So argues Professor Anthony Esolen in this piece.
He’s right. College has become a very expensive credentialing mechanism that adds surprisingly little in the way of useful skill and knowledge for students. Esolen notes, inter alia, that students often are worse at writing after college, which teaches them to rely on cliches and verbal pomposity.
Esolen dreams that we’ll reach the point where employers disdain college grads and instead do their own training of job applicants who haven’t been sullied by the college experience. (That’s pretty much the way business leaders looked at college back around 1900.)
The one thing he omits is a discussion of what turned college education from a useful (and affordable) service that a few thought worthwhile into a mass phenomenon that serves little purpose other than to provide cushy jobs for lots of professors and administrators. The answer to that is government subsidies. Of all the legacies of LBJ’s “Great Society” this is, I think, the most destructive. Federal aid did not give us “a more educated workforce” but merely a prodigiously bloated education sector selling increasingly empty credentials.
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