The American system of higher education is increasingly becoming a fiscal disaster for ever-larger numbers of students who move through it. That disaster is being caused by a combination of terrible incentives, institutional greed — and the pervasive myth that more education is the cure for economic inequality.
The extent of this myth is highlighted by a new report from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity which indicates that nearly half of all employed college graduates have jobs that require less than a four-year college education. Despite such sobering statistics, the higher-education complex remains remarkably successful at ensuring that American taxpayers fund the acquisition of educational credentials that, in many cases, leave the people who obtain them worse off than they were before they enrolled.
Far from being “priceless,” as the promoters of ever-more spending on higher education would have Americans believe, both undergraduate and post-graduate education is turning out to be a catastrophic investment for many young and not-so-young adults.
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Any privileged person in this country who wants to remain complacent about the social status quo would be well-advised not to consider exactly where his money comes from. Here’s a small but telling example. Federal judges are required to file disclosure forms regarding other sources of income they may have besides their federal salaries and benefits. A glance at Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2009 form (the most recent available to the public) reveals the following entry:“New England School of Law, Summer Program, Galway, Ireland – teaching stipend: $15,000.”Another part of the form reveals that the same school reimbursed Roberts for his airfare, meals and lodging for at least the two-week period during which the course — on the history of the Supreme Court — was held. Roberts co-taught the course, which met seven times for two-hour periods, with a law professor, Richard Lazarus.Roberts and Lazarus taught the same course on the scenic island of Malta last summer, and will do so again amid the charming old world architecture of Prague this July. (Lazarus did not respond to my request for information regarding what he was being paid to teach the course or how responsibility for teaching and grading it was divided between himself and the chief justice).Continue Reading… … Read More