 level psychology courses and the difference is almost nil.

I understand and give credit for the handicapped and those new to the language, but self imposed handicaps are not well received.

Personally, I find it troubling to see people go through college on other peoples' dime and come out little better than when they went in.

I left home dirt poor. Not that my family was poor, but I did get a entry level car. I worked full-time while I went to school. I paid for my tuition for premed up front, I paid my own meals and lodging. I worked 40 hours a week every week to do it.

I am not the brightest kid on the IQ block, so I had to put in extra effort in many cases, but I was always at the top of my class, always. Since I was paying for every class out of my own pocket I would be damned to walk out of college with less than a 4.0 average. Hell, I put in 30 hours a week just on organic chemistry along with other classes and a 40-hour a week job to get the job done.

It's not easy, but it did make me a better person. I figure if I can do it, why not others?

High school education was free. I didn't pay a dime and I graduated barely at the average level. I just didn't care.

However, when I had to pay for my credits myself, I did care. I'm sure some people will take advantage of a free education, but history shows that human nature does not appreciate what is handed to them free. On the other hand, when you have to work your butt off to achieve success you appreciate (and deserve) what you have.

That is why so many immigants come to the US and do so well. Where they came from life was hard and prospects for a better life not so good. A better life was not free, but it was possible if you worked hard and work hard they did. I toast every one of them!

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#80
In reply to #78

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 4:49 PM

Dear Anonymous Hero,

Here is a hypothetical scenario.

When you were in say your first year, working hard, studying hard, and the administration had told you that there was a performance based program whereby your tuition could be funded, but required high marks, (75%) high attendance, (90%) and participation in a 2 year work placement practicum and evaluation. (with 60% pay, (partially funded by university, partially by employer) plus mandatory and regular drug testing.

Would you say Yes, or would you say No?

How would you modify the program to make it work better?

Chris

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#81
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 5:17 PM

Chris,

Good question. I really don't know, but it would depend on the particulars about where I might work and doing what. It also depends on how the program is really funded. If the program was funded by part of my income being deducted, my employer, and the university, I would be more inclined to accept. Also, what limitations would I have for course selection, etc?

Then again, if I had the means to do it on my own without the program I would be more inclined to say no and open the door for another candidate that would not have the means to go it alone.

The drug test might not bother me too much, but it does seem a little invasive to keep doing that like a prisoner on probation or parole. It repeatedly begs the question, do they trust me or not?

I don't know how I would structure the program differently. Much depends on the desired results, but the program appears to be set up to encourage better graduates and that seems like a good goal to me, but you can make simple statements and the world is a complex machine. Often things that you do have many undesireable side effects, too.

Have I rambled on enough?

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 5:32 PM

Thanks!

I don't intend to be overly controlling, so a happy medium would have to be found so the program acheives the desired results.

I think that the investment shouldn't be program oriented, but results oriented, for to focus on the program and not the productive capacity that results from it would be misguided.

From what I remember of the book I read, it said that when certain pacific rim countries were doing this, they (the gov't) invested in the schooling and also when graduates wanted to start a business, they supported that, plus spin-off technologies, and the overall effect was to boost those economies massively, giving rise to inexpensive electronics, microwave ovens, small cars etc. etc.

Chris

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#83
In reply to #81

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 5:33 PM

Mmmm, yeah unintended consequences are the b*tch.

But many good points made - I'll ask another

Do we actually "encourage" - intrepret that as you will - enough independence in our engineers? I should say entreprenureal spirit - but I am thinking more of both the skills as well as the expectation - of creating business?

Or are we training engineers to be "team members"?

No value judgements on the individual either way intended - we need both. But are we growing both?

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#84
In reply to #80

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 5:51 PM

" .......plus mandatory and regular drug testing. ......How would you modify the program to make it work better? ..... Chris"

Chris --

Eliminate the drug testing. Would you also require daily blood alcohol tests?

A waste of time and money, a red flag indication of religious bias and a signal to the student that he/she is assumed to be unreliable and self destructive unless proven otherwise on a periodic basis. Following such an example perhaps female students should be required to take oral contraceptives to prevent their becoming pregnant and having to drop out for that reason. Or maybe requiring students to submit to unannounced proctor visits during required study hours. (no sleeping allowed before 2:00 AM)

A student involved in any such substance abuse behavior to the level of being a problem will soon enough fail other challenges in an intense educational program. Either way the result, elimination of the person from the program, will be the same.

Other than that, Chris, the idea of complete immersion education programs with incentives like that is a good one. The US military has essentially that in the service academies. When I was in Navy OCS I was offered a program like that (nuclear power school), an excellent program which I declined because lengthened Navy service didn't fit my chosen engineering career path.

Ed Weldon

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#85
In reply to #84

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 6:02 PM

well if you put it that way... I think you are right.

Thank you

Chris

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#90
In reply to #78

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 8:46 PM

I feel your answer is right on target.

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#101
In reply to #78

Re: What if America had free university?

05/06/2009 3:07 AM

I hope his post isn't real, but then again I have had the opportunity to read real posts from students in 300 and 400 level psychology courses and the difference is almost nil.

Part of the reason might be the variation in how course level is determined. To broaden the point, if degree awarding bodies are financially driven and without tight standards, the value of what they give is reduced. At one end you have people getting suckered out of money, and at the other you get people who's qualification might not be all it seems.

It's true that people value what they work for, but what of those who don't have to work for it ? Many, like yourself, work damn hard to fund themselves through higher education, but is simply getting a place on a course harder because another person can wave a cheque or do well at sport? If, academically speaking, there isn't a level playing field, can we be sure that people rise on merit? Neither self-payed, or free education in themselves can ensure that.

Working ones way through college speaks volumes about character, and it's arguably a more valuable thing than the resulting qualification. However, for every person who lives that part of the American dream - success through hard work - how many don't?

Having to pay to study is exclusive. Getting it free has problems, but they're ones of ensuring standards.

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#102
In reply to #101

Re: What if America had free university?

05/06/2009 3:27 AM

I think you are pretty insightful about issues faced. Also I think that there may be significant barriers to getting accepted at universities, and that competition may not always be a fair and level field.

Someone gave you an offtopic, but I countered it with a non-offtopic for your insights.

Chris

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#94
In reply to #61

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 11:25 PM

Amen!!

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#214
In reply to #61

Re: What if America had free university?

05/10/2009 12:55 PM

One concern about criticizing others about their writing skills should be to make sure your own writing skills are not flawed.

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#215
In reply to #214

Re: What if America had free university?

05/10/2009 5:20 PM

Well, I am sure that my writing skills are not flawless, but the real flaw was not recognizing that both posts (both his and mine) were tongue-in-cheek.

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#66
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 12:37 PM

The GI bill accomplished just exactly what it was intended to do. It made it possible for those who risked their lives and limbs to save our world from oppression, to at least get enough of an extended education to improve their lot, and not ultimately become residents of hobo camps, and homeless alcoholics sleeping under bridges and the alley ways of the great metropolitan areas they helped to save.

These ex military personnel, now finding themselves as part of a flood of competing individuals for the jobs that they were capable of doing, were now "MATURE ENOUGH" to realize that the education they needed to improve their lot was available to them, but was not going to be just handed to them. By this time they realized that they were a part of a very competitive world, and the education they needed to step above the others in our society would not be realized with out them applying themselves, and going to the extra effort they needed to exert in order to compete with the children of the "Rich & Famous".

Though we learn as we mature, we cannot learn to mature, that can only come through the experience of learning. The lessons that we learn through unpleasant experiences, seem to have a lasting effect on our lives. We cannot learn for our issue, though we can learn from our issue, and inevitably our issue must learn for themselves.

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: What if America had free university?

05/05/2009 12:48 PM

And I am sure part of the motivation was memories of the Bonus March after WWI.

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#107
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Re: What if America had free university?

05/06/2009 9:45 AM

Yes - there have been studies. All that money spend educating GIs has been repaid in the form of income taxes many times over. It was one of those rare government ideas that actually paid off big.

