During my 52-year trek to Utopia where I uncomfortably practice law, I fed cattle, pitched –it, picked rocks, baled hay and mended fences. I worked at fast-food places and apprehended shoplifters. I was a shop-rat, played cops and robbers, and was a Paramedic and a Paramedic Instructor. After 22 years of school and miscellaneous seminars, I note only the practice of law has involved much more than basic reading, writing and mathematical abilities.
Twenty-five years ago, several others and I started a business to train EMTs and Paramedics. EMS work was exciting (people got injured and died in amazing ways) and one working in the field could earn enough to survive. The training and learning were easy, involving skills and didactic components along with some clinical rotation time.
Back then, EMT through Paramedic training could be completed by attending about seven months of evening courses. The technical skills required ordinary manual dexterity and practice, and the minimal clinical rotations could be completed on weekends. The texts were short, straightforward and easy to read, and the written licensure tests were similarly straightforward.
Except for a few additional skills needed to handle new medical devices, the technical aspects have not changed since then. Today, hundreds of hours of clinical time are required. Today’s texts are about 1,200 pages long, and there are additional materials to read. Today’s licesure tests are difficult — 50% fail on the first attempt.
Working as an EMT or Paramedic is still exciting (people are still injured and die in amazing ways) and one can still earn enough to survive. What changed?
Some educators pushed the idea that EMTs and Paramedics need “critical thinking skills”. It is now far more difficult for one to obtain the credentials necessary for employment as an EMT or Paramedic today than twenty-five years ago. One needs additional language skills to read the “standard curriculum” texts and pass tests. There is a push toward requiring Paramedics to attend at least two, and maybe even four years of college.
I might think differently had I not been “educated”, but perhaps we should consider that “education” has been, and remains, a means of assuring that society remains stratified.
Will you/can you tell me what ‘education’ is?
Is it a pathway to success, a roadblock or an expensive boondoggle?
After one learns to read, write and perform basic mathematics, what is the purpose of “education” except for the need to meet exclusionary employment criteria?
Does the work of a plumber, carpenter or a maintenance engineer actually require a high school diploma or college degree?