Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Education vs. Business

My grandmother was a teacher, and I was a good student as well as the favorite of a number of teachers. When I came to America, my classmates told me that academic knowledge counted for nothing, and that the only thing that mattered in life was social skills and common sense.

We appear to have a conflict of values between the business world and education establishments. Both can find all sorts of ways to be jerks. I have a former classmate in Russia who reports vicious abuse against her by the teachers. I also know a number of talented people who got treated very badly either in the business world or by businessman spouses. I have seen abuses on both sides, with greater abuses in the Soviet Union on the part of educators and greater abuses in America on the part of business.

Since education is identified with the government - and America is full of anti-government sentiment - teachers in America are at a great disadvantage and find it difficult to do their jobs. The student in America who takes school seriously gets attacked for it by other students. Meanwhile the parents drive around with bumper stickers that say "My son beat up your honor student" and keep howling about them damn liberal elites in the academia and them damn Commie know-it-all nerds.

Since teaching - and academic world - do not pay very much, the people driven by monetary interest avoid the professions. This means that the bulk of people in these fields are liberals. Conservatives rarely venture into these fields, so they do the next best thing: howl about them damn liberals and damn commies in the schools and the academia brainwashing their children. This blame-placing behavior contradicts the stated values of conservatism. There will always be need for education. If they want greater influence in education, they will motivate more conservatives to seek employment in the field.

When Pat Robertson goes on about universities teaching the students hostile ideologies instead of Christian values, he is lying. The university is precisely the place to find out about other cultures and other ways of life. These students will be dealing with people from other countries in their business careers, and if they know about their ways of life they will be able to deal with them more competently. Nor is there anything anti-Christian about these universities. Every major university has a theology department, and a student who wants to expand his understanding of Christianity can take a theology class. It is however much easier to howl about liberal elites than it is to produce knowledge; and this is what we see from such people.

Should the business world and the education world remain at loggerheads with each other? I do not see why this should be necessary. Use academic intelligence to explain and advance business, and use business money to advance science, learning and culture. And in this arrive at an arrangement that makes the best of both worlds. Seek what Steven Covey calls 3rd alternative: Synergy. And achieve the greatest benefit of both business and education.


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