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.
An excellent review of the state of higher ed in the US from VDH: The Outlaw Campus. He begins:
Colleges have gone rogue and become virtual outlaw institutions. Graduates owe an aggregate of $1 trillion in student debt, borrowed at interest rates far above home-mortgage rates — all on the principle that universities could charge as much as they liked, given that students could borrow as much as they needed in federally guaranteed loans.
Few graduates have the ability to pay back the principal; they are simply paying the compounded interest. More importantly, a college degree is not any more a sure pathway to a good job, nor does it guarantee that its holder is better educated than those without it. If the best sinecure in America is a tenured full professorship, the worst fate may be that of a recent graduate in anthropology with a $100,000 loan. That the two are co-dependent is a national scandal.
In short, the university has abjectly defaulted on its side of the social contract by no longer providing an affordable and valuable degree. Accordingly, society can no longer grant it an exemption from scrutiny.
A straight white male with a glorious resume walked into a bank with a 10-page business plan, including detailed market analysis, data points, experiential projections, glowing references, and plenty o' collateral, with the goal of obtaining a modest $15K small business loan for what all the aforementioned paperwork demonstrated was nearly a sure thing. And even if not... there was the copious collateral.
No deal. "Not making loans of this type these days," said the bankerette.
His neighbors' disaffected lesbian daughter with facial piercings and neck tattoos, draped in blonde dreadlocks complete with birds nest, flagrant display of armpits braids and attitude, walked into the same bank the same week asking for $60K for her first year at one of America's legendary institutions of higher learning to study African American Womyn's Art History, with a minor in Comparative Post-Modern Theology or some such... she is now a late-shift barrister with a 4-year degree from said university, and not making much progress on her loan payments, I'm guessing.
Because we have so much surplus money to hire more Officers, or so many idle Officers because all the more pressing problems have been solved, that we can afford to sic them on an industry that has about zero interstate commerce implications. Because we need our governments to erect a multitude of New Offices, and send hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
Really BillH, it's just squirrel! misdirection. The problem is public and private universities have been completely corrupted by free money. Anytime any organization becomes disconnected from economics, it becomes corrupt. Face it. The US universities have been corrupted by free student loan money. Their payrolls are bloated with non-mission cruft. They've become rackets for squeezing money from the chumps and rubes, and distributing it to the fellow travelers. Don't try to squirrel! us with silly talk about for-profit schools, as if they are somehow more evil than the not-for-profits public and privates.
And, by the way, the for-profits are living off the same student-loan funding insanity. You walk into a DeVry or ICDC or UnivOfPhx, and the first piece of paper they push at you is a loan application for $40 large. Because they can. Becaus a mind is a terrible thing to waste. And everybody deserves a college degree and a better life. It's the American Way.
" More importantly, a college degree is not any more a sure pathway to a good job, nor does it guarantee that its holder is better educated than those without it..."
College and even trade school is not a replacement for experience and on the job training.
We have hired/trained a dozen or so diesel mechanics in our shop (mostly heavy mining/logging/farming equipment). One thing that takes the most time is UNLEARNING What the student has learned in school.
For one, tech schools teach you on state of the art latest released equipment. NO ONE IN THE REAL WORLD HAS ALL BRAND NEW EQUIPMENT. (Unless they are a political crony).
Having that diploma does not guarantee the employer an employee that he does not have to spend many hours training and re-educating on the job.
if higher education was really concerned about teaching skills and employment qualities, they would institute an apprentice program or give credits for work outside the college.
(i know, never happen, doesn't pay the salaries and high property tax and grounds maintenance bills that way)