Whither Education?

Alicia Pickett at the Evangelical Outpost what might be the best form of education. A certain sort of price sensibility captures her thinking.

Academic vs. vocational. Should we train high school and college students in history, philosophy, and biology or in industrial arts, computers, and accounting. I’m not the most practical person in the world (and proud of it). But, in this case, it’s a lot of money and policy invested in one direction or the other. I’ve got to go practical. No choice.
Which is why I recommend academic education over vocational.

Price sensitivity aside, in an era of great economic inequalities (and their justifications) other thoughts come to mind.

For one, I should think that part of the push on vocational education results from a certain class divide. Traditionally, the academic education is not about a job, but about (how shall we put this?) ruling. thus its overwhelming bias towards the professional career. I think this may further explain some of the recent thinking of Charles Murray on the same topic.

For the Christian things get a bit more awkward, since the notion of gift is deeply subversive of these social distinctions. In a deep way, we can then understand the notion of Christian education (primary through college) as a kind of protest against the vocational thrust. And just to be clear, it also raises the skeptical eye at the notion of the “classically educated” dearly beloved of the Academic (there’s an ideology at work there, too).