Skip to comments.Former US Secretary of Education Asks: Is College Worth It?
Posted on 05/22/2013 9:30:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, student loan debt growing, and youth unemployment persistently high, a former United States Secretary of Education asks "Is College Worth It?"
In Is College Worth It?: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education, William J. Bennett and David Wilezol examine the costs and benefits of American higher education. The book explains the tough jobs market, a potentially repressive academic culture, and the benefits of alternative options.
Wilezol, an associate producer of the Bill Bennett's Morning in America show, discussed the economic benefits of a college degree. He intends the bookto be for "parents who think about not only the ROI [Return On Investment] for their kids in terms of jobs, but also what is being taught in the classroom in terms of what they want their kids exposed to," he told The Christian Post.
"They have to take an honest assessment of whether their kid is college material or not," he added, chillingly.
"I don't know that people are aware of the wastefulness in higher education," he said, explaining that "almost 50% of people who enroll don't graduate within six years." This leads students, parents, and the government to "waste a terrific amount of money."
But the money is not the only concern. "We know that the academy has been dominated by a lot of intellectuals who reject traditional values and sources of learning in the Western tradition," Wilezol said. He urged parents to examine the prevalent viewpoint "that sees Western Civilization or America as racist, sexist, violent, classist."
On the issue of homosexuality, in particular, Wilezol noted "unofficial speech codes." "People are very afraid to take the opposite of a stance like gay marriage," he explained.
He praised the National Association of Scholars' recent report "What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students" as "the most detailed outline there's ever been of a single college." In the report, the authors mark several occasions where students and visiting speakers have been ridiculed and denied funding due to opposition to homosexuality.
Wilezol also praised the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). "Their job is to come up with legal defenses for people who say politically incorrect things on campus," he explained, promoting their website www.thefire.org.
Home schooling provides another solution to higher education problems, the authors said. "The home school movement has proved itself and if you looked at the data you could argue, maybe everybody should be home schooled, if their parents are up to it," Bennett, former Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988, told The Christian Post.
When asked if it can help solve the higher education crisis, Bennett said "yes," because "it exercises upward leverage in performance." Parents care for their children better than teachers do for students, so the personalized help enables children to succeed.
Bennett also mentioned "places that are catering to home school kids, like Patrick Henry College, Hillsdale College, and Grove City College," which "do very well."
Wilezol tempered his praise: "I think home schooling is great for equipping people for college, but home schoolers need to be held to the same academic standards."
When asked if Congress should push education reform as well as immigration reform, the author suggested more personal alternatives. "It's more on the individual level where most reform can happen," he explained.
"You're starting to see that now with school choice, with home schooling, people choosing to take up alternative education models." This bottom-up reform, rather than top-down legislation, may prove the solution to ballooning costs and declining returns.
I think that, if you pick a major or field that will lead to a job, then yes, college is “worth it”.
But getting a degree in Ancient Mayan Gender Studies or Globalization probably won’t lead to a job. Psychology can get you into sales, statistics into management, accounting into, well, accounting. Math and science is good, as are engineering fields.
Specific medical areas are good, too.
Someone has to see a profit in you- you can make money for them, or why hire you? Then too you can learn skills to start and run your own business.
it depends what the major is, is it a leader in the hard majors, and is the cost/degree value from that university worth what they are asking?
I think they are asking the wrong question. The question should be are Ivy League and other Elite college educations worth it? You can still get a reasonable and decent education through a Jr. College and State College combo while lilving at home.
The very reason that so many articles are suddenly questioning the cost (was it any more reasonable last year, or 10-15 years ago?) will cut a whole generation of kids away from decent paying jobs. Indeed, they won’t even get through the first round of the interview process once they answer “No” to the question of higher education.
I think our kids would be ill served to have wasted their youth by not going to school. But, they could manage their resources more intelligently by taking advantage of the Jr. College system for the 1st 2 years. After all, your degree bears the name of the LAST college you attended.
I have a friend with two children.
The older is a girl, very smart and academically inclined.
The second, a boy, street smart, but getting mediocre grades and doesnt like school ( couldnt wait to finish high school and get outta there ).
My friend keeps telling me how his son should be more like his daughter.
The daughter got some aid and went to Barnard College ( the womens division of Columbia University ). even with aid, she still had to shell out nearly $30,000 in yearly tuition plus board.
The son, after graduation, went to technical school to learn to be a mechanic ( he LOOOVES tinkering with cars ).
After graduation, the daughter ( who majored in Communication arts ) couldnt find a job she liked and went to Japan teaching English (a one year contract). She finished her contract and came back to the USA in 2012. Six months later, shes still looking for something she likes to do.
The son, after graduation, apprenticed with Autozone specializing in auto transmissions but also learned to be a full service mechanic.
He now works for an auto shop and makes about $42,000 a year.
So, who made out better so far?
Not knocking the young lady with the Bachelors Degree, but in the Obama economy, that doesnt help you much.
I once had someone submit a resume for a Mechanical Engineer position, listing their degree in “World Music” as a credential. And into the rubbish bin it went.
Learn a trade, learn something useful that an employer will see value in. All their noble “save the world” intents aren’t worth a hill of beans in the real world.
That’s all very true, but it also says something about the opportunities afforded men vs women, as well as the work men will take vs. the work women will take.
My husband and I run a small manufacturing plant with a predominately female work force. One day an applicant came in to apply for an entry level job. She was unbelievable. She had a very spotty and diverse background and had most recently been employed as a “choir director” but her background included “motorcycle mechanic”.
I thought she was interesting and worthy of an interview with my husband. He dismissed her politely after about an hour and later took me aside and scolded me for sending him a “transvestite”. “Didn’t you look at “his” hands and forearms?” asked my husband.
Apparently, as my husband was showing him/her around the shop and discussing the various opportunities for being a machine operator, this applicant (in ladies’ clothes) suddenly fell to the floor and scooted under a machine on his/her back to check out its hidden workings.
See #7. We might have seen the same candidate! LOL.
oh my...that’s funny!!!
I once had a college grad come to the interview with his mom, who insisted on sitting in the interview room with him!
I think the articles about cost are linked to articles about student debt. Agitprop in advance of a FedGov emergency rescue of our higher education system, like Obamacare was a solution to the FedGov-created health care crisis.
There are medical field careers that the schooling runs 1 - 3 years full time. Employment guaranteed afterwards, with good pay and bennies. LVN, OR Tech, and others can be learned in one year full time.
Many community colleges offer IT training and Microsoft certificates that are worth more than most four year college degrees too.
My job skills and knowledge are from the USN and USAF.
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