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.
Even more so, the potentially redundant faculty and (especially) administrators wouldn't stand for change of public universities to European-style.
I recall early in my adulthood getting sticker-shock at the price of something, and asking the vendor "Why should I buy this from you for so much, when I can get something similar that does the same thing for so much less at vendor X?" His response was "If price is your only criteria, or if you are sure that what X offers will work for you, then you should not buy from us, you should buy from them".
I'm of the same mind over tuition. People are saying that Europe's universities are as-good as ours, but low-cost or free. But the students doing activism for this have chosen the US universities with massive student recreation and activities programs, not the cheap ones like the Texas $10,000 degree initiatives or Western Governors University.They could have gone to Germany to study for free if they had gained admittance, or gone to Memorial University of Newfoundland – for $8800 per year they could study at a university that consistently makes the global "top universities" lists, and offers just about every traditional subject in the humanities, science, and engineering.
But there is also the public-policy angle. The whole point of US ag-colleges, "normal schools" land-grant universities, and the City University in NYC was that there was public-good derived from the diffusion of such knowledge and knowledgable people. It is very hard today to make the case that the extra pay granted to public school teachers by virtue of them attaining advanced credentials accrues to anyone other then those particular teachers and their families. Pouring tax money into universities nowadays is a very regressive practice, because the beneficiaries are very much the faculty and administrators, and to a lesser extent the graduates, of whom the vast majority already come from the educated middle-class. It is merely helping the "haves" to maintain and entrench their employment advantage over the "have-nots".
It is first of all, merely different, before better/worse comes into the picture.
Assistant Village Idiot
They don't mention - at least in the abridged article - that German kids are "streamed": they are evaluated early in what would be high school years here and then directed to what are considered suitable fields for them. Every student finishes with a "training"; even a job such as a travel agent has a training attached to same. At least they try to ensure every student is employable. However, I don't know how well this works for the late bloomer who - after a few years in the workplace - wants to return for more education and maybe even a professional degree.
Knew someone who was in an English-language program at a university in eastern Europe. Paid stiff but still affordable tuition as a foreign students. The locals had free tuition. However, there was apparently serious weeding-out of the locals in the first year of the program, so "free" came with strings attached.
The European system has been better IMHO because they educate students with true aptitude and talent for university and give them adequate scholarships. Hence the better stats. By contrast, Americans send people to college who often lack the talent for sustained intellectual effort. And even those students who heroically rise above poverty and other difficulties often drop out here because of finances. Or are saddled w debt from college.
University is supposed to train scholars and future professionals, in an ascetic, learned environment. It is not supposed to be an entitlement, a tool for social mobility or grievance redressed. Not a finishing school for the rich. Or a playground for dumb jocks fundraising for alumni dollars.
Streaming thru school beforehand in Europe selects the brightest kids for college prep. Americans consider it offensive to recognize genuine differences in ability. Europeans tend to be more realistic and provide vocational training for kids unwilling or unable to manage college work.
British A level exams test work that is approximately freshman/sophomore American college level. As a result, kids spend less time (usually 3 years) as undergrads. Another is that they are expected to do focussed work in a discipline immediately. Hence a young relative was immediately studying medicine after a gap year in an African health clinic, serving rural people, and serious science and math in high school. While students the world over goof off much of the time, her peers were already preparing for professions in college. They were self selected and tested likely to succeed.
What Americans might find unpalatable is that entry to European universities is primarily meritocratic (tho PC quotas have crept in somewhat recently). Americans would be startled that rich kids can't buy their way into better schools by parental donations, etc. Americans would be appalled at the idea that fluff like sports, and pseudo compassion ("volunteer" work) and self-styled "leadership" qualities (evidenced by participation in carefully crafted self-promoting activities after school) are not considered in college admissions, tho personal character is, as manifest in interviews at places like the Oxbridge caliber schools. Americans would find it strange that "victim" status doesn't get you into school or get you more scholarship.
I can't count the number of Europeans I've met (particularly Austrian/Germans) who said they would have liked the US system that didn't lock them into a track in Junior High School.
Cost in US universities is the direct result of government intervention and regulation. The typical Department in a US school has not changed in my lifetime. Roughly the same number of profs, one or two department secretaries, and maybe some lab managers if a science or engineering department.
its the overall university management and administrators that have exploded.
The really unanswered query here is whether a lot of these students belong at college at all, let alone the issue of racking up unpayable debt. Forget a degree in "wymnys studies" or near equivalent; better the young'uns are directed to a community collage or trade school for a diploma in admin info mgmt, or aircraft mtce, or baking and pastry arts, or business admin or diagonistic medical sonography, or geoscience info technology, or hospitality mgmt, or legal assistant, or mech engineering technology, or travel and tourism, etc., etc, etc. (taken from the course offering of our local polytech). And I haven't gone near midwifery, bookkeeping, veterinary tech, etc., etc.
The point is that there a lot of jobs out there but they require a training. So, for the kid graduating from high school and not really sure of his destination, a polytech may well be a cheaper and better alternative to college. With a bit of luck, you'll bypass the SJW crowd and find a career you truly love.