Suppose you sent your daughter to a music camp—an expensive camp lasting months. She had said that she wanted to learn the violin, so you bought her a nice one and sent her off to camp.
Upon her return, you ask how the camp was and she replies, “Great! We studied lots of stuff about music and the violin.” Then you ask her to play something.
“Well, we didn’t play much and I still don’t know how to tune my instrument. But it was still a terrific experience!”
You would probably think that a music camp ought to concentrate on essentials first—tuning, scales, simple pieces—before moving on to music theory, music history, conducting technique, and so on.
For many American students, college is like that music camp. They take lots of courses and study lots of stuff (or at least seem to), but don’t even learn how to use the English language well. You might think that would be a top priority, but actually it’s not a priority at all.