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#7

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 7:43 PM

I think we would rather quickly see a glut of over-educated applicants in the work force and a severe shortage of trades-people. There is nothing wrong with forgoing a college education and entering an apprenticeship to become a plumber, or an electrician, or a machinist, or a carpenter, or a mechanic. Keeping these trades strong in America is essential to preventing our society from becoming even more consumerist than it already is. Without these trades, on-shore manufacturing will disappear entirely. There is nothing wrong with having an educational disparity across the social strata.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 8:04 PM

I totally agree that training and apprenticeships is an excellent choice. but that is where we diverge. I would propose that these forms of education and apprenticeship also be sponsored and subsidized. (its taxpayer money that is paying for taxpayer education, so it isn't actually taking money better spent elsewhere)

I have to completely disagree with your last statement, if the disparity is forced. I think that if you have subsidized education, then at least you have the Choice of Where, How or If you will be educated. Currently, most who choose no education simply have no choice, due to financial straits. Many who choose trades do so because of the inherent cost of higher education.

As for the 'glut', this isn't really just a crazy assed shot in the dark, as subsidized education as economic strategy is a well understood plan, with plenty of substantial evidence that it works.

(while I've owned and read a good book on the subject, I no longer have it available and can't remeber title or author, and can't locate it on google)

Chris

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 11:35 PM

How is the disparity "forced"? Simply through lack of financial means? That is what makes successful individuals strive to make more out of the hand they've been dealt. There is nothing wrong with this and is in fact the American Dream: the opportunity to achieve more than your peers. The system you propose does nothing but reduce the status quo to the lowest common sustainable denominator. I recognize your good intentions, but they pave the way to Hell. You are removing all incentive to achieve greatness.

The cold hard truth is that working classes are required to sustain the industrial engine. I have lived in a city (Ft. Collins, CO) where I was able to observe first-hand the effects of an over-educated population. It was (and by all reports, still is) not unusual to find a PhD bagging groceries or pumping gas. The jobs do not disappear just because you give everyone a free education. How is the public interest served by giving several thousand (at least) individuals more education than they will have an opportunity to use? At best, it cheapens the accomplishments of those who would seek the education out on their own.

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#11

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 9:15 PM

You miss 2 major points. 1 You get what you pay for, so a free education would not be worth much, and 2: In any system you can only get out what you put in.

Allowing all to attend college for free would provide a temporary diversion for most kids; delaying them from earning their own way. They will receive a degree that they probably cannot even read. I worked hard at college because I knew I owed a lot of money for tuition, and had to earn the income to pay back my debt. It was scary, but very motivating.

I would like to propose a different type of subsidy: How about a 100% tax credit for parents with a child in college? I could afford a great education for my son if I did not have to pay these high taxes, and I hate to see the tax money wasted. You cannot stimulate any economy by taking more money from those of use who would otherwise spend it wisely, and giving it to those who simply waste it on promises that never materialize.

I truly respect your good intentions, but all humans are flawed, and will always take the easy way out. Thus one's good intentions always becomes another's opportunity to take advantage, for self promotion. The only way to elevate all members of society is to force everyone to take care of themselves, provide justice, and a minimal safety net that is as uncomfortable as hell, providing motivation to get off the net.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 10:27 PM

Well I mostly disagree with the notion that free education won't pay. I think there is too much evidence that it does pay. However I think that tax credits are an excellent add-on or option.

Your concerns about effectiveness are easily resolved. How about a graduated funding method, based on student effort, performance, interaction, and group ratings as well as dual instructor ratings. This way students would be fairly rewarded for initiative and involvement in the education process, as well as learning ability. There are many other opportunities within an educational system for students to demonstrate, solidify, and use their growing knowledge.

I think education is a wise choice for taxpayer money, and if blind investment isn't going to be effective enough (which it will) then integrating a feedback loop will help insure a quality education and useful addition. Compared to an uneducated welfare case, an educated, but under-employed engineer (or other discipline) is able to create far more value in a society, even if it is just teaching more students. Schools stimulate, people create, value grows. Unburdening students from debt is not the same as creating irresponsible students. I think that is a different dynamic entirely. The notion that debt makes you responsible is skewed. It is more likely to create depression than responsibility. Debt certainly doesn't create value.

Chris

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#124
In reply to #13

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 10:03 PM

You are insisting on a program that spends one persons wealth, on another person's desires. This effectively removes wealth, and motivation from both parties. The reason some things can not be free; is because they are worth too much.

I am sorry I will not debate your individual points, but if you have the time please explain to me 1 item: Why is it good economics to spend my money on another parent's kids, but you are hesitant to let me spend it on my own?

I am not the enemy, poverty is, and I did my part to keep my family out of it.

-----------------Off topic begins here ----------------

BTW- I donate a lot of time and money to numerous (non religious) charities- could even afford more if Uncle Sam was not so needy.

Apparently I am now part owner of the new GM (Govt Motors) and soon to be invested in Chrysler- Which I believe will also be forced to change it's name to avoid violation of Church and State separation laws

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#127
In reply to #124

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/07/2009 1:14 AM

I started a response to this earlier, but got dragged away by my ear to go shopping... but now I'm back

I have to admit having a visceral response to this post.. but will tackle it anyway.

1) first of all, we are overtaxed and I didn't create the system. so I wont' be taking on responsibility for the way things are. In my opinion we are all getting robbed blind, and it is my intention to change that. I think education is the primary tool we have available to us to accomplish any significant (social, political, legal, military, taxation, tyrannical etc) change. If anyone has better tools to get this job done, I encourage you to popularize them.

2) I am not recommending spending any tax dollars that have not already been taken from you and I. I am recommending redirecting their use from military and other damnable uses, to something universally constructive... education.

3) If we are all well educated, we are much better prepared to create a prosperous future for ourselves, and our children. We will be better equipped to create value, and eliminate waste, and to live economically, without fear. Perhaps there are better ways to fight.. without education and advancement, we will never know.

4) from Benjamin Franklin / Poor Richard

I stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at a vendue of merchant goods. The hour of sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times, and one of the company called to a plain clean old man, with white locks, "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Won't these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up, and replied, "If you'd have my advice, I'll give it you in short, for a word to the wise is enough, and many words won't fill a bushel, as Poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

"Friends, says he, and neighbors, the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly, and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement. However let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says, in his almanac of 1733.

5) I commend you on your charity. wtg.

Chris

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#279
In reply to #127

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/30/2009 12:50 PM

Chris, I realize what I am typing may have already been stated, and addressed, but this thread has been so popular that I can not keep up, so please feel free to redirect me to an answer if it applies to what I am adding below.

My post is going to be 2 parts: the first part is below- it is a response to your post above. Later I hope to post a follow up, that will provide my blueprint for how a free university needs to be set-up in order to work- Both in effectiveness and equal access. I believe it can be done, but it has to fit into the free market system, not Govt program. I believe anything is possible under a free market, and Govts only limit and hinder our success-they never enhance it.

First to your #1 item:
2 pieces to this (and most social programs) They have (1) a goal, and (2) a means to achieve the goal.

Your goal is education, and part of the means being free.

Starting with the goal- Education has to be defined, so it can be measured in order to confirm the goal is reached.

Define education: I assume the definition would be (A): the absorption/retention of new knowledge, by an individual; versus (B): defining it as the 'Process' of delivering existing knowledge to a mass of individuals.

Both definitions can be measured and confirmed, however only 1 definition can be guaranteed to happen. Definition (A) CANNOT be guaranteed. because (A) relies solely on the individual's co-operation, commitment, and abilities, for success. Definition (B) is easy to achieve, and can be achieved for FREE.

Surely your idea (THIS thread) is directed to providing Def A, but in reality it can only guarantee Def B.
Look at primary schooling in America- it is already "free" by your definition (Publicly funded,and open to all) I do not (as most) believe that America's high school grads are "Well educated" when compared to the worlds.
This is because of the forced compromise of educating both types of individuals under the same means. We have students who want to learn and are capable, and those who do not want to learn or are not capable. How can a free university, filter the second group?

