Like all card-carrying English professors, I listen to NPR on my way to and from work. Yesterday, I found myself cussing aloud after hearing about Ohio’s new push for three year college degrees. In particular, I gaped at a so-called “liberal arts college” that means to pilot a three-year, non-summer, undergraduate degree, apparently by cutting fluff that lies outside a student’s major.

1) Isn’t it the fluff that makes it a liberal arts college? That a communications major might actually need to know something about tv AND literature AND biology AND philosophy?

2) Isn’t trimming a degree by 25%, but charging more-or-less the same per-year charge kind of like the way peanut butter jars increase the size of the little bubble on the bottom, limiting the amount of peanut butter, but leaving the price unchanged?

3) Isn’t it likely that “streamlining” college degrees by getting rid of annoying distribution requirements (e.g. the part of education that develops critical thinking and interdisciplinary literacy) also makes it less likely that the newly-degreed will be less able to critically think about the bum deal students are getting in the U.S.?

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