The doomsayer’s case amounts to this: teenagers take tests, score poorly, apply to safety schools, and borrow tens of thousands of dollars to major in Film Studies, guzzle beer, smoke weed, borrow more money, get into cocaine, pawn the Playstation, discover the concept of gender identity, sleep with anyone accordingly, study little, earn high marks and a quarter-million-dollar piece of paper, apply for jobs beyond their qualifications, settle for jobs that reflect their qualifications, default on their student loans, declare bankruptcy, discover that student loans are the only kind of debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, die, and pass on the debt to their heirs, parents, or taxpayers. And you thought fraternity initiations were cruel.
Yet records for new college enrollment continue apace. Parents, desperately seeking a marquee university bumper sticker to show off to the neighbors, tell their children that college is the ticket to the high life, despite the fact that half of recent graduates are working jobs that do not require a college degree. Politicians bend over backward to boost student loans and keep interest rates artificially low, despite $1 trillion in loans outstanding and default rates that would make Bear Stearns blush. The only thing Americans, Right and Left, seem to agree on is that college is an unquestionable good.
Daring to speak out against the lemming-like charge toward the higher education precipice seems to invite only scorn from reporters in the press, who, like me, are a tad self-conscious about their useless, over-priced, fraudulent, academically bankrupt journalism, communications, gender studies, and poli-sci diplomas.
I caught the beginning of this; my children caught it full-force. This is one of those messes that will take generations to untangle. All done with the best of intentions.