An Educated Person
A while back, blogger Starr Sackstein took a whack a two part question-- has the definition of an educated person changed, and should our education delivery system change with it. My gut reaction, my visceral answer, is "Not really, and not really." But I didn't really have anything to back up my gut, so I've been mulling over this for a while. What were my viscera thinking when they passed along this answer.
Part of my reaction is to some embedded assumptions that Sackstein includes in the question. She contemplates the twelve years of education in various disciplines, and then pivots to larger questions:
Upon successful completion of high school, being "educated" meant a student went to a college of his/her choosing to major in a subject area that would yield a respectable job and potentially go on to higher education to ensure relevancy in his/her career path.
Students in my generation and earlier generations did this dutifully, if being "educated" was a value they or their families' held.
I'm not sure I buy this narrative, particularly if we go back a few generations. High schools only really caught on during the period between 1910 and 1940 (ish). You can find a variety of numbers, but the basic pattern is evident-- in 1910 only about 20% of US teens were enrolled in high school, and only about half of those finished. The Depression kicked the crap out of high school education, with teachers widely unemployed and many school districts simply shutting down. By 1940, high school attendance was still far, far short of 100%.
And if we're talking about college education, while it's stylistically appropriate for Sackstein to use "his/her," in 1947 barely half a million women went to college. In 1970, roughly a third of all CURMUDGUCATION: An Educated Person: