Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Standards

An excerpt from the 1891 entrance examination for Cornell University has been posted online (pages 15-17).  (HT: T-19) See also the full entrance exam from 1889 here. (Thanks to a blog reader via email.)

It seems to me that the state of education in this country is largely a product of the egalitarian idiocy that has become predominant in the post World War II era. People wonder why a college education is not worth what a high school education was a half century ago. Standards have fallen so dramatically that it is shocking. In those days if you didn't know the material you were not passed from one grade to the next, and you were not graduated from high school. Of course back then it was not presumed that everyone had a “right” to go to college, or that everyone should. As a general rule, dolts and the otherwise functionally illiterate were not admitted to college.

This may also go hand in hand with the disparagement of honest labor that while not requiring a college education, is not for novices or the unskilled. Once upon a time, being a plumber, electrician, carpenter etc would have been regarded as an honorable and good paying job worthy of some respect. For the record, they still pay pretty well, often better than jobs requiring a four year degree. But today, too many college students seem to look down their nose at that kind of work as being only for those who couldn't cut it. When in fact only a very small percentage of those with supposedly advanced degrees could pass the entrance exam linked above.

The real problem with egalitarianism is that it rarely seems to involve pulling one group of people, or standards, up. It always seems to involve pulling people and standards down.

4 comments:

CJ said...

My father-in-law spent less than a semester in college before realizing that it wasn't for him. He worked 30 years for the sewer district, bought a house and put 3 kids through college. The fact that his sort of work is less esteemed than that of a cubicle-dwelling paper-pusher is ridiculous. I bet he would've had more success writing contract that they would have dealing with a backed up sewer.

kayemigart said...

bingo

The Anti-Gnostic said...

John - since you've not opened comments at your other post I am taking the liberty of commenting here. It is a waste of time to direct your readers to comment at Beeler's site as more often than not he will not let the comment through. In my 50-year old senescence, it took me a little while to figure out that all the disjointed remarks in italics were conversations from elsewhere, after he gets frustrated and runs back to his own hugbox. He seems to be doubling down on anti-Orthodoxy since poor +Benedict concluded he was just too elderly and frail for the coming fight. Now that +Francis of Lampedusa is on the throne, all we hear is the Pope doesn't matter, it's really the Bishops in synod, the Curia-what's that, etc.

The Roman Catholic Church is in the beginning stages of a long and bitter quadrangular struggle, so it's understandable that Beeler feels a bit of buyer's remorse and compensates by lashing out at his former Church.

Patrick Kelly said...

"...... lashing out at his former Church."

Ok, this explains it. I was a bit more than perplexed by his tone and rhetoric. This is the first time I've seen that page.

I understand some frustration with some converts from more fundamentalist, evangelical sects, I are one. My initial reaction was of some indignant anger, but now just some sadness.