Education Without Scholarship: A Modern Illusion

MonkeyPresident Obama’s wish to buy yet more votes with your money presently includes a wish for ‘free’ community colleges for all. Conservative columnist George Will picked at that in a recent column.

This gave rise to some thoughts of our own. We note that free public education is no longer free. Students are handed significant bills to pay for a now lengthy list of items that were once either provided or unnecessary. What happened to the tax money that used to cover these? An enormous proliferation of “administrative” personnel comes to  mind. As the position of U..S. education on the international scale has declined while these supernumaries have been added, their value is not obvious.

George Will notes that only 20% of full time community college folk graduate in three years, so tuition is not as significant a factor as others in that level of education. He further notes that notably more women than men are in colleges now.

We note some further issues: Too many of today’s degrees are worthless on the job market for instance. And the education aside from math and science is often “dumbed down” to hide an otherwise appalling success level.

Colleges originally attracted scholars. Not all folk are scholars any more than they are NBA basketball players. Graduates were well paid because they were both needed and scarce. Supply and demand, right? But politicians sold the idea that everyone was somehow entitled to such wages, only withheld for lack of a degree. They proposed degrees for all. At of course, our expense. To withhold these enabling degrees for mere poverty was unfair. Since so many inadequate scholars are Hispanics or blacks, it’s probably racist, too.

Real scholars are still scarce, as always. But now, college grads are not scarce anymore. They are largely useless on a labor market, but not scarce. And their inability to repay their generous student loans is becoming first, a scandal and second, a financial calamity of the first water. It has reached Damoclean magnitude.

Politicians have been investigation ‘for profit” career colleges with disapproval for their low success rates in putting graduates into jobs. Public universities as Mr. Will points out, are if anything, worse, though the politicians aren’t interested in that case.

We are creating more unemployable women with degrees worth nothing and unemployable men without degrees. As more jobs are exported, turned over to machines or taken by immigrant labor, it may not be as unrealistic as it seems at first glance.

But what it produces is poverty.

He also

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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