Monday, May 24, 2010

College Education Why?

belushi college

Colleges in Mississippi decide to spend money on allowing more students to attend, rather than expanding or improving the quality of education at such institutions. This helps to perpetuate the myth that there is a right to a college education and that students need a 4 year degree to succeed in life.

Ramesh Ponnaroo writes:

It is absurd that people have to get college degrees to be considered for good jobs in hotel management or accounting — or journalism. It is inefficient, both because it wastes a lot of money and because it locks people who would have done good work out of some jobs. The tight connection between college degrees and economic success may be a nearly unquestioned part of our social order. Future generations may look back and shudder at the cruelty of it.

Today many students are considering different options because they see rising student debt, stagnant graduation rates and a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders.

When institutions make it their goal to admit more students, rather than admit intelligent students, the overall educational experience will suffer. Class discussion will not be thought provoking, and the “why are we here” mentality will be conveyed from public high schools to the college level.

Some have even stated that there is a higher-education bubble caused by government subsidization of colleges and universities. Brian A. Kroll writes:

As a consequence of the past few decades of capital misallocation, the United States has decreased productive goods-producing private sector jobs in favor of government service sector jobs. This has resulted in an ever-increasing trade deficit impairing our economy from real economic growth. As result, production-oriented skills have been in increasing demand in the ailing U.S. Economy.

He thinks more individualized educational opportunities like online schools and trade schools may be the answer. He also looks back to how education shaped the 20th century in America:

…a college education was [once] the fundamental gateway towards a middle-class American life. One was told “Work hard, get a good education, obtain a degree and you will be virtually guaranteed a high standard of living in the United States.”

Who wins when the volume of students who can’t afford to work their way through college is increased? Who wins when more people are forced to become debtors?

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