Political Correctness

Will a Mockable Week in Higher Education Help Deflate the College Bubble?

|

Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers

This week, Columbia Law School students demanded—and got—delayed exams to compensate for the trauma the fragile things experienced over the Eric Garner case. Also in response to the Garner case, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney had to apologize for insisting that "All Lives Matter" when the acceptable sentiment of the moment is that "black lives matter." And at the University of Iowa, David Ryfe, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, insisted "I would follow the lead of every European nation and ban this type of speech" after an anti-racism art installation misfired and upset students who are defintely not spending years of their lives at an institution of higher learning to have their ideas challenged or their feelings bruised.

If this was all, it would still be enough reason for me to start contemplating just how much motorcycle my kid's 529 can buy. But of course there's more. College, after all, is where Rolling Stone went dumpster-diving in eager expectation of finding seamy tales of sexual assault, and instead unearthed the revelation that students dipping their toes into adulhood are unpredictable, perhaps unstable—and that its own journalistic practices suck.

And those students (and their families) pay a pretty penny to be treated as delicate flowers prone to tantrums while navigating a sexual minefield. As I noted a few months ago, "When I was a college freshman in 1983, average tuition, fees, room and board at private, nonprofit colleges added up to $18,143 in 2013 dollars. This year, that number has risen to $40,917. Public colleges are cheaper than their private counterparts, but they've seen similar soaring costs."

Government policies encouraging easy borrowing and subsidized repayment for college students put wings under these soaring costs.

"The basic problem is simple," wrote the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey at U.S. News & World Report. " Give everyone $100 to pay for higher education and colleges will raise their prices by $100, negating the value of the aid."

The sheepskin at the end of that expensive ordeal (and gauntlet of inoffensiveness) is still worth the time and money for many graduates—a declining number. "Not all degrees are equally useful," noted The Economist in April. "And given how much they cost—a residential four-year degree can set you back as much as $60,000 a year—many students end up worse off than if they had started working at 18."

That expense now includes marinating in a culture of politically correct weirdness from which graduates must be deprogrammed by employers in the real world into which they inevitably emerge. At what point do those employers say, "screw it, hiring University of Iowa/Smith/Columbia Law graduates is more of a pain in the ass than it's worth?"

And at what point to students and families start looking for alternatives to what's turned into a spendy excursion through Bizarroland?

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds thinks the higher education bubble is already popping. He told Reason TV, "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. You're seeing declining enrollment in some schools and you're seeing much more price resistance on the part of both parents and students."

In fact, enrollment has declined for two years in a row.

Keep that decline coming—and driving demand for higher education alternatives with more competitive price tags and a closer connection to the real world. Cuz I'm looking at that 529, and I see a new motorcycle in my future.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

66 responses to “Will a Mockable Week in Higher Education Help Deflate the College Bubble?

  1. Delayed Finals? Go fuck yourselves. I hope the instructors delay grades and letters of recommendation. “Oh, sorry. I was going to write your letter of recommendation to that grad school, but I got so depressed.”

    1. Beautiful.

      “I’m sure you understand. Good luck anyway.”

  2. On the mockability side you need to Gruber. The Harvard PHD and MIT Professor who ran around the country tell tales to make himself appear smarter than he was (his story) instead of, you know, teaching the kids paying $40,000+ yr to attend MIT. Which also begs the question of how many other MIT Profs are fabulists more concerned with fluffing up their own egos than they are with edumacating teh kids.

  3. How many Reason staffers didn’t go to college, and of those that did (I’m guessing it’s at or near 100%) how many did not obtain degrees?

    1. Thanks for reinforcing J.D.’s point! (I’m only kidding, Reason Staffers)

  4. just how much motorcycle my kid’s 529 can buy

    JD – Pro Tip – three kids, I informed all three early on that I financed my college with scholarships (“Kids With High Test Scores Eat FREE!”), and expected them to do the same, as I would not damage my standard of living to pay for their ‘higher’ education.

    #1 son, the youngest, is now a sophomore. The other two are out.

    I financed the 2006 ZX14 Ninja (bought new), and paid cash for the gently-used ’02 ZRX 1200R and VERY gently used XR650L.

    So – you can get at least one retardedly-fast, kill-you-in-a-second sportbike, one old-skool 80’s Superbike-lookin’ cool machine, and an iron-anvil, air-cooled dual sport.

    A Ural sidehack is next. I wanna take my big Lab for a ride.

    YMMV. Good luck, and good night!

