America faces a serious higher education problem. More people are going to college than ever before, yet there is a lack of highly skilled workers. Students are graduating with a wealth of information yet have few real world skills and a mountain of debt to show for their efforts. A recent report from Mcinsey in conjuction with chegg.com found “Employers fret that too many college graduates arrive on the job without having acquired the skills and habits to succeed in the workplace.” Another study from researchers at Georgetown University shows that the economy will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2020. Meanwhile, the rising cost of college and the debt many students and families are expected to incur are raising questions in some quarters about the value of college as an investment, even as critics take aim at the cost structures and traditional practices of colleges and universities in general. The education system needs to be overhauled to remove many of the general education requirements that currently burden students.
The history of american colleges colleges has two parts. According to noted historian David Katz “early american college were more a place where one learned to become a gentleman, than a place of learning.” In fact Benjamin franklin reported that in his youth Harvard had already become a rich mans school, a place where wealthy parents sent their sons to learn nothing more than the social skills of gentlemen (Lucas 1994, p. 109). Due to these non acedemic goals, college consisted mostly of latin, hebrew, history and perhaps a little math. Little thought was put into things of actual relevance to a persons future. Students were being trained to become future leaders.
In his book Higher Educatin and the New Society George Keller quotes historian Laurence Veysey as saying “the decades between 1870 and 1910 witnessed the only genuine ‘academic revolution’ yet to be experienced in the United States.” Colleges began offering classes in things like agriculture, mechanical arts,Engineering. Schools began having a more research focus and began offering Phd degrees. Keller writes that “An annoyed reaction to the growing emphasis on the sciences, research, and graduate and professional schools and in part a strategy to keep many of the ideals of the old-time college alive but without the onerous stress on the classics, the inculcation of religious virtue, and the use of unscholarly faculty. Called the liberal arts or general education, the programs became the bedrock of America’s smaller colleges” (91-92) Due to this backlash America became stuck with general education requirements, the implications of which will be discussed in the coming paragraphs. (paragraph needs a lot of work)
As the twentieth century progressed and unskilled labor became a thing of the past the need for college evolved. General education became less and less...