General education classes are pointless


By Cody Laplante

COMS 100, ENGL 103, MATH 109: the dreaded courses first assigned to every freshman entering the gates of NIU.

I think it is safe to assume there is not a single person on this campus that has not once thought something along the lines of, “Why do I need this class?” or “When am I ever going to need these skills?”

General education… isn’t that what high school is for? Back in the day when our parents used to walk to school in the rain uphill both ways, high school was the house of general education.

Well, what has changed?

I still believe a high school diploma should have that connotation.

Terrance Walker, sophomore physical therapy major, agrees.

“A lot of [gen-ed courses] are pointless,” he said, using MUSC 220 as an example. “They don’t really apply to what I want to do.”

It’s true, as a physical therapy major, why does Walker have to pay to learn music?

General education coordinator Michael Kolb points to remediation as the cause.

“We’ve seen that American high school graduates rank very low in math or writing ability… so those courses have become a priority at the university level,” Kolb said.

I agree. Studies have shown us that many of our public schools are below par; however, I do not believe universities should pick up the slack for the shortcomings of public education. Although I believe a breadth of knowledge is beneficial, why do we have to pay to take the same courses twice?

According to the bursar’s website, a full time in-state student will pay between $889.38 and $955.50 for a 3-credit hour course this semester.

That is a lot of money to teach us skills we should already know.