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Angst for the educated


Replies to: Angst for the educated

  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    @LeMaitre: "Fear of mathematics" is not a uniquely American phenomenon; it is found in many other countries as well. Having said that, I am under the impression that, in part because of higher college entrance requirements/selectivity, High School math education in the US has never been as advanced as it is today. Just look for example at the record number of HS juniors/seniors who take AP Calculus.

    In fact, single-variable Calculus is fast becoming a required core curriculum subject even for humanities majors who did not take it in High School, and multivariable Calculus is of course a normally required course for all science/engineering and often even economics majors.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    >>Would liberal arts departments at some universities be forced to shut down due to increasing students going into STEM ?

    Of course not, where would the STEM students who are flunking out go? (That's a JOKE, folks!) Seriously, the demand for liberal arts degrees will remain strong. I just don't see massive shifts to STEM, as good as that would be for the country and the jobs picture.

    As Lemaitre1 notes, liberal arts degrees are good business for colleges - high demand, low cost to deliver.

    One thing that may help mitigate the angst: degree holders are still in a lot better shape than those without degrees. On CNN today, I saw a stat that said the unemployment rate for those with college degrees was just 4.5%, half the national average.
  • ExengineerExengineer Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Anyone who still thinks engineering majors are way better off than liberal arts majors and have no problems finding work should get into the 21st century. North America is in a post-engineering era where most manufacturing is being relocated to China and other low cost countries. There are many engineers, both new and experienced, who are out of work and will never have an engineering position again. There is a lot more competition and job growth is either flat or negative in most engineering fields. I would not recommend any engineering major to a high school student based on what I have seen and experienced. More students would be better off with a skilled trade these days.
  • sptchsptch Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    The German model is now gone. They have started educating the masses. That is why their test scores have dropped. When they were testing only those in Hohschule, their scroes were among the highest in the world. I had 3 foreign exchange students - the first under the German model, and he laughedhis way through his junior year here, and received no credit for it in Germany. The 2 students under our model had to have tutoring in Math. They are both in University there now, and have many chances to retake their course exams (your grade is based on the 1 test) in order to pass. Both have had to repeat courses and retake exams numerous time. The first student is a lawyer, who passed all his exams as they came up.
  • twopencetwopence Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    lol. Didn't know we had a "cultural fear" of math. My own kids took calc 1 in 11th grade and plenty of advance math afterwards. Still wondering where this notion comes from. Certainly, some math classes were taught better than others. In those weak years, we as parents filled in the void. My kids chose engineering (among other reasons) because it was the most rigorous math/physics/science they could get as undergrads.

    Regarding the idea that the US is in a post-engineering phase, I have to wonder if this applies more to the type of engineering than engineering in general.
  • polarscribepolarscribe Registered User Posts: 3,232 Senior Member
    I have never taken a math class beyond algebra II and statistics, and never once have any of my employers cared - or even asked.

    Some people are stronger at some things than others, and I don't believe it's helpful to criticize students for picking an educational path that connects with their skills and interests. If that involves math, great. If not, great.
  • englishjwenglishjw Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    Engineering is cyclic. Different forms of engineering have different demand curves and different utility decay rates. There are times when it is superb to be a xxxx engineer and other times when you can't find a job with a xxxx degree. Nonetheless, it is a degree with a high probability of employment upon graduation and a career beyond it. There is the added complication that comes with age - higher levels of compensation and technological obsolesce. Older engineers are therefore at risk if they don't maintain the cutting edge competence.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,194 Senior Member
    As Lemaitre1 notes, liberal arts degrees are good business for colleges - high demand, low cost to deliver.

    Not all liberal arts are low cost to deliver. Biology is an extremely popular major at some schools, but it is a high cost major, since it requires substantial numbers of lab courses that are more costly to the school than lecture and discussion courses (like humanities, social studies, business, and math).
  • mregomrego Registered User Posts: 1,038 Senior Member
    A couple of years old, but still relevant:
    China Faces a Grad Glut After Boom at Colleges - WSJ.com
  • ExengineerExengineer Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    "Older engineers are therefore at risk if they don't maintain the cutting edge competence."

    This is very heavily dependent upon the company they work for. If the company is not involved in extremely current and emerging businesses and technologies, their employees will also not be. Most people will stay current with what their company is doing at the moment but trying to stay ahead is guesswork and may lead you into subjects of no value.
  • englishjwenglishjw Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    I agree that the employer may help accelerate the engineer's obsolesce thereby truncating his/her career alternatives. Unfortunately, this clearly puts the responsibility on the engineer to maintain his/her skills and knowledge.
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    The 2011 edition of the annual Education at a Glance report includes very interesting data on the tertiary education earnings premium across the different OECD countries plus a few select emerging nations.
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    Talking about "fear of math" and student demand for engineering degrees, Table A4.4 in one of the OECD report's data sheets actually seems to show that the percentage of students enrolled in engineering/manufacturing degree courses at the tertiary-type A and advanced research levels in the United States in the reference year 2009 was actually the lowest among all OECD countries.

    The table, however, also shows an unusually high percentage of US-based students enrolled in "not known or unspecified" fields, suggesting there may be some problem in data collection as far as the US is concerned. In other words, I can't tell how reliable those enrollment percentages are.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,194 Senior Member
    bruno123 wrote:
    "not known or unspecified" fields

    Freshman or sophomores who are not yet declared in a major?
  • englishjwenglishjw Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    I know this is only one case but my son falls into this "unspecified" class since he hasn't declared a major going into college. He won't have to do so until the end of his sophmore year. He didn't declare because he is not yet sure if he wants computer science or math. I assume he is not alone. Cases like his will impact the numbers. He loves math.
This discussion has been closed.