Cow Beh Cow Bu

Academic Success Doesn’t Necessarily Guarantee Success in the School of Life

Stevie Wander: Not exactly the apple of any teachers' eye

Stevie Wander: Not exactly the apple of any teachers’ eye

TATTLER: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are two glaring examples of how to be successful without benefit of a university degree. Forbes magazine published a list of college-dropout billionaires on March 11, 2009 and noted that the average net worth of billionaires who dropped out of college, $9.4 billion, is approximately triple that of billionaires with Ph.D.s, $3.2 billion. Then again, what is the purpose of education?

John Goodlad (“In Praise of Education”, Teachers College Press, 1997) wrote that educational stimuli stirs and prods the maturing individual to engage in a process or self-transcendence from narcissism to identify with and assume responsibility for humankind and for all species of flora and fauna

on which humankind’s own survival depends. Quite a mouthful to say that it’s better to stop and smell the flower bouquet than swipe the free toothpicks from a restaurant table.

The journey of education, he said, is endangered by alternatives lushly advertised in travel folders that offer more and earlier self-gratification for less discipline and sacrifice. We see that in our variant of meritocracy, where an 18 year old has his path to obscene wealth chartered by the type of scholarship he is anointed with. Never mind if the skillset calls for obfuscation and dereliction of accountability, the legions of minions can always be counted upon to be exploited to the hilt.

The contention that education is a moral endeavor is a frightening prospect for these people. Goodlad cites the British philosopher John White, who believes there are moral positions that should be made available to everyone in a democratic society, such as fairness, caring, justice, equality and community. Tragedy is a leadership populated by amoral individuals.

It is obvious that education has been corrupted to lesser ends than guiding the delicate process of self transcendence. No wonder the discussion of education is tainted by discourses of starting pay and competitive salaries. Society has no room for ruminations about higher aspirations when the earthy needs of affordable housing, transportation and job security are not met.

 

This story was written by Tattler.

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