After classes ended the campus was overrun with hundreds of young kids - something called Destination Knoxville. I don't know what they were being taught but one day when I went into the student union, there were the kids milling around. Most were dressed in lime green t-shirts while others were in costumes looking like trees, the sun and flowers. One was yelling "I can save the rain forest!" Oh boy - indoctrination. I doubt very seriously if they were given a balanced view of the environment. But of course I doubt if their teachers know anything about science or even the scientific method. As a matter of fact, one of my pet peeves is the existence of colleges of education within the universities. Unless things have changed, traditionally education majors are the poorest academic students at the university by any quantitative measure. Do you realize that after I retire, if I wanted to go to some inner city high school and teach economics, I would be unqualified? That's because I have never had a class in education and have not gotten the proper certification to teach in the public schools. My feeling has always been that education should not be an undergraduate major. It should be only for graduate education. If you want to teach math, then you should be a math major as an undergraduate. If you want to teach economics, you should be an economics major. Surely you can't expect someone who could not get a degree in math to teach math to our kids, could you? Now don't get me wrong, for a number of years I have been asked to guest lecture in a doctoral seminar in education. I have always been impressed by the quality of the students. However, I have been just as unimpressed by the quality of the majority of the undergraduate education majors. So for that kid who said that he could save the rain forest? No he can't nor can his teachers. Yet neither have a clue about the environment and the impact of humans on it.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com