State of General Educ LO7081

Virginia I. Shafer (
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 09:52:32 -0700 (MST)

Replying to LO7038 --

Ram commented on comments made by Ivan:

>And when I look at it from your viewpoint some questions come up ?
> * What is the alternative ?
> * How do we ensure that the freedom is not abused ? Are we
> equipped to do it ?
>I think instead of "shocking the system", let us work towards improving on
>what is existing and then build "The NEW" around it.

I have a friend who is working diligently to produce the future for higher
education. I have his permission to share some of his thoughts with you.

>Knowledge acquisition is not education, but education facilitates
>knowledge acquisition. Anyone who views some degree as a certificate
>to be auctioned to providers of paychecks to justify receiving such
>paychecks wants life experience counted and anything else that
>yields the paycheck. A knowledge acquisition certificate, if it
>existed, is something I would support, and for that I frankly do
>not care where the knowledge was acquired, even if a person never
>went to any school at all. That is the short view of education, and
>it is sufficient and useful as far as it goes. In a sense it is
>training. To that extent, too many universities function as advanced
>vocational training institutions with attitudes. Graduates of such
>programs or institutions become funtionaries, tools of a machinery -
>they represent the "factors of production". They are the survivors
>of "multiple choice testing procedures" to qualify them.
>An education is something alltogether different. It transforms the
>person itself. It involves disciplined inquiry, a holistic, structured
>and disciplined approach to learning and the integration of that
>learning into a holistic view of the world and Man. It is a deeply
>human experience, not only one of the mind or intellect.
>If we like our world, our society, our life and if we are satisfied
>with the meaning and purpose of life as we now have it, then we
>should be grateful to universities, for they produced the leaders
>that brought us to this point. And if we are wondering about the
>state of affairs in this world, in our societies and if we wonder
>about the content and meaning of our lives and are concerned with
>the future, we should thank the same institutions and for the same
>Personally, I think that Universities have become factors of production
>themselves, industries of sorts. They crank out graduates who become
>our leaders, and have for a long time, and what we have today we
>accomplished under their stewardship. If we want the same kind of
>leaders they produced, by all means, lets increase production.
>I prefer to think that we need educated people, and that means
>"whole" people. They look beyond their craft to the purpose of
>applying it within a greater scheme of things. They make Life and
>the content of Life and its meaning part of the "doing" of living.
>We need "educated" people. If we are dissatisfied with education,
>it is because we use the "trained" minds to run universities and
>not so much the "educated" minds. We are dissatisfied with many
>things because of the multiple choice graduates which run our
>institutions and organizations rather than educated people who are
>more circumspect.
>As we look to the future which we cannot put on hold until we get
>our act together, the pragmatic Demming of TQM fame comes to mind
>who says:
>If you always do what you always did you always get what you always got.
>And so it is with education as we know it. So, if we like where
>we are, lets do more of it and just focus on doing it cheaper, easier,
>faster. But there is always the "On the other hand ..."

I will forward to him any comments you share.


Ginger Shafer The Leadership Dimension "Bringing Leadership to Life"

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>