The Higher Education Model is Shifting

The one thing that Marx did get right was that economics is the machine that drives the production of man. The indoctrination camps that would follow in various communist sovereignties were of course polemically out of line. Don’t think that a modicum of this model hasn’t infiltrated the American education system through the mean faced, clipped-haired women in the National Education Association.

They have spent the last forty years lying to the masses that any student can be a doctor, lawyer, or wholesale jeweler. Armed with nothing but special needs accommodations (Yes, I’m talking to you kids who go to Dartmouth because you got a doctor’s note that said you have ADD and need an extra 3 hours to take the SAT), the future of America heads off to the land of lower learning, known as college. As an aside, the Greek system takes another hit as news of alleged sexual misconduct has appeared at Swarthmore College, perennially ranked first or second in the nation as a liberal arts school. I wonder if anything would change if we called it a “conservative arts” school.

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Based on a Kaplan University Partners-Quest Research study, the paradigm will shift over the next decade, from one of instead of going to college to get a job, students will increasingly be going to a job to get a college degree. According to Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education & Workforce Development at Gallup, “I predict as many as one-third of all traditional students in the next decade will “Go Pro Early” in work directly out of high school with the chance to earn a college degree as part of the package.” This is a novel approach to a huge problem in academia.

You don’t have to be omniscient to know that the days of the $75,000 a year liberal arts education are about over. This model may save the average American student, who is utterly ill-equipped to compete in today’s job market. As I’ve mentioned before, there will always be a need for the best and brightest in the hard sciences. When you’re lying on the gurney being wheeled into open-heart surgery, do you want the doctor with 20 years of experience at Johns Hopkins, or the doctor who checked the right boxes on her application and is looking forward to making $75,000 a year under Medicare for all?

The strong value placed on work by parents of the coming generation of college students represents a major pendulum swing. Statistics will bare this out. According to the same Kaplan survey, when asked about a potential new pathway for their children to get a college degree, 74% of all parents of K-12 students would consider a route where their child would be hired directly out of high school by an employer that offers a college degree while working. Remarkably, there are no meaningful differences in support for this new pathway by the parent’s education level, race, income or political affiliation. I wonder if Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have read this research.

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