Michael Barone

This doesn't just happen on the Left Coast. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington saved some money by lumping together two science departments and raised spending on its five diversity-multicultural offices.

But, to quote George W. Bush, is our students learning? Not very much, concludes the California Association of Scholars in its 87-page study of the University of California system.

Students aren't required to study American history or Western civilization. But they're subjected to a lot of political indoctrination by leftist activists. "Far too many" have not learned to write effectively to read "a reasonably complex book."

"In recent years, study after study has found that a college education no longer does what it once did and should do," the report concludes. "Students are being asked to pay considerably more and get considerably less."

That's the sort of thing that happens when you pump money into an insular system and don't hold its leaders accountable for results.

Many politicians' instinctive response is to pump in more money. But if you're stuck in a hole, it's a good idea to quit digging.

Millions of young Americans are living with the results. In a time of economic stagnation, the degrees they've earned haven't equipped them with basic work skills, much less expert knowledge that can command a premium even in a sluggish market.

And they're saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, which -- darn it! -- turns out not to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. They can get by on partial payments for a while, but interest keeps accumulating, to the point that Social Security checks may get dunned to pay for college.

Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of instapundit.com and a law professor at the University of Tennessee, says we're watching a higher education bubble that's just about to pop. That's what happens when you throw a lot of money at college and university administrators who don't have much common sense.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM