Drones

No, not the mechanical flying kind. They are cool, but I’m thinking about the worker bees, or the mass of individuals in the ant hills. The drones maintain the structure of their societies. It’s imperative that the drones exist, even if they are sometimes sacrificed for the sake of their communities.

First, it might be useful to look at the YouTube video at the following link…

It’s a TedTalk link of Sir Ken Robinson on the topic of “Do schools kill creativity?” He doesn’t ask a question unless he already believes he has the answer. It’s a very funny, yet sad, 20 minute talk. He really believes that even the best art colleges failed at fostering creativity, and the reason has everything to do with how the schools are funded, and the strings that are attached to that funding.

I’ve dedicated 40+ years of my life to higher education and I must agree with his statements. Colleges are successful, but only if you look at completion rates, and job placements. Colleges have morphed into institutions that provide society with workers, but not necessarily educated citizens.

Our understanding of the definition of “being educated” has not kept up with the changes that our colleges have faced. Most of our classic novels mentions “going to college” for different reasons that are currently used. In fact, the first universities in Bologna, Italy and Paris, France are vastly different today than what was stated in their first charters.

Being educated for nearly a thousand years meant that you studied under a “master” teacher, well schooled in the classic disciplines. And the purpose of the education was to create citizens that appreciated art, science, history and languages , and that reflected the growth of mankind, “the rebirth of our humanity.” It is not an accident that the Renaissance came soon after the creation of universities.

Robinson makes the statement that today’s colleges have only two missions; to provide drones for the corporations is the majority, the second is to provide future teachers for the colleges that teach the drones for corporations. At the very top there are researchers, but even the researchers are motivated by the profits made by their discoveries. It is as if colleges do not the need to teach the finer points of humanity. We have already arrived. We have achieved that goal, now we need to focus on making a living.

A college education wasn’t meant for the masses, it was meant for the leaders, the 1% of the 1%. The guilds and trades councils took on the training of apprentices destined to work in industry. Things had to change when education became possible for a population that wasn’t meant to have higher thoughts. Colleges just replaced the guilds. That way the “higher thoughts” are protected from the masses. The trappings of a college education were gifted to the ever expanding need to have more drones.

The hard numbers

In 2020-2021 there were:

880,000 associate degrees

2,000,000 bachelor’s

800,000 master’s

200,000 doctorates

Almost 4 million “educated” drones per year.

And the expectation is that the numbers will be slightly higher for the next ten years.

Robinson is fearful that creativity will almost disappear from colleges and our society.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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4 Responses to Drones

  1. rangerdon – Teacher, photographer, Ranger, writer. Author, THE LIFE AND TRUTH OF GEORGE R. STEWART. Father, grandfather. Wanderer
    rangerdon says:

    Nice essay, John. Can’t figure out how to like it, though, so consider this a like.

    Your focus on education is compelling. Much of my new book also deals with that: STEAM, not STEM, is the key to an enlightened society. So is teaching or education as compared to training. You have here given some important insights, and they’ll be helpful in the writing. Sadly, our friend Uncle Joe is no more in favor of education than was the trumpanzee in charge, but at least he’d nicer. So it’s up to folks like us to carry on.

    • johndiestler – Lafayette, California – Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
      johndiestler says:

      Thanks, Sir Ken Robinson has another talk that is about an hour long, there is another that is graphically animated that is outstanding. When I was teaching, I shared this short one. I didn’t get a response. When I became art department chair a few years later, I presented it in a department meeting. Crickets! Oh well, horse to the well, but not drinking.

    • johndiestler – Lafayette, California – Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
      johndiestler says:

      I tried to get our STEM people interested in STEAM, you would think that I was stealing the budgets that they hoped to get. I see all these signs “Science is real”, but only humanity makes it meaningful.

    • johndiestler – Lafayette, California – Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
      johndiestler says:

      I can’t find the interview, but a bright MIT star, said that it was the liberal arts education that made his MIT study worthwhile.

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