A century ago, our culture respected “college boys,” kids who not only graduated high school, but managed to get accepted into college. Yes, “college boys” tended to be wealthy, so there was certainly some elitism here, but the fact remained that going to college was considered an honorable, respectable, achievement, and a sign of future success (a sign that was fairly accurate back then).
I don’t want to come across as elitist, but nothing has denigrated the value and respect of going to college, much less a college degree, than opening up admissions to everyone. In the name of growth (and fatter paychecks for the folks running the places), most of our institutions have changed their polices to be open admission. Being a “college boy” is as much an achievement as buying a cheeseburger.
In addition to allowing entrance to everyone, many of our campuses turned into playgrounds at best, and indoctrination camps at worst. I’ve covered the ideologically induced riots a few times, but there’s more damage being done here than just the riots:
Slutty sheep: Veteran academics warn college students are going off the rails
The “slutty sheep” reference above is in regards to the sexual promiscuity on our campuses. Every campus of any size (and all campuses do all they can to be as large as possible) has a “meat market” nearby where college kids go to drink and copulate with abandon.
…their sexual promiscuity is practically the only part of their lives that their colleges refuse to police…
I know how bizarre my next anecdote sounds, but I feel the need to add my eyewitness testimony. A friend of mine’s daughter was born, and I watched her grow up for 18 years. She grew up into a pretty young woman, smart (she scored higher than I did on those standardized tests), and barely dated in high school. Darn near the first thing she did when she went to a top tier university? Register on Tinder to find males to copulate with. I got to be there for the fallout/bailouts as these “relationships” consistently ended badly.
I’ve certainly heard many similar stories, as well as seen with my own eyes. We really, really, need to start asking questions about what happened in our culture that makes such behavior commonplace. Tinder exists for a reason, so I don’t think my anecdote should be discounted.
The author of Excellent Sheep, which fleshes out his views on the failure of elite education, told the Franciscan crowd that most students nowadays think that being intellectual simply means getting good grades.
I grant every generation of scholars says things much like the above, so much of it can be discounted. But there is a grain of relevant truth here:
He began assigning A-minus grades to students whose papers simply checked all the necessary boxes for an A but didn’t add any real insight, while working with those students to help them find their own intellectual voice.
Educationist theory has warped quite a bit of higher education, and the article only implicitly touches on one way it’s been deformed. While in the past, your papers were “must be 10 pages, must have 6 references” and past that it was up to the professor to grade them, today’s assignments often have “grading rubrics,” a page of boxes, of moronic guidelines that tell the student exactly what to include in the assignment, and when, and how, in what order, in what way. So now students follow a “paint by numbers” approach to assignments, checking off boxes to get their guaranteed A (or in this case, A-). Rubrics make grading easy enough that the professor’s job can be automated…we really should resist this stuff, for several good reasons.
“…students go into fields including law, medicine and finance because they assume it will yield a lucrative career, not because they actually have a passion for those disciplines.”
Allow me to put in my obligatory rant against the student loan scam here. All the money flowing into higher education has forced the reasonable students to abandon scholarly work, and they know their only hope of paying off their student loans is to choose a field which, hopefully pays well. The authors complain, rightfully, that they don’t get students interested in academics anymore, but somehow don’t realize the student loan scam is another reason for this, with open admissions supplemental to the problem.
“…colleges only act in the place of a parent selectively, Guroian said: If colleges are policing alcohol and drug use, why aren’t they policing where and when students are in situations where they can behave promiscuously?”
The author mostly focuses on the sexual escapades which seem to be the focus of many students, but seem to miss other issues on campus. Yes, our schools do indeed police alcohol and drug use, but it’s important to understand schools also guide our students into a certain ideology, to the point that some schools even employ commissars to police student activity on social media (i.e., off campus). We truly have thought police on campus today, and they even reach off campus…the author doesn’t seem to know that the ideology being enforced rather supports sexual profligacy.
He believes colleges are “unreformable,” and that any attempt at reining in the problem of sexual libertinism will only cause more problems.
I’m not ready to throw in the towel here. If we just shut down the student loan scam, I strongly suspect the student base will drop considerably, and that much of the remaining students will be more focused on education than copulation. I think it’s a risk worth taking.
Guroian said he’s “dreading the idea” of his grandchildren reaching college age.
There is no greater damning sign of higher education than having professors tell their kids “don’t do what I’ve done, do not get into academia,” and yet that’s what we’re seeing here. I already saw it myself when I was at a scammy community college, and saw the looks of disgust on my co-workers and boss’s faces when I suggest their kids come to the community college.
There are many issues plaguing higher ed today, and our leaders in the media and education scream that these issues are unimportant, not worthy of addressing. A simple test to see if they believe their own words? Find out what they’re doing with their kids after the kids graduate high school.