Those observations are exactly right, and eye-popping only to those who have never tried teaching college classes where most of the students are academically weak, disengaged from the learning enterprise, insistent upon entertainment and praise no matter how poor their work, and enrolled in college only because they’ve been led to believe that a college degree is the key to success in life.
The higher-ed establishment wants people to believe that college is all about serious study, the building of skills, and human-capital accumulation. For some, it emphatically is. But because of the mania for growth (most college and university presidents have subscribed to the idea that success is measured by the numbers of students processed through their institutions), the U.S. has a large number of schools that will accept almost anyone.
In a class where few of the students will read anything more than short, easy assignments and put in a minimal amount of study time (hey — there’s fun stuff to do on a college campus!), the result is education in name only. That reality is an embarrassment to the people who are constantly pushing for more “investment” in higher education. You’ll never hear them acknowledge that many students (or as a friend who teaches at a small college terms them, “tuitioners”) are just going through the motions necessary to buy a degree.