Not Ready for College LO7071

Michael Erickson (
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 06:29:22 -0700

Replying to LO7049 --

re: Who will we have to hire in 10 years?...

I would like to take issue with the assumption that the low math/english
scores make students not suitable for college. I was one of "those" when
I went to college. I arrived at this condition because my parents moved
me thru 16 schools in 8 years, so I lacked continuity and ended up a
social outcast because I couldn't cope with all the local what's "in"
today at (or in) our little world. You know--all that teanage "stuff"
that you end up having to deal with that really doesn't have anything to
do with reality, but seems to be a big deal at the time. (cars, girls,

What saved me was my reading ability, my curiosity, and my vision for my
future. I am an illustrator.cartoonist. I learned my trade-on my own. My
college experience has had very little to do with my work-except that the
record of it appears on my resume and certain people judge me as being
either somewhat responsible, or other wise worth considering because I've
jumped thru that particular hoop.

It's true that I had trouble in college. I recieved 2 F's in the first
semester because I couldn't deliver the required term papers. Not because
I couldn't write... but because I did write and discovered after 4 or 5
pages that I didn't have a point. Thinking my paper had to have a point
or a message caused me to re-write those papers many times before I
admitted defeat-only to discover that had I rambled on for another page or
so-I could have delivered them and been accepted as having completed the
assignment. I thought that I lacked the thinking skills. I discovered
that my thinking skills got in the way.

I've been reading most of the entries in this discussion about the state
of education-and I have to side with those who propose that our system is
not actually about becoming educated, it seems to be about socialization
and the learning of certain academic processes, like how to present an
idea, how to research, how to look good. While these are not bad things,
they are also not the heart of the matter of making the most of the real

Having been something of a "lost child" in my college days, I found many
instructors to be quite predjudiced toward me. I came to college looking
for a mentor (or two) to help me figure out how to become "un-lost" and
get my life moving. I later discovered that I had to do all that on my
own (and am happy to report it is moving along quite nicely). I looked a
little scruffy and disorganized and most of the academics dismissed me as
a waste of their valuable time-a mistake I now refuse to make with those
that cross my path.

While my low math/english skills impacted my performance in college, It
neither made or broke me. Now, working in a high tech business
environment, I discover that those who have high math and english skills
most often don't have anything to say (to write about) and adding up
numbers doesn't solve our business problems. Having a vision does.
Having an awareness of reality does... Being able to see what is before
ones eyes and make decisions does make a difference, does give you
something to say and does matter in the long run. I can always borrow one
of those folks who have high math/english skills to check my spelling and
grammer, or check my figures. What I find hard is getting them to help me

If you have something to do with education, help your students see
reality. Show them the history of the world, and the path the human race
has taken through all the wars, famines, epidemics and just plain
foolishness we've inflicted on ourselves. Help them appreciate quality
and craftsmanship teach them to care about each other and to work
together. These are far more critical than adding numbers or pushing
words around.

These make the corporation, business and community of our future live for
the better and grow towards a civilization that is truly civil and worth
participating in.

The 3 (or 4) "R's" are usefull tools. Really good tools to have by the
way, but not a replacement for respect, honesty, love (or "like" if you
will) dependability, and the willingness to get the work done. I can
teach (and have taught) people to read or figure-and it's fairly easy to
do. Let's spend our energy improving the core skills and our students
will fill in to "tools" part of the puzzle on their own.

Michael Erickson
*******He will fit right in******

-- (Michael Erickson)

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