So I went to a competitive and highly ranked private school for undergrad and now for graduate school I'm at a public school which is strong in my field but whose undergrad population isn't exactly made up of the cream of the crop... Granted there are some kids here who are smart as fuck but I've never had to deal with students who don't even put in a single iota of effort to learn the material. No, 4 minus 6 does not equal to zero, maybe at least give your answers a cursory glance before you email me in a panic as to why you're not getting the expected result??? If you can't do arithmetic maybe you shouldn't be in college.
Dealing with students people who just lack overall curiosity / drive to learn and who lack basic problem solving skills just make me want to impale my head onto the nearest wooden fence post. Or maybe I'm just a shitty lecturer idk lol.
Also, the realization that the VAST majority of science published today is the work of overworked, underpaid, underfed grad students with (often) minimal input from professors is honestly more than a little unsettling.
^ I've TAd for classes ranging from intro to upper divs, and the discrepancy in effort is palpable. I'm not making the claim that EVERYONE who goes to a highly ranked private university has more drive or whatever but I would say that they are much more predisposed to it while from what I've seen the students here are much more hit and miss. Warning: edit: response to who:(Click to show)
I definitely share your sentiment about the increase of a bachelor's as a 'minimum requirement' in traditional jobs. imo critical, systematic issues facing US education are 1. the mentality that everyone is unique and must strive to be the best, stand out, etc. and 2. the lack of ability to properly place students in a fitting academic environment. The first is borne from American exceptionalism, yada yada, but the truth is that, as people have said, university really isn't the right path for some people. The huge stigma associated with trade schools / community colleges also plays into this. And connected to this is the fact that university's filtering systems for their students is downright terrible. There's far too much variance in what students get into where. I've spoken with various admission workers and they've all said that up to a certain degree of precision who gets accepted over someone else is a crapshoot... but the problem is that this degree of precision is very low.
One educational system that has recently been fascinating to me is Singapore's primary / secondary school system. It's almost entirely merit-based, and (this might be the controversial point) students are largely stripped of the idea that they are unique, or DESERVE to go to the #1 school, or whatever. The Singaporean gov't has tried its hardest to reduce variance from socioeconomic status, location, etc. and to focus solely on academic ability. Less buying ones way into college or using connections / legacy. Obviously a parallel between a giant, fragmented state-based nation and what's essentially a city-state is limited, but I still think the Singaporean system is really worth examining. Tangentially linked to this is the idea of personal freedom -- Singaporeans are much more willing to give up personal freedoms for the "greater good." Privacy? I don't care, the gov't can know my name, address, activities, etc. I get socialized healthcare and a gov't healthcare card as a result. Chewing gum is banned? I don't care, I get spotless streets as a result.
But honestly this has strayed a bit from my original point, which wasn't meant to be philosophical in the least, I was just ranting about how directionless, unmotivated people drive me fucking crazy. I'll take a class of dummies any day. lol.