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.
Nobody knows what "higher ed" means anymore. In other words, it means nothing in particular. Employers want to know what you can do for them today to improve their profits. That's simple. It's not what higher ed was designed for in the 1300s and 1500s and 1800s, but it seems applicable today. Practicality.
It's a great loss, but people do need to make a living. Higher ed is not just for the elite and the intelligentsia anymore. Things have changed. Estate taxes, for one thing. The Gentleman's C is a thing of the past.
The term "higher" is obsolete. People like Oprah are today's elite.
I'm not sure who's to blame but we'll all suffer. A 'liberal education' is important. It helps make people 'well rounded'. Without a sense of how and why things are the way they are, people are easily led - as evidenced by the current leadership. Without good communication skills, you can't pass on your knowledge and experiences to others nor can you understand the knowledge and experiences of others.
Our society is loosing the skill of critical thinking.
I once attended a community meeting (middle aged grad students, faculty and staff). The candidates for the position of department chair were scheduled to state their interest in the position and answer questions. This is a fairly common practice. A grad student asked one of the female candidates a fairly sophisticated question about the subject which was the focus of study in that department. Her response, was similar to Hilary's in a way:
"just because I don't know the big words, doesn't mean it's not my turn to be department chair." She got the job, the department and the programs disintegrated over the years, she never made a contribution to the body of knowledge in "the field". AND now, ladies and gentlemen the university is trying to help her find a move up the ladder! Yup, 14 years later--they finally figured out what the grad students knew during the interview--she was not qualified, and did not care, because she was the politically correct candidate.