Sunday, May 12, 2013

Is College Worth It? by William Bennett

The former U.S. Secretary of Education, William Bennett has a new book out, Is College Worth It?
He says that "only 150 of 3500 of U.S. Colleges are worth it." In the top 10 are
  1. Harvey Mudd
  2. Cal Tech
  3. MIT
  4. Stanford
  5. Princeton
  6. Harvard
  7. Dartmouth
  8. Duke
  9. University of Pennsylvania
  10. Notre Dame
The University of Washington is 86. Northwestern is 146.

Yes, to get into one of the big name universities is important and your future is almost guaranteed with a big salary and opportunities. Competition is high but some students buy their way into the top 10 with family name and money.

I believe strongly that it is always important to get as much education as possible and to keep learning. To discourage students from going to college, if they can't get into the top 150 and give up is wrong. There is online free learning. There are libraries. There is on the job training. There are always ways to learn and grow. Getting an education, the way that is possible for the student is better than not getting an education. Becoming literate, learning as much as you can so you can be a responsible citizen is important to the global community.

Mr. Bennett said that it is important to pick a degree that will be useful in the marketplace and I agree. He has a degree in philosophy and even though it usually doesn't translate into the best degree choice, Mr. Bennett did well for himself.

I think that the individual who is intelligent and has passion for learning will do well no matter where he went to college. Believe in yourself. Work hard to be the best you can be. Keep learning to find new answers and solutions to the problems around you.

Going to college is very expensive in the United States. Interesting that Europe manages to maintain a free university system for those who are able to compete and maintain a higher quality of education.

I think that the most important thing that parents can do is to assume the responsibility of being the most important teacher in their child's life, make sure that their child is ahead of the class in all subjects, is socially adjusted with friends, active in sports so their mind and body are strong, eat healthy, and to be the best parent they can be by listening, supporting, teaching independence within the safety net of the family, expose them to travel, the zoo, aquarium, plays, the arts, and music. Not every family is musical but there is a high correlation between math and music and success in school. Introducing a musical instrument early is important but the practice is equally important that needs to continue for years. Since this is tricky since not all kids want this path, exposure is better than nothing. Since children mimic and watch closely what their parents do, it is important that you show enthusiasm for learning and make sure your behavior and words do not conflict with this main goal.

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