College: can we admit it’s not for everyone?

Historically, college attendance has correlated well with future earnings.

Today, not so much (STEM-type majors generally excluded).

The fundamental issue of confusion is causation and correlation.

Historically, college attendance was characterized by the presence of superior students. Now, college attendance is for everyone.

Historically, college completion was an easily measured discriminator which simplified hiring decisions. Now, college completion (again, STEM-type majors generally excluded) has lost its predictive power, especially given that college does not correlate well with learning. Today’s in: need-based aid. Today’s out: merit-based aid.

Throwing more money at higher education—that is, more federally subsidized loans—is certain to increase the cost to the student (and taxpayer), do nothing for employers, delay entrance into adulthood, and burden the ill-prepared borrower for a (perhaps) lifelong pattern of indebtedness… like the federal government itself.

How do policy leaders like the President address the issue? With self-contradicting bumper stickers.

“It’s not enough just to increase student aid. We’ve also got to stop subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” Obama said to applause in Iowa City.

In declaring the need to square the circle, it seems we are presented with compelling evidence that the President’s own critical thinking was not enhanced (although I supposed those “skills” could have actually once been worse—cringe) by his collegial university experiences. That’s probably why his academic record is sealed and those who do know aren’t talking.

His record is sealed.

About Professor Mockumental

I enjoy almost all forms of parody, buffoonery, and general high-jinks. Satire has shown itself to be an essential societal need; I therefore humbly offer my services in such a manner. I enjoy mocking the usual suspects at the New York Times (Charles Blows, Moron Dowd, and the earth is flat guy) and Washington Post (Dana Milkbag, E.D. Dijon, and David Ignoramus). There are many others as well, but sadly, there are always too many targets and too little time.

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m not a fan of making college cost more as I do believe some form of secondary education is for everyone. What we should really be doing is re-evaluating basic requirements at the University level. Sure, everyone can pick their own major based on what they want to do in life, but everyone also has to take Gen Eds. Make students take classes that are actually benificial to society. (by this I mean, an employed college graduate is contributing more to the economy than a broke unemployed graduate. Benifiting the economy benifits sociey as a whole).

    I’ll say it right now; math and science were never subjects I was particularly talented in. Of course, I didn’t go to college because of what I knew, but because I wanted to learn something. Am I happy I got out of my math Gen Ed by taking a course on debate my freshman year? of course. Should I have been allowed to complete the math requirement that way? Probably not.

    College should be hard. Along with all the self-discovering, completing a major should be one of the most difficult and gruling task. If it were, college would be a great achievement again. Cost is a problem, but an even greater one is the cirriculum.

    • Someone very close to me–a super capable and smart person–did a double major, math and physics, and is now working at a Starbucks (her academic talent and her life interests were different). Her issue was she thought there was little to do with an undergrad degree (besides teach, which she did for a year and didn’t like) and she didn’t want to do grad school.

      Someone else very close to me told of her college’s comprehensive oral comps (in multiple, grouped subjects) as a graduation requirement. Can you imagine such a thing today?

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