Your #2 item-
Please provide 1 example of a new govt program, being funded purely by re-directed funds from an existing govt program. This is always promised, but never happens.
PROOF-Obama enacts spending (beyond the bailouts) in the hundred's of Billions of $$, and 1 month later he announces budget cuts of less than 5 billion and refers to the cuts as "HUGE"

SECONDARY POINT: If you have no military, there is no need to have an education, because your country will have no wealth. Please provide 1 wealthy society that survives(or survived) with little or no military protection.

Your #3 item- Very true, but you are referring to Def A of education, and as I stated achieving Def A is not up to the Govt, no matter how big the program.

Item 4 Thank you for the story. As Abraham states, there are 2 types of taxes, those imposed onto individuals by others, and those imposed onto individuals by themselves. Only 1 type can be controlled by the 'group" and the other can only be controlled by the individual. When Abraham quotes the almanac "God helps those who help themselves" he is just as likely calling the group to take arms and defeat the enemy that threatens the group. And he is recognizing that no amount of group effort can rid an individual of the taxes coming from within.

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#50
In reply to #11

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:34 AM

Another enforcement method the military uses I found quite effective:

The Air Force (someone wade in here it is hearsay for me) reimburses you based on grade performance? You put up the semester's cash up front, then "A"s get you 100%, "B"s get 90% reimbursement.

The Navy had a similar method, you put up 25% of the first semester, but anything less than passing (Cs pass) and you OWE them 75%.

As the residence center charged a premium for being convenient, I would throw down $250 for a class, knowing I would owe $750 to the Navy if I didn't pass. For any given semester for me, that meant I put up $1000, and could potentially owe $3000 - effectively every single class was make-or-break for me.

Focuses the mind.

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#12

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 10:26 PM

There are only two real responsibilities for any government, no matter its form or name: Defense and Education.

GI Bill made the US strong.

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#14

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/04/2009 11:09 PM

There is no such thing as free. If the government pays for everyone's education, then everyone must pay for it via taxes.

There is more than enough historical evidence to show that anything the government does costs more than it would cost if private enterprise did the job.

We already have public school systems that all of us pay into and we know how bad the public school system is. If the government pays the bill for every college and university, then the government will have a say as to what we are taught (the party line). The same goes for research. If everything is government funded, then so will be the research and the government will pull the strings on where those research dollars go.

Right now the US citizen is paying close to 70 % of their income to taxes in one form or another. There are income taxes, medicare, social security, sales tax, excise tax, tax on fuel, booze, you name it, it's taxed, either the federal, state or local government has their hand in your pocket (shorts). That means you spend more than two thirds of your life's income paying taxes. Paying enough yet? So sorry, think again.

Now the US government wants you to pay more taxes for cradle to grave care. Add to that a crushing private and federal debt that I have no idea how we will pay off (can you say tax?). I guess our creditors are now wondering the same thing given that China is getting nervous and has suddenly backed off buying our debt so we are resorting to federal fire sales.

I must have flunked economics 101 because I can't for the life of me understand how you get out of crushing debt by going on a wild spending spree and doubling and tripling your existing debt. Just how does that work?

Right now it is obvious that the US government is having its moment of complete fantasy, so maybe you might feel at home moving down here.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 12:30 AM

There is no such thing as free

True, but I'm talking about this as a method of creating more value than the input cost, so I'm not talking about unworkable system. Humans create value. They are really the ONLY source of value. Even gold has no value without a human to want it. I'm talking about amplifying that value to offset the evil created by the Fed, NWO, and their enslaving debt.

anything the government does costs more...

well maybe, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. It has been done successfully elsewhere, and the US is currently being left behind. Reality check: Seriously, something has to be done. Even China is dabbling with this, and if they get that going full steam, times a half a billion people, watch out. (also Brazil, Ireland, Nordic countries, Cuba, Libya, and other pacific rim countries in the past)

I can't for the life of me understand how you get out of crushing debt by going on a wild spending spree and doubling and tripling your existing debt. Just how does that work?

It doesn't, but then you are being lied to. The purpose is to subdue the citizens of the US through economic slavery, and usher in the World Government... Imho, I would take this to be very well known, established, and uncontested. check out Ed Griffin's "The Creature From Jekyll Island" or the Zeitgeist series..

Thanks for the compliments.

Chris

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#58
In reply to #17

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 10:13 AM

Thanks for the links. I don't know about the first, but the Zeitgiest series has already been fully discredited. Excellent production techniques, but pure propaganda, so I can place no credibility in anything they produce.

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#19
In reply to #14

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:10 AM

Sorry to say it, but you probably did flunk economics 101.

Going into debt is a standard way to increase wealth. Borrowing to buy a truck to start a haulage business, borrowing to buy a house to save on rent etc. Even those champions of the free market (the banks) have been known to borrow (sometimes against poor securities). Unfortunately it doesn't always work, it depends what you use the money for.

So the question becomes "Is providing free university education the best way to generate future wealth for your country".

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:20 AM

guys, there just needs to be a happy medium, totally free is like gasoline on a fire, but with out a spark we have no fire, we just need to give it a spark.

Lynn

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#34
In reply to #19

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 7:23 AM

Have you seen the contents of the stimulus bill or some of the other massive spending sprees we have witnessed?

Many of these are not investments in our future to build wealth, they are investments in the government to build power. Note that the government has expanded and been expanding in size and cost of operation.

To answer your last question, I think probably not, although it would be important on a long-run basis. Still, you have the problem of generating the will to go to higher education. Simply paying for everyone's education will not do it (particularly off the backs of industry, rich, middle class, and poor). It would open the door for some, but it will have other negative consequences and I find that government does a historically bad job of social engineering.

As an economic flunky my take would be to first lower the cost of operation for the private sector by tax relief (as one mechanism) and lower the cost of operation of government by reducing or eliminating programs that really do not belong in government's fold and belt tightening in the essential areas of government.

This is how we, the normal people, do it and how industry does it in hard economic times. You trim the fat (not feed it) and invest a portion of those savings into new streams of revenues as you noted.

So, there are short term solutions and there are long term solutions, but you cant implement long term solutions until you get the short term solutions in place. This government's approach has been totally the opposite by flaunting tax payer's money to the special interest groups that helped make their election possible, then turning around and taxing the populace to pay for some of that funding.

I don't know how we instill value in education in our society. That is, generating a feeling and a drive in people to seek higher education because they recognize the return value. However, free education is worthless unless the people place a value in it. Right now our society places a higher value on pop culture than being a leader in the world.

Sadly, this is what is going to cost us our leadership position in the world, not the cost of education, health care, or transportation. It is a culture and values issue and we have spent the last two generations degenerating those core values to get where we are now, which seems to be making us perfect servants for government.

Not everyone in the US is devoid of drive to succeed, but it does anger me that the few of us that still have that dream to reach for higher places and success are being asked to dig even deeper into our pockets to support an expanding government and a growing sector of social anchors that do not have the drive to succeed.

Don't get me wrong, I am the first to extend a helping hand to those that want to help themselves.

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#54
In reply to #34

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:40 AM

As for tax relief for business:

The tax code for individuals as well as business is simply insane and the product of 100 years of dabbling by special interests. The entire thing needs re-examining with unintended consequences in mind.

NO incentive to an industry should ever go into the code without a hard expiration date - we are still subsidizing sugar for gawds sake.

And incentivising off-shoring, and never mind.

But you can get a 15% boost for larger business RIGHT now by repealing Sarbanes-Oxley. It looked like a good idea, but it costs a fortune and utterly fails to work in any respect.

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#48
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:27 AM

In that calculation you need to add things mandated but not directly taxes or fees.

You are mandated to buy any number of products, some of which are quite expensive.

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#59
In reply to #14

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 10:19 AM

True but at least you wouldn't have a lot of people strapped with student loan debts.

I think a free college system would be a good idea.

I do not think we would lose our skilled labor pool. Those positions would still be filled because we have a lot of people that don't like learning and many people will still have to take those jobs based on the availability of work.

