Higher Education may be on the downward slide to oblivion but its proprietors haven’t quite entertained that prospect yet. “Will college education be the newspapers of the next century?” Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education asked at a conference last week-end in Indianapolis.
Lubbers spoke at a forum on international education sponsored by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. “The articles that you read about ‘Is college worth it?’ are generally written by people with two or three degrees,” Lubbers observed. “Show me one that is written by a high school graduate.” Those articles, as consumers of them know, usually come down on the heartily affirmative side of that question.
In Indiana, 60 percent of high school graduates have some degree. The state’s higher education policy emphasizes degree completion over college graduation focused on four-year degrees that boost the self-esteem of people who have undertaken various “studies.” Thus, nursing and technical training are treated as worthy goals.
As best-selling novelist Tom Wolfe pointed out in a talk in New York last month, “No one is going to pay you to study gender.” As Lubbers said in Indianapolis last Friday, “It is very difficult to determine in higher education what anybody learns.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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