Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The end is nigh

I've mentioned before (and here) that I believe the next big bubble to burst--and one completely deserving of that bust--is college education.

Here's another article which gets to the heart of the reason why this one is ripe for poppin':
[ By Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association ] Here are some hard facts most colleges will never tell you and most parents could not tolerate hearing. The general requirements of the first two years at most colleges are what high school should have been. That is what junior should have learned had he not been busy getting high, getting drunk, and being socially promoted.

Better high schools frequently use the same textbooks for the mandatory requirements that are used in the first two years of college. If a high school draws from the upper end of the socioeconomic scale, the courses will be more demanding than the first two years of most colleges.

[...] My neighbor’s daughter was valedictorian of her class at an elite, private high school. She enrolled in engineering only to find that there were lots of valedictorians. School was demanding. At the computer center in the middle of the night, she could find her classmates designing programs or doing homework.

In contrast, a hundred yards away on the liberal arts campus, a valedictorian would have been as rare as a student who didn’t download a term paper from the Internet. Here most students were seeking majors that put no premium on analytical skills or cumulative knowledge. The equivalent of writing computer programs as a hobby would have been reading a good newspaper or journal of opinion. But few of these students read anything, including the class assignments.
The author's recommendation: If your kid is studying something real, like math, science or engineering, don't worry. If they're studying fluff, send your kids to community college for the first two years, then, if they get through that, transfer to a 4-year. That saves money, and makes sure that the kids who will never graduate anyway don't spend 4 years and $100,000 partying.

And, if that doesn't work out, here's more good advice from the author: buy the kid a franchise with the money you would have spent on college. Set them up in business and a career. It is far more cost-effective and a better learning experience than anything they could get in college.

My bottom line: college isn't worth the money anymore. All it is a 4 years of partying with a little social networking thrown in, and thrown up upon.

Cross posted at Saltzafrazz.

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