  5. Funny thing is, as cost of college skyrocketed, cost of information has plummeted.

    For example, yesterday I needed to know heat capacity for butyl acetate. I had it in 5 seconds from Wikipedia. Vapor pressure for hydrochloric acid? Google it and its out there. Need to design a process? Sure, if you are rich (or use torrents), you can get ASPEN, but for most things, thermodynamic data can be either found or estimated, and plugged into Excel if you can set up your equations right.

    In the past, before computer age, I couldn’t even imagine how anything got done, and dedicated knowledge centers like colleges were probably indispensable. These days? A lot of knowledge is either free or relatively cheap, you just need a bit of reasoning skills yo apply it, and a goal.

    1. ^^ THIS ^^

      We’re subsidizing outdated jobs. Granted, some aspects of college are necessary (speaking from experience…access to labs with lathes, mills, injection molding, and $2000 CAD software). But shit like math hasn’t changed in 2000 years. If Pythagoreas can figure out his triangles by drawing in the dirt with a stick, you can figure out calculus with a fucking ipad.

    2. I also keep http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ around for this type of information better collated than filtering wikipedia.

      1. That was one of my first go-to sites for basic reference materials online.

      2. Thanks for the link. I’m saving this one.

      3. Nifty. Thanks!

    3. As the cost of information plummets, the effort and cost of brainwashing logically has to increase.

  6. As to the matter at hand – after some consideration and reading lots of comments, I have to agree with those who affix more culpability on the teachers/administrators that agree to this shit than the students.

    No, not saying the students are blameless – but – all kids need to have limits, and since “kid” is now at least age 26 per the govt, well, set some fucking limits.

    If the adults don’t, any of us with kids know what happens. “Oh! Mom and dad give in – Ima keep whining!”

    So – fuck these little precious pricks for being marshmallow-soft pussies, but fuck their “educators” for being even softer and pussier.

    Also, no, fuck you, cut spending.

    1. If you reward bad behavior, you get more of it.

      Whenever my kids whine (7,6,& 3) I firmly explain to them that no one cares and to get over it.

    2. I have to agree. People, as a general rule, gravitate to what’s expected of them. If they’re told “Well, you’re just a precious snowflake and of course you can delay exams”, they’ll do that. IF they’re told “Buck up and act like an adult”, they’ll do that, as well.

      1. This. It’s the same in plants. I always have to ask why we expect less of hourly employees than we do salaried ones? I don’t. I expect the same behavior from everyone, regardless of roll/status/title.

        Amazing how the plant floor behavior cleans up when you let people know you won’t tolerate them acting like animals, and OBTW we’ll stop TREATING you that way, too.

        Now, if you can’t tow the lion, well, there’s consequences, and my job is to fucking deal them out, and I do.

        But – I expect everyone to be professional, come to work, on time, every day, do your fucking job….and we’ll treat you well and pay you extremely well.

        Deal? Don’t like it? GTFO.

        Amazing…

        1. But – I expect everyone to be professional, come to work, on time, every day, do your fucking job….

          You monster. What about the snowflakes’ feelings???

          1. You see, the thing about snowflakes is, there are an awful low of them, and each is easily replaced.

        2. And my guess is that, once you’ve established these expectations, you don’t find that you have to fire people very often.

        3. “Now, if you can’t tow the lion”

          That’s good for a giggle. It’s toe the line. Early training to follow orders in military and police instruction.

          Line up with your toes ON this line. Not over it, not behind it, ON it.

          If you cannot follow even that basic concept, yer too stoopid for the job.

          1. You must be new here.

      2. People, as a general rule, gravitate to what’s expected of them.

        So true.

        I tell my peeps “You’re here because you know how to do your job better than I do. So go do it. If you can’t without constant oversight, then I need someone else.”

        Amazingly, they all do their jobs just fine without me micro-managing them.

        When it comes to people, its amazing they way your expectations can become self-fulfilling.

  7. Keep that decline coming?and driving demand for higher education alternatives with more competitive price tags and a closer connection to the real world. Cuz I’m looking at that 529, and I see a new motorcycle in my future.

    What would really drive the decline would be employers discounting the values of degrees on applicants’ resumes. If employers quit requiring degrees in certain areas, if HR screeners were told not to worry about them, a lot of the collegiate stupidity we’re seeing now would wither away due to lack of interest.

    1. Unfortunately, the government won’t let that happen. The SC decided back in the 70s that giving IQ or aptitude test before hiring or promoting an employee violated the CRA. So now companies use degrees as a sloppy version of those test, and I don’t really see an alternative for employers.

    2. My understanding is this is starting to happen. At least, some employers are finally starting to look beyond the name of the school and at other characteristics of the applicant that, you know, actually correlate with success. It’s a step.

