We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is a bad habit Americans have gotten into that we often look askance
at learning opportunities unless they’re “for credit.” The return of the
free market in higher education will help break that habit, as people
again learn for the sake of learning (as Adam Smith’s students did) and
stop taking courses just because they need some credits.
Perhaps the new competition will end up determining who wants to learn things, and who just wants the credential.
If you don't want people to take courses for the credential rather than to learn anything, then you need to eliminate the two good reasons for doing so:
(1) Occupational licensing, which in many cases carries with it a continuing requirement for so many hours of "CPE" each year as a condition of renewal; and
(2) Employers (especially large firms) who strictly require the credential because it relieves them of the job of testing your knowledge in a more reliable way themselves.
Getting rid of (1) (or at least, privatizing the agency that issues the license, so you're allowed to work without one) would certainly be a pro-free-market reform, and I'm for it. But I don't think it's either likely or desirable to get rid of (2) -- except in occupations where the credential has become worthless, and in those cases the best cure is to educate the public about how to tell competent from incompetent workers.
Learning for learning's sake is a wonderful thing, but as long as most jobs are licensed, it is a luxury on which most people cannot afford to spend much time or money. Perhaps we, the market, should come up with a series of PSAs to impart this lesson to high-school-age youth, so as to prevent at least some of them from turning into the next generation of "Occupiers."