Rick and Monique

Friday, September 21, 2007

Liberal Arts Education

Recently I wrote about how surprised I am that our young couples who grew up CRC do not know much about their bibles nor their Doctrine and Theology. I said that a church that surrounds it self with everything Christian from Education to Potlucks, should be bursting at the seams! I can't understand what's happening. Well the answers lies, in part, to the point that students in Christian Schools are not learning according to the methods set by the educational powers that be many years ago.

I read a blog written by a professor at Dordt College who believes that our colleges and universities are catering to the students desires and less to their needs...in essence, they're being run more like businesses and less like educational institutions. They are catering to the customer. Ivy League Schools and other more secular institutions are able to retain their more rounded educational system because they take in millions upon millions in donations every year. A small College such as Dordt College has to infuse a more attractive bent in order to keep its doors open...at least that's what it believes it must do.

It used to be that a Liberal Arts College would give a balanced view of education, forming our talents in Philosophy, Religion, Doctrine, English etc. so that we could adequately and Spiritually form our skills in business, marketing, science and mathematics.

Conversely, and somewhat Ironically based on my opinion today (I went to a "Dutch" College), the Dutch system of education puts students on a specific "track" very early on in life and the student pursues a way of life well before college training. The Dutch have done well with this system and I can see the benefit of niche education...tailoring education toward the specifics of your future career, where most of the classes students take point them in that direction. However, they know less about God than we do...a symptom of their "Niche" Education?

The following is the comment I made to the professor's blog (not exactly verbatim, but close)..."I find that the newly educated in our churches cannot spell out their doctrine, do not know what they believe (infant baptism for instance), do not know their scriptures, cannot debate a good philosophical argument, and cannot articulate their abstract thoughts in writing. I think these key elements guide the rest of your choices in business and otherwise. I wish higher learning were more about these things."

1 comment:

MikeHoss said...

Rick I couldn't agree with your more.

I think the purpose of college education it's about learning facts and regurgitating it back on the exam. Instead it's about teaching you how to think.

Perhaps I'm sensitive to this because I work in technology and have a computer science degree. Let's face it -- technology changes too fast for anyone to keep up with . A good computer science department doesn't teach you too many specifics ("This is how Microsoft Windows works . . .") but talks in generalities ("This is how most operating systems work . . . "). Then when you are out of school, you can think critically about your chosen, fast-paced field. When the next Big Programming Language appears, you can grab a book, learn it in your spare time, and you are done.

Of course, that isn't reality. Industry expects graduates to come out fully knowledgeable in their field and complain to schools. So schools did the Bad Thing -- taught specifics, but left out all theory. So when things change, these new graduates are left in the dark.

I think that colleges and universities are not only becoming more and more like businesses, but also being ruled by them. Big companies can give large amounts of money to a program, but then they feel that they can dictate what happens after that money is given.

So instead of our future being planned in grade school, it's being chosen for us by the corporate sponsors of our school of choice. I'd rather chose it myself, thank you very much.