Our Legislature sees higher education as vocational school.

WGU icon tags!Katherine Long at the Seattle Times reports  that our legislators are likely to pass a bill reducing the time needed for a bachelor’s degree to three years.

Under the  bill,  Degree in Three , Central Washington University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University and The Evergreen State College would  develop  three year programs. The degrees would eliminate courses outside a student’s major. 

This Luddite idea, apparently popular with the politicians, is

My Birthday January 1, 1942

reminiscent of their support for Washington’s Western Governor’s University .. an official part of our system that awards degrees online, based on pass/fail tests and  with no faculty.  

The message seems to be that the our universities are vocational schools.  Obviously we .. that is the companies that employ people and the people who need jobs … need vocational schools.  Vocational education was  once done in high schools.  Now we do that, at much greater expense, in the Community College System.  Does it make sense now to move that effort to the colleges?

The second message seems to me to be that the legislature thinks it ought to dictate to Washington students what they should study.  Put another way, the  Degree in Three or WGU supporters think they know better than the student what ought to be learned.   WGU goes so far as to do away with faculty, eliminating the pesky idea that interactions between scholars and students open up new frontiers.  How sad a place the US would be if Ta- Nehisi Coates   or if Mark Zuckerberg had never been exposed to what was then the unimportant field of computers.

 The third message looks to Europe, noting that European college terms are often shorter than their US equivalents.  The problem here is again our high school system.  Students  in Europe attend “Gymnasium” and graduate two years after their American colleagues. The Gymnasia expect students to achieve much of what we consider college … proficiency in a second language, the ability to write, math skills,history, etc.  put another way, the 18 year old college kid in Berlin is usually far better educated than her American sister in Seattle.


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  1. theaveeditor #


    Cleve Stockmeyer Hmmm…..ok why not two?
    Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    Judie Henderson
    Judie Henderson Some colleges offer the 2-year program if a student graduates from a high school with AP, IB, or high school/AA credits.
    Like · Reply · 20 hrs
    Dana Twight
    Dana Twight That is a good idea, but inequitable right now, due to high schools not offering equivalent programs of study to all students who might qualify. Also, is K-12 funding still jeopardized when a high school student goes to Running Start? i.e the high school loses some per student funding when a student goes to the CC part time.
    Like · Reply · 17 hrs
    Stephen Schwartz

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    Laura Stewart
    Laura Stewart African countries also have 3 year BA’s, Andrew. *
    Like · Reply · 18 hrs

    Andrew J. Lewis replied · 1 Reply
    Alex Clardy
    Alex Clardy I haven’t read the new bill, but this came up in 2011 and the issue was that the legislature wants faculty to come up with new course loads without any funding, and also expected those teachers to continue their current workload.
    Like · Reply · 14 hrs

    Alex Clardy replied · 2 Replies
    Ana Mari Cauce
    Ana Mari Cauce We developed a 3 year degree assuming some AP and got only a few takers.
    Like · Reply · 12 hrs

    Kate Martin replied · 5 Replies · 11 hrs
    Eric Anthony DeBellis
    Eric Anthony DeBellis <--Kid who got BA in 3 years and is not living in a van by the river Like · Reply · 12 hrs