Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds on the Future of Higher Education and How Kids are Getting Wise to Student Loan Debt


The next few weeks will be filled with university commencement ceremonies that are being held all over the country. But what does a college degree really mean today? Reason TV interviewed Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds last month on perception of higher education and potential reforms. The original writeup is below:

"It's kind of a weird thing that's happened with American society—this idea that you have to have a college degree to be a respectable member of the middle class," says Glenn Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee and purveyor of the popular Instapundit blog. Reynolds' latest work, The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself, looks at the higher education bubble and how parents, students, and educators can remake the education system. 

Reynolds sat down with Reason TV's Alexis Garcia to discuss why Americans are spending more for a college education and how students are responding to increasing tuition costs. "Given how expensive it is to go to college, there has to be a return sufficient to make it worth the time and especially the money," Reynolds states. "You're seeing declining enrollment in some schools and you're seeing much more price resistance on the part of both parents and students."

The discussion also includes Reynolds' take on school choice, the upcoming elections, the current state of the blogosphere, and whether or not both political parties are necessary. Nearly a decade after Reynolds published An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths, the blogfather still remains optimistic about technology's ability to empower the individual and inspire grassroots movements. 

Approximately 19 minutes long.

Click here to read Glenn's favorite work, Memorandum from the Devil by Arthur A. Leff. 

Produced by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Paul Detrick, Zach Weissmueller, and Tracy Oppenheimer. After Effects graphics by William Neff. 

Scroll down for downloadable versions, and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

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  1. “Give the governor harrumph!”

  2. When the higher education bubble busts, which gets cut first, educators or administrators?

    1. /shouldbeonthecircumsicionthread

    2. Educators.

    3. There are going to be a lot of vacant buildings in Tallahassee, that’s for sure. FSU has been expanding at a rate that would make Dubai-ans (Dubites?) jealous.

  3. “It’s kind of a weird thing that’s happened with American society?this idea that you have to have a college degree to be a respectable member of the middle class,”
    So true – every respectable blue collar worker I know who is solidly middle class brags about the kids who are the first in their family to go to college. Factory work or driving a truck or forklift is just not something they want their kids to do and will go into debt big time to send them to college. On the other hand, these blue-collar workers seem to demand practical degrees from the kids, no art history or womyzn studies for them.

    1. …”brags about the kids who are the first in their family to go to college.”…

      Sowell mentions that in developing nations, the first kids to get higher education immediately go to work for the government.
      Higher ed = no dirty fingernails.

    2. I can’t really blame a coal miner for trying to encourage his kids to do something else when the Weigelian/Krugnuttian extreme left wing is doing everything in its power to try and kill off his industry.

  4. The worst part of the higher ed bubble is that a great many people come out of 4-6 years of college dumber than they were. It’s not just a waste of money and time but actually destructive to their future success.

  5. a great many people come out of 4-6 years of college dumber than they were.

    Wait- you mean four (or more) years of life in a bubble of artificial social justice won’t prepare a kid for getting things done in the real world?

  6. Abraham Lincoln writes Queen Victoria after Prince Albert dies, suggests she keep him in a can…OK, maybe not.…..on-n107351

    1. “But I would fain have Your Majesty apprehend, on this occasion, that real sympathy can exist as real truthfulness can be practised in the intercourse of nations,” the war-time president wrote to Britain’s monarch after the death of her husband, Prince Albert.

      First deep dish pizza and then trying some “intercourse of nations” on the recently-widowed Queen Victoria — is there no evil Lincoln would not stoop to?

  7. You keep hearing about the higher ed bubble bursting any day now, but are the benevolent overlords really going to allow that to happen?

    1. Well………..they let the real estate bubble pop, didn’t they? (granted, they did what they could to reverse the pop, but………)

  8. I taught at the university level for years. I found that many students who undertook a four year (plus) degree were really no better for it when they graduated. They put off employment and so delayed laying the foundation for developing skills and cultivating a work ethic. Many of these kids were in perpetual adolescence. Instead of growing up and creating a career, they wasted their time with the drinking, partying, and skipping class to hit the gym. And they or their parents took out huge loans to pay for it!

  9. The federal government has poured untold dollars into higher education (in addition to what the states cough up), and outstanding student debt ALONE is over a trillion dollars! After all that, who could have foretold that higher education would be overpriced? It was unforeseeable!

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