I am frequently asked whether I would be willing to spend the money necessary to send my own kids to a four-year brick and mortar college. The answer used to be a qualified “yes.” But college isn’t what it used to be. So my answer is now a firm “probably not.”
While I once considered college to be a good investment for most high school graduates I have come to believe that it is a bad idea for most of them. Note that I am not saying that college simply doesn’t deliver the good things it once did. I am saying much more than that; namely that it often hurts young people. And it does so in at least four distinct ways:
1. Spiritually. Three out of four Christian teens walk away from church after they leave home. The fact that they do so is largely the result of what they encounter in college. Here in my department (Sociology and Criminology) at my university (UNC-Wilmington) the anti-Christian indoctrination begins in freshman survey courses. Feminist professors are seemingly incapable of discussing important issues like same-sex marriage without engaging in ad hominem attacks against Christians. For example, those who adhere to the majority view (in support of traditional marriage) are characterized by their feminist sociology professors as advancing “hetero-sexism” driven by “homo-phobia.” It is no wonder that in classroom discussions the students voice support for the professor’s opinion. They want to avoid being attacked personally. And so a false consensus emerges. Eventually the students abandon their worldview in a move based on the false premise that their views are somehow out of sync with social progress.
Just in case the student retains some of his religious upbringing an array of special programs and special offices – designed to indoctrinate on religious issues –is there to reinforce your child’s spiritual drift. Our own LGBTQIA Office organizes specific lectures teaching kids that their biblical views on sexuality are actually a form of mental illness, or phobia. This helps explain the second way kids are often harmed by college.
2. Morally. I don’t know when it first hit me. Maybe it was when I saw our (former) Women’s Resource Center director handing out condoms to students during orientation. Or maybe it was when I read about the “sexual health expert” who gave a lecture (on a UNC campus) called “Safe Sodomy.” Or maybe it was the time they erected (sorry) a vibrator museum on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. No, I think it was the time our Women’s Center put pictures of nude little girls in the lobby of Randall Library. Yes, that was the moment it really hit me. It was right after seeing the exposed breasts and pubic hair of a thirteen year old girl on public display (sorry) in the library that I arrived at an important conclusion: Our universities are being run by some deeply disturbed people who, with feet planted firmly in mid-air, are simply incapable of providing moral leadership. Incidentally, the child porn display was posted only a few feet from a display advocating national health care for, you guessed it, prostitutes. I’m sorry. Sex workers.
It is little wonder why these people attack our Judeo-Christian heritage. Sodom and Gomorrah University cannot thrive in the presence of God. And that is why your child stands almost no chance of being improved morally in the typical college environment.
3. Intellectually. Put simply, college makes most kids think less, not more (and certainly not better). If you don’t believe me try having a conversation with a current college student. And pick a topic like economics – one that should be dominated by reason, not emotion. Throw out a few rational observations and note the emotive responses. You might find yourself in a conversation like this one:
Adult (who went to college prior to the 1990s): Social security simply is not sustainable. When the program was established we had over twenty workers paying in for every retiree drawing out. Now we only have a few workers paying in for every retiree drawing out. If we do not abolish the program we will have to increase the age of eligibility.
Emotional college student: I feel like social security is a good idea. It would be calloused to abolish it and I feel like it would be wrong to increase the age of eligibility.
Adult: The stimulus package was a failure – even if we judge it only by the standards of its proponents. In other words, it fails objectively by the standards it was promised to deliver.
Emotional college student: Even if it failed before, I feel like it could work if we tried it again.
Adult: The national debt just reached the level of our current GDP. And the Dow dropped over 500 points recently. It’s tough to understand how we’re going to be able to afford national health care and another stimulus package.
Emotional college student: I just feel like national health care is something we need to do – something we need to provide for our weakest citizens. I feel like we could afford it if we would just stop fighting all these wars.
Author’s note: Unfortunately, you have just read excerpts from a recent conversation between this author and a college student who has never drawn a paycheck. The author will return to this issue momentarily.
4. Financially. My university is facing budgets cuts of over 15% in the coming academic year. We could easily cut more than 15% from the budget by doing two things: a) Getting rid of six-digit high level administrators who have overlapping jobs and limited responsibilities. b) Getting rid of the unnecessary offices that house unnecessary mid-level administrators. Start with the Queer Politics Center (The LGBTQIA Resource Office). But don’t stop there. Get rid of the Black Separatist Center (The African American Cultural Center). Then, close down the Abortion Politics Center (The Women’s Resource Center). Let these people pursue politics on their own dime.
It will never happen, though. The administrators will all stay employed and the offices will all remain open. They’ll just raise tuition to cover the shortfall from the proposed budget cuts. In this economy, that means that after your kid graduates from college his part time job as a bartender will become his full time job as a bartender. And he’ll need those extra hours because, guess what? Now he’s got debt! And the interest on student loans is about to skyrocket.
There are many jobs out there that require a college education. Doctors must have degrees before they can go to medical school. Lawyers must have degrees before they go to law school. But college is no longer affordable. And that means college is no longer a place to go to figure out what you want to do with your life. So if your teenager is uncertain about what he wants to do then tell him to stay home for a year or two and get a job. And save some money.
After your teen draws a paycheck for a year or two he’ll be less inclined to adopt an economic philosophy based on feelings, not reality. He will be able to use his savings to keep his debt under control should he decide to go to college later. And, best of all, he’ll gain some maturity that will shield him against the spiritual and moral decline his professors call “enlightenment” and “liberation.”