    3. I like this idea. All applicants with women’s studies degrees go into the special round file.

  8. This is one bubble that cannot burst quick enough.

  9. No one at my law school has asked for exam delays. Just who do these Colombia students think they are?

    1. The voices of a generation

    2. Just who do these Colombia students think they are?

      Given that their school of journalism turned out that chick at Rolling Stone, I can’t say I expect their law school to be of any higher quality.

      1. Good catch.

        Very frightening.

      2. Actually, Columbia turned out that chick at Jezebel who attacked Robby Soave for doubting the RS story. Penn turned out Erdely the Rolling Stone chick, as well as Stephen Glass.

    3. Different times. When I tell young people how it actually was, people think I’m pulling a Four Yorkshiremen on them.

    4. The Entitled Class?

  10. enough reason for me to start contemplating just how much motorcycle my kid’s 529 can buy.

    Needs clarification: is the bike for you, or the kid?

    1. The kid can have it when he pries it from my cold, road-rashed hands.

      1. So about 10 minutes after you get it.

  11. great way to share your thoughts infortunatly it’s a little bit confusing ….. however i would like to share my own simple tips to be more productive
    BEST HOME BASE CHILDREN DEAL ….. http://WWW.MONEYKIN.COM

    1. SO I CAN BUY CHILDREN FROM YOUR HOME BASE?

      1. ALL YOUR CHILDREN BASE ARE BELONG TO US!

  12. “Not all degrees are equally useful,” noted The Economist in April.

    No shit. However, as long as the student in question is capable of distinguishing between an investment and an expense, he/she/it is free to do as it wishes. As long as much as it can afford.

    1. In the ranking of misused words, “investment” is neck and neck with “vibrant” and has its sights on edging out “literally.”

      1. “Investment” in the same sense that a sports car is an “investment,” in which case it’s a synonym for “money suck.”

        1. Depending on the sports car, they can be a great investment.

    2. No shit. However, as long as the student in question is capable of distinguishing between an investment and an expense, he/she/it is free to do as it wishes. As long as much as it can afford.

      College students are adults. They are deemed capable of making, and are responsible for, their own decisions.

      1. Rape denier

  13. If Pythagoreas can figure out his triangles by drawing in the dirt with a stick

    NICE.

  14. “Will a Mockable Week in Higher Education Help Deflate the College Bubble?”

    Probably not.

    What the hell else will 5 million 18 year olds who have been infantile by helicopter parents and ever more institutionalized school systems do.

    It is not like there are actual jobs for them to go to

    1. There are actual jobs, but they’d have to learn something useful, like electrician, or plumber, or HVAC, etc.

      1. Trade schools are a lot better investment for over 50% of people who enter college.

        The old stat was that the stop out/drop out rate from college was about 65%.

    2. The government will gladly take more shiftless cannon fodder. Says so right on the Statue of Liberty.

  15. The funny thing is, they did it all to themselves.
    The whole ‘personal feelz’ emphasis.

    The “Rape Culture” schtick.
    If I wanted to poison the whole “College” experience brand – I’d come up with the rape culture thing. Make the safest places in the universe for young women seem like Nazi rape camps. And to address that, make policies that are explicitly hostile to young men.

    It’s like they all work for somekind of secret online colleges cartel.

    1. So is this where University Presidents drop down on their knees and yell …

      KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I’ve got an idea: any school–public or private–that accepts federally guaranteed loans should be required to provide detailed accounts of these embarrassing incidents (including links to critical accounts of them, of which there are many) so that parents and students can make a fully informed decision as to whether they want to be on the hook for six figures of educational debt to these glorified clown colleges.

    1. Make them use the same font and put it on the same glossy material as their other promotional materials.

  17. My contempt for the little snowflakes is doubled when I notice that while they can’t take it, they can sure as shit dish it out.

  18. The bursting of the college bubble will only mean one thing: College Bailouts.

    Especially the colleges that are too big to fail.

    1. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
      This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  19. The only thing that will fix the problem is to let the bubble burst and let the weak schools fall aside. NO bail out will do, no restructuring no planning from the Douche Bags that are part of the system now is going to “fix” anything long term

    It needs to crash before it learns not to crash.

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobs700.com

  21. There are some really nice new motorcycles out there. Take a look at the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS.
    And you’ll still have enough for two years at a community college, where they are still slightly closer to the real world (and a whole lot cheaper.)
    Then let the darlings get jobs and work for the rest of their education. It’s amazing how much more attention they will pay to learning and how much less to demonstrating.
    Then they can buy their own motorcycles.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.