Heh… this is kind of clever: Karl’s new manifesto for the information age.
The information age elite exercises artful dominion of the means of production, the education system. The median family income of a Harvard student is $150,000. According to the Educational Testing Service, only 3 percent of freshmen at the top 146 colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population… The educated elites are the first elites in all of history to work longer hours per year than the exploited masses, so voracious is their greed for second homes. They congregate in exclusive communities walled in by the invisible fence of real estate prices, then congratulate themselves for sending their children to public schools. They parade their enlightened racial attitudes by supporting immigration policies that guarantee inexpensive lawn care. They send their children off to Penn, Wisconsin and Berkeley, bastions of privilege for the children of the professional class, where they are given the social and other skills to extend class hegemony.
The information society is the only society in which false consciousness is at the top. For it is an iron rule of any university that the higher the tuition and more exclusive the admissions, the more loudly the denizens profess their solidarity with the oppressed. The more they objectively serve the right, the more they articulate the views of the left.
Anyone familiar with my personal history knows that I regard the university education system with a certain amount of contempt. 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars results in a piece of paper which is a very poor indicator of whether the bearer is actually qualified to do the job.
If I won the lottery I’d endow a new kind of tech school. I wouldn’t even call it a school. It would be to computer science schools as a Shaolin Monastery is to Joe’s eXtreme Karate down the street. It would turn out the programmers to whom all other programmers are compared. It would emphasize balance in all things. It would insist on competence in all aspects and models of programming, without clinging to ideologies. The science, engineering, and mechanics of software construction would only be one part of the curriculum. Equally important would be philosophy, interpersonal communication skills, physical exercise, and spiritual development. The programmers that it turned out would not burn out. They would not over-commit. They would not allow their jobs to destroy their home lives. They would not allow themselves to be forced into deathmarches. They would know how to function in a healthy way with other people, taking into account their but not being victimized by their own idiosyncrasies. They would not whine about outsourcing, because all the world would be in demand of their services. It would not seek accreditation from any body, but it would not need it: these would be the finest programmers in the world.
No programmer would be pronounced a Master until a project that she participated in was successful at solving a real-world problem. A Master would not only know a dozen different programming languages and a half-dozen paradigms at ordination, but far more importantly, would be capable of learning new languages and techniques and incorporating them into his toolbox quickly. A Master would know how to separate her ego from pet projects, ideas, tools, and methodologies.
But most importantly, and here is what no traditional college would ever do: a Master would go out into the world with the ability and commitment to spread her knowledge to others. No one would be pronounced Master without having successfully taught other programmers, and they would be expected to apprentice new coders once they left the monastery. This idea, of encouraging education to happen outside the ivory walls of the university, is anathema to the established education system. For obvious monetary reasons.
This is my idea for a techinical school. I see no reason why it couldn’t be extended to other fields, though. The colleges have set themselves up as petty gods of learning, and it’s high time someone knocked them down a few pegs.