With President Obama hoping to turn the United States into the world’s greatest diploma mill, and greedy public university leaders shamelessly demanding more of everyone’s tax money, a critical question must be asked: Do more college degrees necessarily mean greater human capital? In a terrific essay, the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s George Leef answers with a resounding “no”:
Let’s put it this way: passing a college course no more indicates a human capital gain than just going to a gym indicates an improvement in physical fitness.
To get through college, many students don’t have to become better at reading, at writing, at math, at logic. Sadly, the key consideration at many colleges is not educational excellence or even modest progress, but simply enrolling and collecting tuition from as many students as possible. Therefore, course content has been watered down and expectations lowered so that even the weakest and most disengaged students can pass. As Steve Balch, founder of the National Association of Scholars says, “We don’t so much have higher education these days, as longer education.”
It all comes down to this: Bloviate all they want about the “common good,” people in higher education are just as self‐interested as anyone else, and will do whatever they can to get the most money for doing whatever makes their lives the easiest. And the best way to ensure that this yields the worst possible outcomes for everyone else? Rather than requiring schools and students to earn your money, have government just keep handing it over to them.