In today’s Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley suggests that for many students, it is. Read her provocative column here.
She picks up on the ISI study finding lamentable weakness among college students (and seniors knowing little more than freshmen at most schools) and wonders why that should be the case. Answer:
Because college increasingly offers a crazed social experience at the
expense of rigorous study. But high school does it better: It is often the
last time that students are forced to learn something. Parents make their
kids show up at school. More than a few teachers convey basic skills and
knowledge. After-school life centers on burnishing a college application,
not binge drinking. AP courses, where they exist exploit these structured
years for maximum learning.
She is quite right. For many families, college is just a luxury good, an “experience” for the kids that costs a bundle but doesn’t do much more than to put a fancy piece of paper on the wall.