However a free college education system would increase the number of people that will handle the world around them differently because they would be more inclined to think through their problems rather then just reacting to them.

You would also increase the population of parents that would be better suited to raising children.

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#16

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 12:20 AM

I think this might bring down the quality of education, which is already a problem. We most certainly need for just about everybody to have post high school training, but not necessarily at a college or university. Remember back when we used to have unions and appreticeships?

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 12:40 AM

again, I disagree on the quality of education issue, and I think there can be creative solutions to manage it. Just remember that education is the main hub of the economic value cycle. Everything connects to it. Even manufacturing is not as pivotal in a sustainable economy as education.

but on your other point, I agree with apprenticehips, and maybe a modified form of union that is more collaborative.

Here is a site with many excellent suggestions for improving American (and Canadian) economies.

Chris

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#21
In reply to #16

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:15 AM

I have been a member of a number of different unions and certainly tend to be pro labor. However I have also been a Building Contractor who has been required to carry dead weight labor just to qualify for Govt. Contracts. So long as we must be caused to carry the dead around our necks the vultures will be circulating over head. Eventually the burden becomes too heavy for the small business professional to carry. They give up and get on with their lives.

This same concept can be related to higher education. Where ever we must balance the cultural equasion, some one who is both qualified and deserving will be turned aside. While we as a nation compliment ourselves for giving the unqualified a golden opportunity for improvment, we at the same time are denying the qualified a fair opportunity to at least compete. Filling the higher education facilities with unqualified students is like filling a trash bag with wadded up paper. It really doesn't amount to very much weight, but it sure takes up a lot of space. It is also like filling a ballon with hot air out in the sun on a hot sunny afternoon. When you take it into a cool house at night, it shrinks considerably. I believe that many educators are over paid, and many others are under paid, much of this lies in the equalization theory.

But if you wish to see what cheap and almost free education can produce on a grand scale, take a look at UC Berkley in the 60"s and 70's. There were certainly some well educated graduates, but there was also an element that couldn't find the rest room unless someone wasn't already in there smoking pot. Most of this element couldn't find their way back to class for the remainder of the week.

I do not agree with a national draft for filling the military with cannon fodder. I do support rewarding those who serve their nation in times of peace and war by rewarding their service to the taxpayers of this nation for their endeavor. Free higher education, hell no, but I am not troubled by having the taxpayers pick up the tab for job well done.

TooMuchFun

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#100
In reply to #21

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 3:02 AM

Dear TMF,

I would rather train scientists and engineers than soldiers.. but that is just me. Yes I'm a pacifist by nature. I love engineering and inventing, and I know I'm not alone. I think that any being that is higher up the food chain than me is just so much better at designing building and creating than me. Therefore I think that the evolutionary path for humans leads to greater and greater powers of creation, and not destruction. and to me, that road is best developed with education. I'm just asking questions about how to develop much greater educational opportunities for more people. I'm acutely aware of my own lack of education, and desire for more, so there is a personal component to this that I would not deny. There are billions of dollars being spent for things that I consider ridiculous. There are limited resources when it comes to tax dollars, so I'm not just proposing to tax people more. I'm proposing to say cut military spending by 30 billion dollars a year.. that would easily send thousands through university.

Chris

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#20

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:15 AM

Hi Chris, Quite a discussion you have going on here. Having been educated in california to a degree well over a B.A. (and still I cant write) I feel I have the preminant (or spell) opinion, ... yes education is extremely important, but humans like monkeys when given an abundance freely will let it go to waste and its value will be lost. on the other hand cheaper education like in Caifornias jr colleges (At one time) is the right balance and there is no reason the 3rd and 4th year cant be the same but its not, if I were to give a free ride to anyone it would be to the cream of the crop this way all would strive for this brass ring. keep it cheap in the jr colleges and for those that turn their life around and rise to the top, give them a free ride on the 3rd and 4th year, this gives people a second chance to leave what ever happened in high school behind.

We are over taxed and I dont like the idea of another govt program, but we are talking hypothetically right? I mean ther are so many other problems involved here like Illegal imagration ruining our schools and taking all the starting wage jobs, therby lowering our quality of life and of course the liberalization of the schools and the brain washing of the kids and the teachers union doing everthing it can to keep it that way. But I digres.

Keep up the idealism Chris, one day we will need it again after the fall.

Lynn

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#23

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:48 AM

It's quality that counts, not quantity.

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#24

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:57 AM

I don't think that I have enough whisky for this discussion . I just read an article a couple of days ago that more or less described a country like the one you advocate. They have free education through a Bachelor's Degree; free health care; and virtually no unemployment. I just can't name the last Nobel Prize candidate from Finland off the top of my head. Maybe there is something to be said for the up from your bootstraps competitive climb on the social and educational ladder such as we have in the US. With that said; I think that our government, and even worse our PC society, has made that climb too easy. Competition is not valued as much as it once was in education or even junior sports in the US. It seems that if Johnny doesn't get an equal amount of playing time as Mike then Johnny will have low self-esteem. Being a bench warmer in a couple of sports I did what most kids that were my age did and just channeled our energy in to other things that we could excel at such as Drama Club, Debate Club or a track and field event that favored our physiques.

NOPE! Political correctness and government intervention is not the way to go. When everyone has a BA or BS then they become worthless in the marketplace and the MA/MS becomes the next grading metric. The market decides who wins and who loses. It may take a few decades, as in the case of the USSR, but it always wins out. A friend of mine's father always told us young hellions that "the mills of the Gods grind slowly; but, they grind exceedingly fine." Not a bad saying to remember.

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#26
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 3:20 AM

Finnish Nobel Laureates

Martti Ahtisaari, Peace, 2008

Ragnar Granit*, Physiology or Medicine, 1967

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen, Chemistry, 1945

Frans Eemil Sillanpää, Literature, 1939

Not bad for a country with a population of 5.3 Million... I'd like to lay odds that the above guys deserved their Nobel more than Al Gore too...

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#35
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 7:47 AM

Oh, yeah!

Nobel prize is like winning the lottery, anyway. One takes it and the rest (of the rednecks) get out on the field and shoot at deer with anger.

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#56
In reply to #24

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:43 AM

Actually, Finland has the most science-savvy 15 year-olds in the world. Or so the OSCE's PISA survey says. Here are their conclusions:

http://www.pisa.oecd.org/pages/0,3417,en_32252351_32235731_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

  • Finland, with an average of 563 score points, was the highest-performing country on the PISA 2006 science scale.
  • Six other high-scoring countries had mean scores of 530 to 542 points: Canada, Japan and New Zealand and the partner countries/economies Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei and Estonia. Australia, the Netherlands, Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Ireland, and the partner countries/economies Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Macao-China also scored above the OECD average of 500 score points.
  • On average across OECD countries, 1.3% of 15-year-olds reached Level 6 of the PISA 2006 science scale, the highest proficiency level. These students could consistently identify, explain and apply scientific knowledge, and knowledge about science, in a variety of complex life situations. In New Zealand and Finland this figure was at least 3.9%, three times the OECD average. In the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Canada, as well as the partner countries/economies Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Hong Kong-China, between 2 and 3% reached Level 6.

To me, its more of adapting government programs to a country's culture and its obvious that what works in one country may not work in another.

BTW, by free education to everyone - did you mean eliminating admission tests? Cause that would really mess it up....

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#64
In reply to #24

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 11:53 AM

Don't diss the Fin's

Remember Nokia! Just cos they don't have a nobel doesn't mean squat as they kick ass in other fields!

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#25

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 3:11 AM

This question bolsters my belief that (additionally to GA's) GQ awards should be instituted.

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#27

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 3:44 AM

Chris - After reading through a lot of this I should ask just what do you mean by "Free University" with everyone educated to the BA level. Do you really mean without regard to scholastic aptitude (in the general sense; not the tester's sense) and personal motivation? With current technology way too much economic resource would have to be wasted or the meaning of the BA would have to be discounted too far for a voting majority to be willing to support it. That lowest 10 or 20 percent of the students would be a major challenge.

