The End of Higher Education

The Acting Class Class Action Lawsuit originated in the Marshfield High School in Marshfield, Missouri, in the spring of 2032.  Soon they were joined by over two million students across the United States, all of whom were incensed over having to take Drama in their Junior year of high school.  Said one student, “Hell.  What’s the point in this?  I ain’t ever gonna be no actor!” 

It took over two years for the case to work its way through the court system, but in October of 2035, the Supreme Court, citing that it was not necessary to be educated in order to make an educated decision about education, agreed in favour of the students,.  Justice Clinton, in writing for the majority, stated, “I never wanted to take those useless classes, either.”

 

Citing precedent, the case was applied the following year to Narvel v. the University of Wisconsin,  where it was ruled that not only did students not have to take any class that wasn’t directly related to their major, but they didn’t have to take any class that they already weren’t very good in, or just didn’t like.  In essence, what the court ruled was that all that was necessary to earn a degree was to be able to do one’s job, and nothing else.

 

The Birmingham Amalgamated Steel Corporation V. Alabama State University, further defined by Gorman V. Luxor Aircraft Manufactures, determined all that was necessary for a degree was for a person to be able to perform a small portion of a job.  Knowledge of the whole was superfluous.  For instance, why would somebody need to understand aeronautics if all they were going to be doing was putting rivets in a wing?  As far as that goes, why would that worker even need to know how the rivet gun worked when all that person really needed to know was where to aim it and how to pull the trigger?

 

By the fall of 2040, almost all major universities  and junior colleges in the United States had disbanded, many of them being converted into condos.  Most historians cite the landmark court case in Florida in 2038 for the near total demise of higher education.

 

Stated one education official in Florida, “Hell, if all we’re doing is training these kids to work… I mean, how much do you really need to know to operate a drill press.  Heck, as long as you can reach the pedals, then how hard is it to drive a truck?”  It was shortly thereafter, that Florida changed its mandatory education age from 16 to 9.  Commenting on that decision, one legislature stated, “Most of us was for 8, but them little guys really have a hard time running a forklift at that age.”

 

Having children work at such a young age, as expected, was a hotly debated issue.  That issue was resolved with The Child Labour Act of 2041, which stated that if a person has finished her or his education, then that person is technically no longer a child, and he or she not only should be expected to work, but not working was seen, as further defined by the courts in Widbey vs. The US Textile Industry, as putting an unnecessary burden on those taxpayers who do work.  Therefore, it was agreed in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in 2043 that every US citizen who had completed the third grade was compelled to work.

 

It was further ruled in the summer of 2044, in West Virginia Ore and Mining Company V. Grudensen, that setting limits, either maximum or minimum, on how much a company was forced to pay their employees, as well as how long those employees should be allowed to work, was an unnecessary intrusion into the work place by the government.  The same session also saw the repeal of workplace safety laws.  After all, where one worked was a choice made by that person, the employee, and any conditions that existed in that place of employment was therefore agreed to by the employee.  Besides, it should not be the responsibility of the government to mandate how any business should be able to operate the most efficiently.

 

There were limited attempts at revolution by the workers, but most failed simply because any given worker only knew how to do her or his specific job, and nothing else.  Stated one government official, “Gees Louise, if the bus didn’t take most of them home they’d wander aimlessly on the streets.  Most don’t even know how to boil water, and if they do, then they really don’t know what to do with it.  And the guy that knows what to put in that water, really doesn’t have a clue on what to do with it when it’s done.  You see, it takes everybody working together.  On our own, it just won’t work.  But isn’t that how a democracy should work?”