The Decline and Fall of Higher Education

Nearly everyone outside academia knows that America’s colleges and universities are doing a poor job of preparing their charges for adult life.  Undergraduate education, nonetheless, continues to enjoy tremendous prestige. Few upper middle class parents would prefer a gainfully employed child to one attending university; indeed, for most affluent parents, the former would be a source of embarrassment. Higher education’s social esteem makes it hard to fully assimilate its well-known failings but it also completely hides the worst. For, you see, the biggest problem isn’t the facts and skills students don’t learn, it’s the bad habits they do. I was a philosophy professor for 13 years and, at the beginning, I noticed that my colleagues weren’t requiring much from students and the deleterious effect of this on the latter’s work habits. So, I tried making my students work to get good grades. But, regardless of the penalties I imposed, it was...(Read Full Article)