Perhaps what we really need is an education system that gets us ready for life. We already have that system in place. It just doesn't work the way we want it to. The trouble is that there is too much inertia as well as inefficiency in the current system. And no small amount of inequity in the opportunity for access to the best educational sources.

Let's talk first about the inertia part. Society changes rapidly in terms of what we need to teach. Too many structural characteristics of the education world lag behind. The more the structure of rules and practices, the more it lags and the more inefficient it becomes.

Inefficiencies come from other sources as well. Too much actual resource goes into classifying students for their aptitude for jobs when it should be going into teaching them things they need to know to work and live.

We fail to properly educate too many talented young people because they lack the resources to live (pay rent, buy groceries, get health care) while they are being educated let alone pay money for tuition, books, etc. We lose a lot more because they lack the motivation and/or the basic skills and habits needed to become educated.

We have this idea that education requires a highly paid teacher in an expensive to build and maintain classroom to teach what you need to learn as well as keep score on achievement and maintain group order. (Hint here: Imagine a system where none of these requirements exist. How do we get to that point?)

My position is that no one educates us. We educate ourselves. Our limits are our personal time resources, talents and motivations. Time resources are not a trivial issue. If one's situation leaves little discretionary time for education then the learning process becomes a losing cause as previous educational achievements fade in our memories faster than new goals are achieved. Ask any working mom about that.

I would note here that one of the greatest advances in education was the growth of the system of free public libraries. These were the places where several generations of Americans could find the information with which to educate themselves for free. All it took was their own time to read and study. We no longer think that way. We subconsciously expect teaches to hand feed us as part of the learning process. And yes, teachers do tend to make the education process somewhat easier. Learning from books by yourself typically doesn't include interactions with other students as well as teachers to help with material that is hard to understand. This may not be very important for the most brilliant minds; but it's a big deal for the rest of us.

People have different areas of talent and different levels in each area. That needs to be recognized. One size fits all is not very efficient. But neither is everyone with his own special program. Somewhere in the middle shifting toward specialization would be nice if we can figure out how maybe with the help of modern technology. (editorial comment here: Is mandatory algebra for everyone really necessary or is California just caving in to the desires of large corporations and universities?)

How about motivation? A world where every need and desire of kids is met with little effort on their own part doesn't help a lot. How can we motivate anyone young or old to improve their situation if they already "have it all".

Educating ourselves is serious work. It requires discipline and persistence. Without that all the freebies will not be enough.

OK, we know "Free" doesn't necessarily mean everything is free. Here's a list of the requirements for an education (I'll probably miss some):

Aptitude

Identified talent

Motivation

Skills to interact with others, ethical standards, etc.

Personal discipline and persistence

Physical capability (Health, etc.)

Resources to cover personal living (living space, groceries, etc.)

Access to structured educational process including study materials.

Access to other people (real and virtual) to help us in our learning

A well designed and dynamic curriculum that may well be revolutionary when compared with what we have today.

An accepted system to score individual education achievement.

Pick the ones you think should be provided free by someone else, government, business, foundations, other NGO's, etc. and recognize that it won't work unless it is deemed to be efficient and able to provide a suitable return by the contributors.

Results? At best less unemployment, more job satisfaction, a much more efficient economy, a better informed electorate, a workforce that is easier to retrain and less tolerant of poor management. At worst a trillion dollar fiasco and a large and potentially restive cadre of people working far below their expectations with little hope of realizing the hopes they had when they embarked on the work of educating themselves.

Ed Weldon

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#68
In reply to #27

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:32 PM

Ed, I've given a GA for comprehensive thinking.

When I created this thread, I was thinking about how to acheive certain results.

1) Put the North American economy on a real solid footing, more like the postwar days of industrial strength development. This economy needs to make up for the recent injection of a trillion dollars.

2) Claw back personal empowerment for individuals from creeping fascism that is the Globalist agenda.

3) Create a thorough knowledge of the Value Chains of a technologically advanced civilization so that society does not lose its way. If more people understand how to build X, then that knowledge will not be lost, and the corresponding erosion of society.

4) In my wildest dreams, to have enough educated people to put an end to the central bank mechanism of artificial inflation and compound interest... hopefully forever. This is a slavery mechanism, pure and simple. It does not serve the people. This would be a declaration of independence, requiring leadership and knowledge.

Teaching begets Learning coupled with Demand begets Innovation coupled with Investment begets Growth which begets Wealth, all of which begets Learning coupled with Demand begets Teaching.

I now agree that the shotgun approach to education will produce too much waste, and I think that it is essential to incorporate student performance and initiative criteria into the equation.

There is lots of opinions here that say this is a waste.. but I remember being extremely thrilled July 11, 1969. Someone gave us the Permission and the Goal to do that, and the resulting benefits simply can not be estimated. I say that it is time to create a purpose driven results oriented program, to create new wealth and economic prosperity, and do away with power mongering institutions through the only means available. Education

Education begets Understanding. The greatest invention of all time... The printing press.

Chris

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#69
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:54 PM

I'm probably gonna beat this to death, but you've really caught my interest with this thread. We might think about something modeled along the lines of the "teach-ins" of the sixties. Suppose we had good engineers, programmers, and scientists spend three hours a week for however many weeks teaching their specialties to anybody that wanted to participate? I'm betting most colleges have more than enough empty classrooms to accomodate this.

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#73
In reply to #69

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 2:29 PM

TVP45,

that sounds good too, especially as a step in a grass roots movement. If more people understood that Education is the HUB upon which the economy turns, then it would get more and better focus.

If the education initiatives were more visionary toward a future goal, with feedback and control, and solidly connected to the value that is to produced, then we would stride to an empowered future in the proverbial ten league boots.

For example, during WW2, when everyone understood what the overall purpose was, innovation in weapons, production methods, and basic systemic infrastructure showed massive growth. This was true for all countries, not just the US. People literally gave their lives to do their part. Education coupled with Investment coupled with Motivation delivered staggeringly effective results all around.

Therefore, we need to identify not the ways and means of the advancement, but the Future Results that we are collectively aiming for. We may be facing extinction from Global Environmental change, Tyranny from Global Government, Plagues from viruses, food additives which depress our immune systems, Energy shortages, Overcrowding... the list goes on. We are daily bombarded with the fear mongering by the media, and its sensationalism. Only solid pragmatic education with reliable quality control can overcome this, for deception is all about.

Chris

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#86
In reply to #73

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 6:47 PM

Hello again Chris

The very expensive education that we derived from WW2 also left this nation with a staggering national debt, and thousands of dead to bury and many more thousands to care for as the result of losses of sight and limbs. No doubt, we were forced to invent new and better ways to win wars, to promote cooperation among various industries, and to force sacrifice from those who remained stateside, like it or not.

To force the American Taxpayers to have to fund higher education for everyone would quickly force this nation further into bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the world is no longer a place where the fittest survive. There is no natural culling device that would eliminate the non/slow/learner from surviving. We keep the weak, old, incapacitated, Et. al. alive through our Charity. Our medical costs are "simply put" staggering. Certainly, this is accomplished as the result of higher learning establishments, and improved education.

Everyone seems to have their pet subject to promote. Some want to save all of the animals, some want to save the old growth forests, that ultimately die off anyway, of natural causes. Here in sunny Florida, we are spending billions of taxpayer dollars to restore the everglades, a swamp that at one time began north of Lake Okeechobee, and has been gradually filling itself in by natural causes in its natural march toward the Island of Cuba.

I sometimes wonder just where and or when will all of the freebies that are forced upon our taxpayers to finance will come to an end. In short, we need to begin at the beginning regarding education.

