Why College Liberal Arts Studies are a Waste of Time

A new analysis by two economists takes issue with those who argue that liberal arts education is not worth the investment. The liberal arts are under attack. So why do the rich want their children to study them?

Want to read MY take? I’m a college grad and former college and university teacher.

Maybe, just maybe, if the liberal arts classes were somehow made more relevant and contextual, more students and parents would embrace it. Today we all need to know how to market ourselves. We need to be visual and verbal storytellers. How about studying art and literature in THOSE contexts?

As an art student, I still recall the boredom and anger being forced to study art history which had nothing to do with my life or my art. The only art eras I love, and which influence me, and which I share with others, were ignored in school. A few feet from typing this, I’ve shelves of art history books. Some I started buying over 50 years ago.

I could NOT stand most of the required curriculum required. 50 years later, I’ve used little of it. I still resent the time and money forced to be in classes which were beyond boring and irrelevant.

I’m a fine arts college graduate with several degrees (BA Art, CSUN and MFA in Design, CalArts). Plus professional certifications from UCLA. About 11 years of being IN college. Taught for a decade at MAJOR higher education institutions. Correct word: “institutions.”

I don’t blame that farmer being upset. How about teaching how Ben Franklin’s Farmer’s Almanac is still useful now? Or books about our food manufacturing, from Michael Pollan, John Robbins, heck, Rachel Carson. That would really get the farmer upset! But would do his son some good. And help our food and environmental issues.

I could go on and on. I cannot write anything to justify curriculum set by out of touch people who don’t keep up with changing tech and insist on boring subjects. Thoreau and Socrates [mentioned in original article] could be made relevant. I see them quoted ALL the time in business and marketing classes.

Yet the author and those teaching won’t bother to read this. School is boring and irrelevant. But could be vital to everyone’s future. Whatever, who cares. Not those in charge.

Other than if you really want a future, invest in online from NON-traditional sources. Amazing free, low cost programs. I learn far more online than any school.

Finally, a retired English literature professor wrote the piece why we should waste time with irrelevant courses. I am an avid reader. My home is full of books. Organized like a library. Hundreds of books. I recently gave away hundreds because I needed the space. But I still own hundreds. I read in bed every night. Not romance novels. Non-fiction about dreams, design, marketing, color, art history, politics, movie history (I gave hundreds to USC for their film school library and still have shelves of them) and so much more.

I’d go toe-to-toe with ANY English professor, retired or not! Bring it on!