It is probably no surprise to a lot of us in higher education that “45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.”
(Lest I be accused of America-bashing, in talking with international students, I got an even worse impression of universities in some other countries, e.g. Italy and France.)
Not much is asked of students, either. Half did not take a single course requiring 20 pages of writing during their prior semester, and one-third did not take a single course requiring even 40 pages of reading per week.
An awful lot of students in university classrooms simply should not be there. They are not prepared—academically, psychologically, or both.
(“Psychologically unprepared” would have applied to me as a freshman too. I struggled along and “woke up” midway through my second year.)
These students are there because they are told to “get a college degree,” whereupon they will be magic somehow.
Now we hear more and more about a higher education bubble on the point of bursting, just like the real estate market.
Get a degree, have thousands of dollars in student-loan debt, and work at Starbucks. It’s not a viable model of higher education if the cost keeps rising but the benefits of paying them do not seem to be there.
If this realization reaches a tipping point, it won’t be good for academic employment for us professors.
The fiscal conservative in me says, “Go ahead, shut down a few state schools. All but about three states are running budget deficits and need to save money.”
And then I wonder if any of my academic friends would lose jobs or be unable to find jobs if that happened. But it might happen anyway.
Erin O’Connor comments too and has a more clever headline.
And Vanity Fair delivers the snark.