Elitist? Moi?

More Onion editorial cartoons

Here is a story on a poll that found Kitsap residents want access to higher ed classes, but aren’t interested in a traditional college experience here.

This brings up a few questions I have about alternative educational facilities, “university centers” or branch campuses, which are gaining in popularity and enrollment.

But beware, what you are about to read has earned me accusations of elitism. So, get your tomatoes ready.

To me, it seems like it’s lowering the bar. It sounds condescending, like a second tier system, and I would point the same accusations of elitism right back at my accusers.

I went to Seattle Central Community College. At Central, as we called it, I had many classmates from Bremerton, Bainbridge and North Kitsap. One, a friend of mine, a Running Start student, would hitchhike everyday from Suquamish to the Bainbridge ferry terminal to ride to Seattle.

So, why would so many students double or triple their commute time to attend what ostensibly are the same classes?

Could it possibly have to do with the diversity of the student body at an urban campus?

Could that mean there is more to an education than a building, a teacher and a book?

At the time, I assumed there wasn’t a community college in that green land that appears on the other side of the Puget Sound.

There is, of course, Olympic College.

When I started at UW under the direct transfer agreement, I had a lot of catching up to do. The papers that earned A’s at Seattle Central barely registered C’s in 200 level literature classes. It had a tinge of embarrassment to it, considering all the people in my classes were younger, smarter, prettier and richer than me.

And that leads to my second question.

I had quite a few outstanding teachers. But the occasions that I had my mind blown, the times where the sky opened up and suddenly the dense text made sense, was not from something I read in a book or something a teacher said during a lecture, but what another student said during a class discussion.

This seems counterintuitive, I know. We’re led to think that it is the quality of the teacher or the curriculum that determines our success in the classroom. What about the quality of our fellow students?

Third, isn’t a university education supposed to be horribly difficult and monstrously inconvenient? Isn’t that the point, that it isn’t easy? Isn’t that what gives even the lowliest bachelor’s degree in underwater basket weaving some prestige, because going through the ringer sucks so consistently?

I won’t regale you with the hardships of my educational experience, but they weren’t unique. I had classmates who endured more. Some were single parents, military vets, disabled people, older people, younger people, people from different ethnicities, from households that didn’t speak English and some people who were wrestling with horrible addictions and mental health issues.

At UW and the real universities we got ourselves admitted to, many of us stuck out like sore thumbs. We were older, fatter and harrier than the spry kids.

It was hard, very hard, and I had many occasions for exasperation and despair.

Some of my classmates didn’t make it. Most went on and did amazing things, and when I think about them, and what they’ve achieved, I get a little misty eyed.

And my final question, do our leaders think those of us without a silver spoon in our mouths aren’t capable of competing with their sons and daughters? Are we so sorry and in need of pity that instead of (1) reforming public schools so that high school graduates are prepared for jobs, (2) funding higher education at the level it was subsidized when our leaders went to college so that taking out a college loan isn’t tantamount to indentured servitude and (3) allowing financially independent young people to be evaluated on their own incomes, it is preferable for Olympia to just lower the bar, keep jacking up tuitions and continue to say it believes in higher education?

I’d also like to know how many of our leaders who support these feel good education alternatives would support their children going to a community college for four years.

If it’s just as good, then Harvard and MIT, watch out.

8 thoughts on “Elitist? Moi?

  1. Face it Andy, the Kitsap community only wants to pay for cops, prisons & plazas. At least if you gauge it on what the representatives seem to vote on.

  2. “…instead of (1) reforming public schools so that high school graduates are prepared for jobs, (2) funding higher education at the level it was subsidized when our leaders went to college so that taking out a college loan isn’t tantamount to indentured servitude and (3) allowing financially independent young people to be evaluated on their own incomes, it is preferable for Olympia to just lower the bar, keep jacking up tuitions and continue to say it believes in higher education?…”

    Good questions.
    I knew sisters who were sent through college by a program through welfare and they became good tax payers, not tax takers.
    One sister’s degree sent her to the U for her first job and possibly retired by now.

    College and technology/trade school costs should be tax supported or low cost for ALL students able to maintain a predetermined grade level and other reasonable criteria.

    Speaking of opportunities lost for kids based on parent income…I know of a boy having difficulties growing up but luckily was taken under the ‘wing’ of a neighbor affiliated with the local Parks Department.

    The boy loved the outdoors, plants, mowing…anything to do with being outside and learning. He was an enthusiastic student and worker.

    The neighbor told the boy that he could work in the park and encouraged him to apply for a program placing such kids into parks during the season.
    The boy looked forward to the experience but it turned out he was ineligible for the program..his parents made too much money.
    Sharon O’Hara

  3. Andy, I know this is off topic, but November is COPD month.

    Take comfort that less than 20 % smokers will get COPD although about 85 % COPDers are/were smokers.

    For early detection a base Spirometry test should be a part of every yearly physical examination for smokers and anyone short of breath.

    No doubt Harrison Medical Center will have an exciting public educational event planned.
    I know this is off topic and you can toss it but the KS doesn’t have a health information Blog…and this message is too important …so here it is.

    …”…NOVEMBER IS COPD AWARENSS MONTH
    World COPD Day – November 19, 2008

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also referred to as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 12 million Americans diagnosed with the disease. Perhaps even more troubling is how often COPD goes undiagnosed. A serious and progressive lung disease that constricts the airways, COPD makes it difficult for patients to breathe. Although there is no cure for COPD, it is a preventable disease, most often caused by long-term smoking.

    The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) is committed to building awareness about COPD. To show its commitment, the ACCP supports several COPD initiatives and has developed numerous resources to help physicians who treat patients with COPD and to help patients understand their disease. The ACCP also partners with government, industry, health-care, patient, and community groups to promote issues related to COPD. …”
    http://www.chestnet.org/copd/

    Sharon O’Hara

  4. college? yeah, go ahead and keep spending thousands for worthless pieces of paper. I prefer my method. Spend thousands to attend the prestigious A College of Smrt University (no, not THAT acsu), find out what a crock college is, drop out, spend $80 (plus $40 a year give or take)and take a quick and easy test to join Mensa, thereby gaining a much broader range of bragging rights.
    “I majored in psychology,” says a phdude.
    “oh yeah, I’m in Mensa,” (while smacking Mensa card in phdudes face)
    “psychologize that buddy.”
    Seriously though, employers should administer their own qualification tests rather than relying on the word of some institute that’s more interested in maximizing their student body in order to get some government cheese than ensuring their alumni’s continued worth in whatever field of study they’ve chosen.

  5. “…employers should administer their own qualification tests …..”

    Good points but when did employers stop?
    Sharon O’Hara

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