I never attended kindergarten, it was a cost item for families to burden, back in 1946/47. However by the time I entered first grade, I could recite the alphabet, count to 100, spell my families names, and more important, I new how to get my little 4 yr old sister and infant brother out of our second story apt, in case of fire. I also new the way to my grand parents home in the next county more than 40 miles away through the sand hills of S.C. mostly on unpaved roads. The ultimate learning experience must begin at home. Parents must teach their children how to learn, before entering them into the educational system. That means that people who wish to have and raise children must be ,"forced if necessary" to get at least enough of a basic education to start their children along the road to successful education possibilities. The only way to get it done is to cut off the funding to parents who are nothing more than grifters sucking the very life of society after a pre-determined number of children are born to any Mother. This all begins with educating women about the ultimate responsibility of making babies, and the errant fathers who disapear into the masses of society must be harnessed if necessary to provide for his issue if that is the only option he will accept. The level of taxes we as a society are paying for primary education are simply the biggest obsticle to our funding higher education for our children. The vast majority of us simply cannot pay for the education of the masses and at the same time fund higher education for our own issue. For children born to parents who will not make the effort to at least give their children as much of an opportunity to learn "how to learn", the road to success will be long and difficult, but the way is clearly marked for them to follow. They will simply have to work for it, because it is not one of the things that are an entitlement.

TooMuchFun

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#28

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 4:24 AM

The good thing about the pure capitalist system is that everyone finds their place in the natural order of things, the best, the brightest and the most ambitious reach the top of their chosen field and those who are not so gifted or ambitious rise to their own level, which, if it isn't enough to satisfy their ambitions, will encourage (force) them to try harder.

What you are asking is: Does socialism in education work?

The answer is: No.

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#32
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 7:14 AM

Have you actually looked at the current crop of US students? Really? Both in the US and the UK we are seeing higher education becoming the province of those whose parents benefitted from the previous more "socialist" systems and in this I deliberately include those that went to school under the GI bill (IMHO one of the greatest benefits ever concieved).

No system if perfect and I feel a deep abiding dread at the thought of further interference in education by ANY government but the purely capitalistic system does not and never can work since if runs the risk of placing underachieving "students from a wealthy background in higher education they are sorely incapable of gaining from. This could be at the cost to those that may benefit the best.

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#42
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:46 AM

.... I think you left a word out of your statement:

"everyone finds their place in the natural capitalist order of things, "

Supporting capitalism supports the current mess that the US is currently in.

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#29

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 4:32 AM

Hi Chris

Twenty five years ago a visiting Professor from a Japanese University on hearing that our college in South Africa suffered a 30 to 60% annual failure/drop-out figure called me "a man with no face and the worst teacher he had ever met!" That after I had given his party the grand tour of our world first state of the art facilities. No points for his diplomacy but as a staff member at the countries top university it made me sit up. At that point in South Afr. we were teaching the white elitest and had selected the top twenty five students for the course from over 250 applicants. He was right! Our whole system sucked.... as does the American and most western education systems was my conclusion after two more years of study into the Japanese Prof's remarks about education. Here's the thing:

Parents. Switch of the cable TV and buy books. Stop supporting your ball team and play ball with your kids. Work with their fantasies and make toys, act in their plays, TEACH your kids to WANT to learn. Teach them to trade. Teach them to invent. And enjoy watching them out-perform you.

Teachers. Yes you too Professor! If your student is not understanding and achieving, YOU are failing! Your methods have not captured the students imagination. They do not explain the criteria adequately. They do not encourage the student to achieve and deliver, explore and innovate. Your method does not fetch the student from where his last teacher dropped him off, nor does it deliver him to the next station in life.

Students. Get off your lazy sit-upons and get used to the fact that the world owes you diddly. Read, write, listen and learn from the old fools around you. They too were once clever like you. If one day you too will be wise, it will be by respecting them. Remember we went to the moon with a flipping slide rule! And really big balls. With what you have available in tech and knowledge you are destined to do such great things as to make old men giggle with delight at your success.

And Chris, I worked four jobs to get my education. In South Africa I spoke English, thus with the Government of the day I did not qualify for loans, grants or bursaries. If I was black I would most likely not have had a education at all. Today......

The bottom line is that the society you live in needs to want an education and be prepared to pay the price. I fear our lives of excess have softened our desire for improvement. Beware of drifting from an overfed civilization into decaying individualization.

Love the debate around this thread. Well done Chris!

Bushdriver. South Africa.

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#70
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 1:56 PM

Thats a very good point Bushdriver... and I agree that there must be a feedback loop for educators to be able to assess the effectiveness of their teaching programs, and for investors to be able to harvest value from the entire process. If the students don't use their education to create value, what was the point?

Chris

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#30

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 4:57 AM

May be I can also add a few things to the discussion. First of all, I am German and at the time I went to the university it was free (except a small fee of less than 100 US$ per semester). Although the economic and social backgound of the students varied, it was obvious that most of them came from middle or upper class families or academic families. The reason for this was quite simple: Among these families education is valued much more than in families with a, let's say "lower level social background". So right from the beginning of their "educational career" these children were encouraged and supported in their efforts to learn. Furthermore, these families have the financial ressources to support their studying offspring in pay for living. Of course, there always were excemptions from this rule, but there were only few. So I would guess, that even free access to the universities would not really make a dramatical change, because there are far too many young people not interested in the acquisition of knowledge, being "resistent" to extending their intellectual capabilities, because they have never been introduced to the values of learning and knowledge!

Well, intellectual capabilities may be another important factor. I think we have to commit that Orwell's "all animaly are equal" cannot really be transferred to people. You may agree or not, but intellectual capabilities of people are different. So the attempt to give the same level knowledge to everybody, notwithstanding what his or her inellectual capabilities are, will be condmned to fail. The reason is that this goal could only be achieved when the lowest common denominator would be used to measure the "amount" of knowledge or education which could be given to people. - By the way, we have seen some steps into this direction in Germany, and the results were bad (or better desastrous) ratings in the "Pisa-Study".

So, now you can call me a snob or a person with limited visions, but I personally am convinced, that the very desirable vision of "BA-grade" for everyone will have to remain what it actually is: A vision

Regards nudnik

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#71
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Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 2:12 PM

Nudnik,

thanks for your points. I believe that humans are goal oriented by nature, and that for the most part, those students who lack direction aren't stupid, but they may not have their imaginations sufficiently fired up. I think that when large groups of people are given an overall goal, such as 'going to the moon', then even if you are working in materials, or fabrics, or electronics, or whatever, you are still connected to the ultimate goal.

One of the reasons that war is so effective for economic recovery is that everyone can relate to the idea of 'winning' or conquering evil, or creating freedom, or whatever.. so again, no matter what the task, it is easy to stay connected to the overall goal.

As it relates to education, I think that this is one thing that is generally lacking, is the overall purpose. Students become despondent because they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.. They get disconnected from the goal. The party can now become a purpose instead.

So while it may be insufficient to inspire students with "We're going to revive our economy", I think that if the value chains or stair-steps are taught early, then more and more students will 'get it'. Education has gotten lost as to its purpose. The purpose isn't just to educate, but to train people to create value.

Creating value leads to a Hierarchy of Needs. What is Value? Value is that which supports human life. Humans give value to objects, conditions, scenarios. Food, Shelter, Clothing, Transportation, Communication, Energy, Tools, Law, Security, Money, etc, all have value because Humans need those things. There is a value chain of supporting technologies to be able to create each of these items essentially 'From Scratch". So the value chain is really a set of recipes for creating and managing the hierarchy of needs. This is what needs to be taught, and taught young. Then there will be much more purpose to education.

I think this, along with other 'life skills' should be mandatory, along with the basic math and language classes. We probably wouldn't be in the mess we are in if Money and Debt management were taught in public school.

Chris

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#31

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 5:13 AM

I don't know if education is free in China, but these pics give some idea of what a surplus of grad students does to the labor market.

(Sorry, could you please copy and paste as I'm not able to work out how to do the link thingy)

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2008-12/16/xin_2921205161158781244692.jpg&imgrefurl=http://blog.chinesesession.com/2009/03/09/job-fair-in-china-and-usa/&usg=__DqvxTOK271jj6Q0qcVoDhzk0Vk0=&h=340&w=500&sz=62&hl=en&start=19&sig2=ALTByO92sS0bXdUgwTOwQg&um=1&tbnid=Wg1NrIzD0stIqM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dnanjing%2Bjob%2Bfair%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18%26um%3D1&ei=Gvv_Sc_fAdS2jAfB8YWsAw

And here's some stats that make the above seem quite odd, this is from the CIA site of world stats - if you scroll down and have a look at the School Life Expectancy (the number of years from primary to tertiary education) for Canada, China and the US you will see the following:

Canada: 17 years (pretty much as expected).

