Your Opinion: Goal-oriented education expands

Dear Editor:

Designed, among other goals, to reduce the cost of education and to accelerate completion of a college degree, planning for the Central Missouri Innovation Campus is raising hopes that students will be able to complete a bachelor degree in under three years and to graduate debt-free. Nothing has been printed about accreditation. Now in the planning stage, the program proposes to enroll students in the spring of 2013. If long-range planning this is, planning of this sort often works best in the short term.

Education is an investment, and investors are urged to due diligence, in this case, perhaps, to recall that decisions are to be made because they are right, not because they are cheap. By the final year of the past century, nearly three-quarters of freshmen surveyed reported that securing a good job and the ability to make more money were prime reasons to attend college.

Traditional educational priorities, one might say, have taken second place, behind the needs and demands of the corporate world. As some say, goods have taken the place of Good, not only in educational theory but as a national priority as well. No longer do we as a society think of formal education as having a formative effect on the way we think and act and feel. As an old southern evangelist used to put it: not how to live but how to make a living. And so schools, in reasoning of this sort, have become adjuncts to the labor market. Goal-orientation has become a euphemism for vocational education.

And here we are: hopes placed in an educational institution called Central Missouri Innovation Campus; a conduit to degree-granting institutions, itself lacking, apparently, accreditation for its means of accruing college credit; underwritten by a million-dollar state grant; its foundation, essentially, in vocational, not in academic, education; and planned, largely, not by academicians, but by a Chamber of Commerce.

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