Never have so many paid so much to so few for so little.
I refer here, of course, to American families' expenditures on
But there is good news. A recent article in The New York Times
about the mountain of education debt owed by college graduates -- an average
of $27,600 -- reports that "fewer students than ever say taking out loans to
attend college was worth it."
Americans have so long believed that it is necessary to spend a
great amount of money on a college education that few ever questioned these
skyrocketing costs. But with high paying jobs increasingly hard to find,
many students now find themselves stuck with college loans that will take
them many years to repay. There is nothing like financial pain to focus the
mind on the question of whether one has received fair value for money spent.
And regarding college tuition, the answer is usually a resounding no.
With very few exceptions, any tuition over $10,000 is rarely
worth it. This is especially so for students in what is variously called the
humanities, the social sciences (a term that is even more deceptive than the
tuition), or the liberal arts. In the natural sciences, where students learn
without being propagandized, a high tuition is far more often justifiable.
But for the student majoring in subjects such as English,
political science or sociology, or in feel-aggrieved programs such as
women's studies, students are paying enormous sums of money to be
politicized by highly paid and underworked radicals.
The tragedy of contemporary American college education has been
described in depth by the late scholar Prof. Allan Bloom in his best-selling
book, "The Closing of the American Mind," by Professors Alan Charles Kors
and Harvey A. Silverglate in their major work, "The Shadow University: The
Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses," and by many others.
Suffice it to say, therefore, that vast numbers of college
students outside of the sciences learn too little, rarely have their minds
opened and rarely learn to love learning. If you major in English, for
example, you are far less likely to immerse yourself in studying Shakespeare
than in deconstructing him and others dismissed as Dead White European
Our colleges are dominated by "post-moderns" and other nihilists
for whom seeking truth is regarded as a reactionary fraud, not an academic
ideal. For these professors, deans and presidents, the primary purpose of
the university is to mold students in their images -- people alienated from
America and from God.
One extraordinary result was noted recently by Harvard President
Lawrence Summers: the university has now become a center of anti-Semitism
(as it has long been for anti-Americanism), the only such center in
mainstream American life.
None of this used to matter to most American parents and
students. But two significant changes are taking place.
First, awareness of the anti-American, morally deconstructed and
simply foolish ideas (e.g., men and women are essentially the same; Islamic
and Christian fundamentalists are moral equivalents) that saturate
universities is finally seeping into the American consciousness. Second,
Americans are also beginning to realize that one of the most widely accepted
beliefs in modern life -- that it really matters what college you attend --
may not be true. For the most part, what college you go to doesn't amount to
a hill of beans.
If you find that hard to believe, answer these questions: Do you
know what college your most trusted physician or lawyer attended? Do you
know what college the writers or clergy you most admire attended? Do you
care? Did you choose your spouse or any of your friends on the basis of what
college they attended? In other words, can you name one area of life where
the prestige of a person's alma mater has mattered to you?
If you want to spend money on your college-aged child, try this:
Pay him or her $5,000 or even more to attend a much cheaper college. You
save money, your child makes money. And many radicals will have to seek