USA: 16 years (pretty much as expected).

China: 11 years (very much not as expected).

I had assumed China would have an SLE at least as long as Canada and USA.

Does this mean they graduate in a much shorter period?

5 or 6 years seems quite a bit to chop off the entire SLE though.

Maybe somebody from China could throw some light on that figure as to whether or not it's accurate.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2205.html

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#105
In reply to #31

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 6:08 AM

Hi Guest,

I am in China at the moment, but that doesn't really qualify me as any kind of expert on this amazing 5,000 year old puzzle-works. Nonetheless, Here are some of my observations and thoughts on the matter.

"Free" primary education in China lasts to around the 9th or 10th year, but access to that education is still burdened with expenses for books, activities and other incidentals that Western folks would consider trivial, but are simply unaffordable to those who reside at less-than-middle-class stations in society (and that is most people here).

In addition, the right to attend school is tied to your legal residency. For example, if you are from another province and you come to Shanghai to find work, you are not considered a legal Shanghai resident and you don't have rights to Shanghai privileges (education, medical benefit levels, unemployment insurance, etc.).

If you aim for the brass ring of higher education, the competition for entry is ferocious. Students are groomed from their first years to do nothing but pass the entrance exam that will decide their educational fate. Good score = the best universities in China and perhaps abroad. Mediocre scores = third tier schools. Poor scores = vocational college if you can get in, and the odds are you will have to accept a major for which you have neither aptitude nor interest.

The good universities are lively with bright and enthusiastic students and competent and sometimes even brilliant professors. The vocational colleges have an over-abundance of immature, directionless, undisciplined, unmotivated schoolchildren taught by a mix of faculty ranging from the devoted and selfless to the pension seeking parasite. It is day and night when you visit those campuses.

After graduation, years of education run head-on into the playing field of real economics. The supply of traditionally educated students has now outstripped demand. In good times there are about a million graduates every year that don't find positions consistent with their education levels. In times of "financial crisis", you approach 3 million unemployed or underemployed grads every year. The system is unbalanced in what is taught relative to the needs of the moment, so previously stable and predictable economic opportunities are no longer available. Somewhat analogous to herds of buffalo that have multiplied until they have outstripped the carrying capacity of the land, I suppose.

This seems to be true for every educational system throughout the world. Education is desired because of the benefits it brings to the student, and then there are more graduates than are needed to make up for natural attrition. Education responds (slowly) to such changes in real world dynamics. Consequently we end up with a zillion business management majors, no one to manage, business shriveling up like raisins in the sun, and a global economy in a cocoon undergoing a quiet and invisible metamorphosis while markets burst into flames an die horrible screaming deaths. Such is the nature of our systemic beast. Fortunately, that situation doesn't last forever. Education will change to suit the demands of the times, as will law, social mores, business, finance, personal lifestyles, and popular fashion.

And the changes in China are rolling in. I can see them everyday. It is a slow advance, but it is building in depth and speed. Their core of educated humanity is reaching critical mass. Their educational methodologies and directions are prudently, yet constantly being modified. Look for interesting changes over the next two or three generations. China is behind the West in many ways at this moment. But you can literally watch the advances taking place before your eyes. And education is one of the places it will be changing for the better.

I hope this rant was of some assistance to you.

Best of the day to you, Guest.

Happy Trails !

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#108
In reply to #105

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 11:24 AM

Thank you Happy Fish, very enlightening.

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#36

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 7:50 AM

Chris,

I'm starting to warm toward your idea. I'd like to suggest some things I'd want to consider.

Coupling the free university with national service. Perhaps a year or two in a modern day CCC might be just the ticket to clean up some of our forest land and rivers while providing some much needed discipline and work ethic.

Adding non-degree programs like: fork-lift operation; ProE; Intranet maintenance; CadCam; welding; etc, so that people can quickly fill holes in their resumes to get back to work now.

Requiring full accreditation from all the outfits such as ABET so that quality stays at a reasonable level.

Adding a coop program so that students end up working at least one year (or the equivalent) during their education.

And, oh, sending us LeMieux more than cancels any debt you owe us for all that Red River water. Thanks.

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#40
In reply to #36

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:22 AM

What I have noticed is that the value of given degrees has deflated over time in the USA. When I joined the workforce in the 1970s a lot of the top engineers had only BS degrees, and some had no degree at all. Now the BS is considered the entry level degree, with an MS expected for real growth and the PhD fairly common in the workforce.

I earned a PhD to separate myself from the bulk of the workforce, but I am glad I did because company leadership really looks at your credentials when evaluating you for different projects. I am allowed a lot more independence in my tasks because managers assume that I know what I am doing (as long as I don't prove otherwise!), which makes work more satisfying.

The point I am making is that the ambitious will do what it takes to try to separate from the pack, either educationally or through other avenues. Creating more degrees will just make them less valuable for personal advancement.

For society as a whole more education can't help but be useful, provided the education translates to useful skills in the job force. The problem is that our country gives the same economic support to students studying "underwater basket-weaving" as to engineers and other professions/trades. This results in a huge pool of educated people doing jobs that do not require their skills - such people are often very frustrated and even bitter.

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:34 AM

I've noticed the same thing. It bothers me, but I don't have any answers. I see people now getting PhD degrees for two years seat-time. The same thing is going on with GPA - I saw an ad for an entry-level engineering job where they required a minimum of a 3.8 GPA! I've known some darn good engineers, with a pack of patents under their belts, who had been pretty proud of their 2.8 GPA.

Maybe we need two kinds of degrees - the rigorous academic ones and practical certificates. And, I'm pretty darn sure we need to eliminate some of those make-believe degrees such as a BA in "Community Leadership and Values". (Now, watch, I just offended somebody who actually has that degree, and I'm gonna get flamed ).

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#52
In reply to #40

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:37 AM

"When I joined the workforce in the 1970s a lot of the top engineers had only BS degrees, and some had no degree at all. Now the BS is considered the entry level degree, with an MS expected for real growth and the PhD fairly common in the workforce."

Does the MS/PhD actually make the person a better engineer? (i.e.,does perception match reality?)

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#55
In reply to #52

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:42 AM

If the engineer has talent and drive I think more quality education is very helpful, combined with good work experience. If the person does not "have the knack" for engineering than education can only do so much. He might consider finding out where his talents lay and transition to that field.

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#37

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 7:57 AM

Brothers, there is no need for free higher education in the US. If there was, something would have been in place by now. At least that much I know about this country. Don't hang me, for what I said. Read me well: if there was a real need coming from inside, the pressure would have breated the conditions for free higher education. But pressure from where? From the illiterate high school graduate who ends up at 25 with two kids from two different women? From the hillbilly who's more concerned about government taking his guns away than the fact he can't spell his own name? From the ghetto people?

It's cheaper to import brain. And that's going to be forever, as long as what I wrote above stands true. Check out many of the names of the U.S Nobel prize winners (since Al Gore won one, I barely have a minimum of respect for this institution).

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:10 AM

Actually, us hillbillies have had this kind of school for a long time. See Berea. Now, we are concerned they don't have a gunsmithing program, but they do offer remedial spelling ('sides, iffn hit seys Billie-Bobb Hairie on yore burth curtifkate, thet's th' rite way two spell, hain't hit? I gits mixed up 'bout this my mothur, or ant -cuz my daddy married his sistur - sez.)

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#39

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:20 AM

If we had tax payed education all the way through PhD, there would be the biggest acceleration of technology the world has ever seen. The competition of ideas would really be great. When the playing field for education is leveled, we'll have the products we are seeking much quicker. We could be energy independent within five years and eliminate global warming at the same time. There's many people here that would like to learn, but just don't have the financial ability to further their education. Some don't want the burden of a huge debt after they graduate. Some don't want to give up having a family at an earlier age. There's lots of reasons. Although it's still possible for the poor to work their way through college, it is very difficult. A lot of bright people don't get to go because of this.

When people quick using "socialism" and "communism" to prevent programs that help the citizens, then it will come to past. We are already beginning to acknowledge that totalitarianism can occur under any system.

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#44
In reply to #39

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:55 AM

To make your idea work student aid/support would have to be focused on the science and technology fields. Currently we give the same support to rudderless souls who hope to "find themselves" at the university as we do for goal oriented achieves with talent and drive. people with talent and drive need to be identified and developed, the others not so much.

It's the same with sports. Some kids simply have much more size, strength, speed, ability and drive the others and it shows. While you cannot see technical ability as easily just by looking at someone, there is no doubt that some have talent and others not as much. You cannot turn most people without the talent into engineers/scientists just by educating them.

I really wanted to be a basketball player and loved playing all the time. However, at 5'6" and without incredible coordination that was not realistic and no amount of education could change that, unless they created an affirmative action position for people like me.

The same is true for technical professions - they require a combination of ability and training, not just training.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:23 AM

Oh, yes, I agree that the professional student isn't going to contribute much to our society. Therefore, the tax payed education must have some strict rules. We can't have people wasting our time and money trying to find themselves. The tax payed education system would have to be set up to prevent abuses. Those that want to "find themselves" can use their own money and go to private schools. The education wouldn't be just for science and technology. It would be for everything. The more informed a populace is, the better off they are. If someone with a PhD in a field that there's no demand for goes to work flipping burgers, that's a good thing. Honest work is wonderful. When something in his field develops, he can take it. Those that will not work because they can't find a job in their field can just go hungry. Work is a very necessary function. Like the other animals, we have got to gather food. Of course, we gather money to exchange for the food. But we still have to work to get it. Everyone has a right to education. When that right becomes available, and those that don't use it or abuse it, well, they are just SOL. I hope I live long enough to see tax payed higher education and generic universities. We can have the best of both worlds-tax payed and private. Why not both?

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#51
In reply to #46

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:35 AM

Papadoc,

The problem is that those who won't work because they cannot find a job that they feel suits them will not go hungry. They will be fed at the expense of those who will work, increasing the burden on the latter. My brother is the perfect example. At age 54 he has probably worked one year of his life, with the rest spent in the educational system. He live off of government grants and California's generous welfare state while studying whatever he wants. And he hates America and is studying ways to end the country. The more our country gives him the more selfish and bitter he becomes.

It is demoralizing enough to fund someone who has no plans of ever contributing to society. It is even harder to support those who want to destroy what so many of us work for.

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#43

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 8:49 AM

I am all but against this idea. If all are free institutions run by staff paid by state and Federal Government then it will do what Government does.

In my best experience if you have a business and you tried to make it run in loss and failed give this to Government and they will show you how to make run in loss.

I am American and will tell you history of post office before private business Fed-Ex, UPS and others every year postal service will run in loss and raise stamp price when private venture took hold post started paying attention and is doing better but still in loss. When they raise stamp price they do try to give justification.

Look to Amtrak it runs in loss year after year. There is one guy in the world his name is Laloo Yado who is minister of railway in India and took advantage of private enterprise business model and is only case I know in world made railway profitable. when he will be gone so will be the profitability and government will run normal which is all business they try runs in loss.

Having fee and attaching a standard to judge graduating students in the field and providing needed field education and not from yellow pages I had during my engineering in India helps to improve life of humanity and makes our life little better.

If you are very good student and world need you believe this good American University will find you and give you scholarship and then US will digest your talent and knowledge to make money out of your God given potential. For rest if you have money you can join the club and chances are you will improve.

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#45

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/05/2009 9:02 AM

At first I was not going to reply but after reading comments from others I feel compelled to add my 2 cents worth. I work at a university. My main job is as a mechanic. My second job is to teach introductory machining classes. I have seen first hand the difference in students that were given a free ride and those that must work for it. Those that hold down a steady job to support their studies are more likely to work harder because they have a stake in their own success or failure. The students that are getting a free ride seem to worry more about the frat house party than their grades. I would recommend including a clause in the free education. If you fail then you have to pay for the class. This is not a new idea. Some companies that sponsor students have this wording in their contract with the student. I agree education is very expensive. To get into the machining classes there is an investment of around $2,000.00 for measuring and layout tools in addition to text books, lab fees, housing, and the current credit hour rate. The only way I managed to complete my studies was to work full time while taking classes. A free education would have been great. But I must confess that I doubt I would have appreciated it as much had I not paid for it myself.

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#106
In reply to #45

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 9:18 AM

Surely that is a real generalism and it does depend where you are getting your free ride from.

If it is Mummy and Daddy who are loaded and paying for the whole thing then that is a bit different to the state paying for it.

For a start the state is likely to be a lot less generous!

I am lucky to live in the uk and went through university at a time when we didn't have to pay a penny for it. Everyone still worked hard and got degrees and came out of it all with maybe a small debt but nothing crazy. I suppose that i am paying for it now as i have a higher earning degree level job and my paying through higher taxes for it.

Lots of people have been saying if you get something for free then you will slack off and not try your hardest but i have a different take on it.

I did a degree straight out of school, i enjoyed myself and it did study, maybe not as hard as i could have but i came out of it all with an honours degree.

About 5 years later i came to retrain as a teacher, again the course cost me nothing and also i got paid by the government just to do the training. I could have slacked off and done nothing. I didn't i actually worked very hard and i passed the course, and did teach for a year. I worked hard at the second course because i was older and more mature and appreciated the gift that I was being given.

So it is not just the case of whether you are paying or not for a course, it also depends on the individual taking that course. If i was to redo my original course today I would work harder and that has nothing to do with money but has everything to do with age and maturity.

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#109
In reply to #106

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 11:25 AM

"...if you get something for free then you will slack off and not try your hardest..."

You must realize that statement is a generalization and given a large enough sample size that you will find examples that fit on the bell curve and off the bell curve.

Your experience is simply a sample size of one, which is statisticly invalid when trying to describe a large population.

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#131
In reply to #109

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/07/2009 6:50 AM

Hello Anonymous Hero, I was replying to Andy K in post 106. I agree with you. You have restated what I was trying to say. I do have to say that this is all generalization. I am sure there are students that receive financial help that appreciate it and try to make the most of it. That is where maturity shines through. On the other hand there are students that get the same help and do not try. When they fail their complaint is not how much money has been wasted. Their complaint is that they have to take the class over.

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#110
In reply to #106

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 3:25 PM

Yes it is a generalization and maturity has a lot to do with it. I agree with you on that point. But can you honestly tell me that someone would care more about how hard they worked if the money came from the faceless government instead of mom and dad?

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#113
In reply to #110

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 3:50 PM

No, I can't. However, in both examples you cited the student has nothing personally invested in their education. Somebody else did that.

I would probably bet that the parents have a better chance of getting respect for the investment over the government in a statistical average.

What I did say was that a student would value their education more if they had to pay for it out of their pocket by working for that money. Again, that is a statistical generalization and there will always be statistical fliers outside the normal distribution.

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#114
In reply to #113

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 4:08 PM

What statistics? Is there really some reliable data base that shows correlation between who pays for a student's education, and how much they value it? I'd love to see your data, to see what that 'normal distribution' looks like.

We're talking about our kids - all of our kids - you know the ones who grow up to take over this world that we have so carefully managed for them. If what you say is true, then perhaps we should make our kids pay for their own food, clothing, medical expenses and housing. Then in spite of all the health and mental problems they'd have from malnutrition, disease, and exposure they would be sooo appreciative. We'd be doing them a big favor I guess.

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#122
In reply to #114

Re: What If America Had Free University?

05/06/2009 8:32 PM

It is not my data. If you really want to know more, start with a critical look at public schools.

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