Fantastic article by Steven Pearlstein about fixing higher education (Commentary, “4 ways colleges can cut costs,” Dec. 9).
While I don’t agree with everything, it is generally dead-on in addressing problems at Cal Poly. Meanwhile lately we have local politicians, university administrators and various students supporting exactly the opposite — just more of the same (more awareness classes, counseling, etc.). Considering that students have 12 years of general education before enrolling in a university — and then one third of their university load is dedicated to even more general education — is it possible that the instructors in those realms have been ineffective? Do we need still more of the same?
Some people believe that the primary focus of a polytechnic university (for technical majors) should be to help students become technically proficient for future careers and contributions to society. Some general education is necessary, but Pearlstein nails it when he defines much of it as an “intellectual cop-out.”
The university balance has shifted in the opposite direction. Being mature and not demanding to never have your feelings hurt should also be prerequisites to seeking a university education. If students don’t have those prerequisites, they shouldn’t expect society to fund their remedial education.
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Charles M. Burt, San Luis Obispo