28 October 2013

Work Smart & Hard - Like Booker T. Washington

I love this whole model. It is so much closer to the real world than what's being encouraged within "the academy." Booker T. Washington would be pleased. More here.

Booker T. Washington’s approach to higher education was somewhat unique but his philosophy is even more relevant for us to emulate today. He not only offered and emphasized the traditional academic courses at Tuskegee, but industry and trade skills were also required. Students learned bricklaying, forestry, and timber skills, sewing, cooking, and practical agriculture, and every student was obligated to master at least two trades so he or she would always be able to contribute to the industry and betterment of society and be self-supporting after graduation. Louis Harlan explains that “Washington’s efforts as Tuskegee Institute were to train students to become independent small businessmen, farmers, and teachers rather than wage-earners or servants of white employers” (Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee [New York: Oxford, 1983], 142). 

Washington would eventually make Tuskegee Institute in Alabama one of the most successful schools in the South. In 1905, Tuskegee turned out more self-made millionaires than Yale, Harvard, and Princeton universities combined.
Bachelor's degrees (along with a lot of other dated notions entrenched in academia and our educational system) are not the future of prosperity in the United States, or anywhere else for that matter. 

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