Tonawanda News


September 6, 2013

ADAMCZYK: The walls behind the ivy are shaking


Tonawanda News — An online education is definitely out there. It’s not only the torrent of information the Internet offers, but the quality; genuine college courses offered by excellent teachers from schools whose names you recognize have entire semesters’ worth of classes posted, and delivered for free. Philosophy, engineering, literature, history, math, business, oh, it’s out there.

When this catches on, those braggarts with college educations will be shocked to observe how little status their accomplishment conveys when compared to the motivated person who did it all, for free, without ever wandering the quad or attempting to park fast enough for that 8 a.m. class. All learning, no school, courtesy of the very mechanism that brings you porn, video games and inane Facebook posts.

What the conscientious independent student can gain is astounding, but what will we lose and have to rethink? Well, tuition, those decals in the rear windows of cars, high school teachers who suggest you’re not living up to your potential (if they lived up to theirs, they’d be lecturing on the Internet), college football, academic probation, laptop envy, Pell grants, the tyranny of the SATs, higher education as babysitter, tenure, publish or perish, state-mandated certification, alumni associations, dorm rooms, beer festivals in someone’s apartment … the list goes on, challenged only by the limited imagination of a college graduate.

If a person can locate, and succeed at, college-level Internet, he or she likely can learn how to drink. I’m not worried about that. What concerns me is the social upheaval when it dawns on the young, and families of the young, that not going to college, ever, except maybe to lecture, may be better than going.

Imagine a world in which a proud mother tells her friends her kid saved the family between 40 and 160 grand and got a quality education by loitering at the computer, something at which he/she is eminently proficient, and can outthink/out-reason/out-succeed her friends’ soggy-brained college graduate children.

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  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

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  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

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  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

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  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

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  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

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