This article requires a slow, careful reading. It offers a devastating and provocative critique of modern higher education and, in particular, the ranking of schools which leads to something of a caste system. A few excerpts:
“As union jobs have disappeared, participation in the labor force, the political system, and cultural affairs is increasingly regulated by professional guilds that require their members to spend the best years of life paying exorbitant tolls and kissing patrician rings.”
“Like the market for skin care products, the market for credentials is inexhaustible: as the bachelor’s degree becomes democratized, the master’s degree becomes mandatory for advancement. Our elaborate, expensive system of higher education is first and foremost a system of stratification, and only secondly — and very dimly — a system for imparting knowledge.”
“As the credentialism compulsion seeps down the socioeconomic ladder, universities jack up fees and taxi drivers hire $200-an-hour SAT tutors for their children. The collective impact may be ruinous, but for individuals the outlays seem justified. As a consequence, college tuitions are nowhere near their limit; as long as access to the workforce is controlled by the bachelor’s degree, students will pay more and more.”
Read the whole thing. Even if you don’t agree with it all, it’s an engaging, lucid, and forceful article.
HT: Nancy Pearcey