Charging for an Artificial Distinction: “Going” to “College”

Charging for an Artificial Distinction: “Going” to “College” March 20, 2019
If you went to college after an excellent high school or sent your children to a very good high school, you both may have experienced this:
“College is easier than our high school!”
Some high schools are proud to hear this, but since most of these students are borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to attend, there should be less pride and more concern about quality. After all, if grossly unqualified rich kids can get into Ivy quality schools through fraud and graduate with good grades (!), what does that say?
Nobody scams into MIT or any good mathematics major, because the student would not last. The lack of preparation would show and failure would be (nearly) certain. Doesn’t this suggest that much of college education, even at our “best” schools, is shambolic and soft? Before doing anything else, a parent or educator should ask: “Why maintain the present system?”
The idea that one should go to school for sixteen years and that this should be broken up between several different institutions is an accident of history and technology. There may have been a time when library resources (for example) needed to do a decent undergraduate level education could only be collected in a few places.
This is no longer true.
There may have been a time where there were too few humanities professors to push college education out into many communities that are now without colleges.
This is no longer true.
There may have been a time when we had to rend younger folk from their communities, creating intellectual deserts in some urban and rural areas.
This is no longer true.
Instead, realizing that much of what they once had to do no longer needs to be done in the cost-inefficient way, we can think in a new way. We don’t need semi-professional sports teams to educate, massive administrative super-structures to teach virtues, or small campus compounds cut off from actual cities to educate.
You can tell this is true when university administrators begin selling “the full college experience” instead of education. The education does not need their 1950’s infrastructure, bloated by 1970’s government policies. We do not need debt. Instead, we can think differently and push education back to professors and de-professionalize many of the tasks that have become “educational” careers.
Perhaps we have created a “rite of passage” that no longer functions well as a general education or preparation for citizenship and virtue.
What if many of the tasks of high school and college were integrated?

Our school offers dual enrollment classes on site from ninth grade forward in areas where students are able to do the work. We avoid needless repetition in the curriculum. Classical Christian schools should consider not cooperating with colleges and universities that loath their values, do not share their curriculum, or have models that are debt driven.

We found an excellent set of potential partners. Schools all over the country can do the same. Let’s stop subsidizing small colleges with more vice-presidents than faculty in entire departments! Classical Christian schools can and should offer entire degree programs on site.

Let’s offer as many paths to mechanical arts as possible. We began with gardening and husbandry at our School, but will not stop there. Let’s set up apprenticeship programs in many fields that lead to lifelong skills. All of this must take place in a diverse, open community that is accountable globally.
A connection to a global church group helps. Being in an urban environment helps. Most of all, send students out of the classroom into the workplace, city, public museums, libraries, and social spaces as much as possible. The classical Christian school is not a compound (those become insular and inbred), but a hub for activities and guidance that is open to the community.
The classical Christian college and school must be part of the political, social, and educational life of the broader culture in which she is found. In this way, our campus can be the city, our professors a core we hire and a broad community, and our mission producing brilliant citizens for the republic and fit subjects for the Kingdom of Heaven.
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*Graduate education is different and not addressed here. This post is based on a series of questions from a graduate student for a research project.

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