Skip to comments.Backlash brews over media’s focus on value of college
Posted on 06/18/2011 6:17:16 AM PDT by Halfmanhalfamazing
A San Francisco State University instructor writes in Poynter today that the media is misrepresenting some basic features of the debate over the value of a college education. In reviewing recent coverage, Sarah Fidelibus argues that journalists are taking surveys out of context in making the case that a college education isn't worth young people's time and money anymore. The critique comes on the heels of a piece in the New Republic titled "Why the media is always wrong about the value of a college degree."
In the latter article, Education Sector's Kevin Carey mocks media stories that profile woeful Ivy League grads who haven't landed the prestigious jobs they'd hoped for right out of college. He points out that these stories have been running in newspapers for decades--while also noting that an Ivy League education has only become more coveted (and lucrative) over the same period. "They always feature an over-educated bartender, and they are always wrong," Carey writes about the stories.
While The Lookout, too, has noticed a rash of over-hyped headlines about the value of college (ahem, New York magazine), we think these critics are too quick to brush off scholars' concerns about the higher education industry. The often overheated tenor of debate on both ends of the higher-ed question may make it harder to carry out an honest accounting of an industry that already tends to shy away from transparency.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
It’s not the value, it’s the damned price.
If the Ivy League “public servants” we are afflicted with are any measure of the value of a college education today...its hard to NOT question its value.
I think colleges and universities are pricing themselves out of the market. My son is a grad student at Stanford and my head about exploded when he told us how much a year there costs. Fortunately he is a teaching assistant and it is all on his dime.
...we think these critics are too quick to brush off scholars' concerns about the higher education industry. The often overheated tenor of debate on both ends of the higher-ed question may make it harder to carry out an honest accounting of an industry that already tends to shy away from transparency.The problem is the same as it always has been -- some people get to go to the college or U of their choice based on parental connections and cash, wind up with degrees and but no smarter than when they were chaffeured to their freshman year dorm, and wind up doing very little in inconsequential jobs well suited to their abilities.
I have felt that way a long time, there is much wisdom in what you have stated.
College is GOOD!
It keeps folks OUT of the job market for 4 years, lowering the apparent jobless rate.
Y’all said it better’n me.
All good points but I think there’s another and overriding problem of a higher education model that went out with Andy Hardy. And it’s government funding that creates the stasis.
If the students spent their time learning, instead of being forced into piles of indoctrination sessions, a four year degree would A) be more worthwhile and accurate and B) would only take 18 months. :’)
The higher education nonsense will continue until States put their foot down and make some common sense decisions.
1) Universities cannot have unlimited growth. Students from other States and nations cannot have State taxpayer support for their education, and must pay their own way.
2) States subsidize education so that students will have better quality employment. Thus majors that have significant job placement in their field of study within six months after graduation are worthy of subsidy, and those with little or no job placement within six months after graduation should not receive taxpayer subsidy. If students wish to study in those majors, they must do so out of vanity, paying the full price for their education. If not enough students are willing to do so, that major should no longer be offered. Importantly, this applies as well to post-graduate studies. PhDs with no chance for employment are little more than deeply indebted unemployed persons.
3) Majors have a core curriculum essential to that major. Classes taught in an “employable” major are worthy of a taxpayer subsidy. Classes that are elective to a major are not worthy of a taxpayer subsidy. If enough students see an elective as valuable to their education to fully pay for it, it should continue. If not, then it should no longer be offered by the university.
4) Community colleges are a cost effective alternative to lower division (freshman-sophomore) subjects, and students should be encouraged to take such classes there, which are then transferred to universities when the student wants to take upper division classes. Doing so will save countless millions for the State, and permit significant reductions in the size of universities.
5) Many universities actively recruit far too many students, even though they have 50% attrition rates of their freshman class, solely to get one or two semesters tuition from them and the associated State subsidies. States should create diversion programs both to community colleges and trade schools before these students are denied an education altogether, as well as being in debt $10,000-$30,000 for an education they didn’t get.
6) States also need to create far more comprehensive pre-college State examinations, to insure that no student who is not capable in *all* essential studies is admitted to school. Both the SAT and ACT tests have consistently failed to eliminate unqualified students from entering college.
7) Though very popular, college athletics neither provide job placement nor employable skills. As such, calling college athletes “students” is foolish. There is no reason that the State should subsidize it at all. If a school wants a football team as a money raising effort, it should hire professional athletes as minor league teams, and pay them a salary, dispensing entirely with the notion that they are students.
Not only would they get better athletes, and better sporting events, but by paying them a salary, they would no longer have to compromise their educational standards to maintain the illusion that they are students. And if they made more money than they cost, it would help to support the school.
“But...but you can’t do this. This...this is my job!”
Moreover, while the gap between grad school and high school is about $60k, to complete grad school is about 10 years from your high school graduation. So, put another way, a graduate student has to work about five years just to catch up with the high school graduate. If there is debt involved---and the average grad school debt is about $30k---then you add another year before you catch up.
There is no question a professional degree-holder will earn a ton more over a lifetime (about $110,000 per year avg.) but you start your career much older and much poorer, and a kid who is an entrepreneur can not only eliminate that differential but greatly exceed it.
I am going to argue with you on number 6. The problem comes in when a college admissions office starts doing things like weighting the score based on race, first time college student, class ranking, etc.
It’s not the test itself, but how it’s used that’s the problem.
I do agree with encouraging freshman/sophomore class taking at Community Colleges. The strongest indicator for obtaining a 4 year degree is a g.p.a. from a community college after 60 hours. Anyone with a 3.5 and above generally makes it. Anyone with a 2.5 and below generally doesn’t.
I would like to see some resources (and maybe they are there) for effective career counseling at community colleges. If some students are steered towards a trade certificate, paraprofessional program or other opportunities it would be a better use of everyone’s time and money.
That actually depends on you field, my nice just graduated, had a job before she graduated and the company will pay off her student loan if she stays with them five years. But you cannot get that deal in a fields of underwater basket weaving with a minor in queer studies.
That's because they're even more heavily subsidized than the public four-year colleges.
The universities brought this on themselves.
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