A liberal education was once promoted as producing individuals with broader educational horizons, equipped to face whatever they may encounter in the job market. How's that working out for ya, by the way? But the world has changed. There is as much disinformation as there is reliable information out there, and as often as not, no practical way to distinguish between them. What if the all-powerful Google were just some quirky little guy hiding behind a thin curtain of advertising revenue? The information you got would be used to prompt you to buy or to promote something, nothing more. Nearer the turn of the millennium, educational certifications of all types of professional work were found to be needed so that people who were qualified for jobs were the ones who got them. And almost as soon as that started happening, a certain individual who had what appeared to be believable educational credentials got voted into the highest office of our government and we all got first-hand experience about what it means to have an incompetent person in charge. He put other unqualified people in charge of things they shouldn't have been allowed to touch also. A concert pianist as Secretary of State was just one example of many. With the proliferation of certifications for technical and other professions coming from places like Liberty University, I for one think it is time for a permanent division of Academia along the lines envisioned by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. We have emulated Orwell's 1984 almost to the letter, and I read those dystopian works at about the same time, so why not? Some people who never belonged in college at all are not only tenured, but trying to teach subjects they didn't learn themselves. They don't have to anymore. That's what Google is for, isn't it? One medical school turns out real physicians who want to apply the real science they have been taught, while another turns out just as many homeopathic and placebo-pushing quacks using a different search engine. No one should be satisfied with the fact that their credentials are nearly indistinguishable from each other. The quacks will probably make just as much or perhaps more money, and some of them will do so without ever curing a patient. Some will obtain work making policy for medical insurance companies. Stacking formularies is a great way to get kick-backs. I don't think there is even a term for that sort of crime. Military and perhaps sport medicine is the only area untouched by this. Literacy should be worth something, obviously, particularly to those professions requiring a knowledge of what has been written previously. But there comes a point in education when there is an academic focus on how much went wrong, and a corresponding reduced emphasis on what went right. The Romans never did much of anything original in math. Roman numerals deserve to be forgotten, like mastering the use of a buggy whip for practical transportation. I hope neither of these ever come back. Home schooling can't do this. Teaching religion in place of science and getting academic credit for doing so can't do this. Standardized tests dumbed down to the point that everybody and anybody can pass them can't do this. Never mind most of the misbegotten and educator-unfriendly ideas of NCLB and Common Core. You don't give students or their parents control of what is taught unless you are a politician or an imbecile, which amounts to the same thing these days. Or would you want your children and their society trapped forever in a spinning hamster wheel, learning and then repeating the mistakes of the past because there wasn't enough time to teach them how to do their jobs better? Khan University is the best model I can think of to educate a better world in the 21st century. John Dewey's ideas about teaching anything you can, practically speaking, get textbooks to support has got to go the way of teaching Roman numerals to math majors. Anyone else have any favorite educational models? How do we certify academic proficiency areas with teeth so that unqualified people can't schmooze their way into occupations they never belonged in?