Here’s the preamble to the series…
What a surprise- not! A new study (based upon US Bureau of Census data) has reported that folks who go to college earn $ 1 million more than those who don’t. No, not in one year, silly- over their lifetimes. Which comes to about $ 25K a year. Moreover, this data has been around for at least 40 years- because I knew these facts back when I was teaching.
I have lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia for some 40 years now. And, over the past decade, the educational budget has been cut and cut and cut. Oh, it’s not just the Commonwealth. Michigan, California, New York… I could go on. Overall, our 50 states have averaged a 23% drop in funding from the Great Recession through 2013- and the precipitous drop is only accelerating. It used to be that these states all provided outstanding college education and experiences to the students of their states. But, not anymore.
I was reading about a “new” program being started at Lehigh University and Delaware. This program lets students pursue their own projects with no set curriculum for some of their education. Lehigh is calling their program “Mountaintop”, where the students request equipment and advice- but get to choose the concept they wish to devote a term or two to achieve. The underlying premise is that research, work experience, and independent long-term projects tend to foster innovation, collaboration, persistence- and amplify the knowledge the students have acquired in previous classes.