For me, readingTime Magazine‘s discovery (below) that there is a learning crisis in higher education recalls Spengler’s Hegel-inspired maxim, “The Owl of Minerva begins her flight at dusk”: Wisdom ascends on the ashes of cultural collapse. In The Prince, Machiavelli likens practical wisdom to the doctor’s skill at diagnosis. The wise doctor recognizes the disease early on, when, in its incipient state, it is easier to cure. Anyone can recognize a disease once it’s progressed, but by the time that it’s easy to diagnose it’s correspondingly more difficult to cure. Spengler suggests that culture is like a bad doctor.
Reports on what supposedly educated Americans know—and more sensationally, don’t know—come along fairly regularly, each more depressing than the last.
A survey of recent college graduates commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and conducted by GfK Roper last year found that barely half knew that the U.S. Constitution establishes the separation of powers. Forty-three percent failed to identify John Roberts as Chief Justice; 62% didn’t know the correct length of congressional terms of office.
Higher education has never been more expensive—or seemingly less demanding.According to the 2011 book Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, full-time students in 1961 devoted 40 hours per week to schoolwork and studying; by 2003 that had declined to 27 hours. And even those hours may not be all that effective: the book also notes that 36% of college graduates had not shown any significant cognitive gains over four years. According to data gathered by the Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’sMarketplace, half of employers say they have trouble finding qualified recent college graduates to hire. READ MORE HERE