The Corner


What’s Gone Wrong with Our Higher Education System?

The short answer is: government intervention.

So argues economics professor Richard Vedder in his latest book on the subject, Restoring the Promise. In today’s Martin Center piece, I review it.

Going to college costs vastly more than it needs to. Vast numbers of students who are unprepared for and hardly interested in college-level academic work are drawn into our system just in pursuit of an increasingly empty credential. Many learn nothing of value. The curriculum has been degraded and politicized. Tremendous sums are spent on stuff that has nothing to do with education. None of those problems would exist, Vedder argues, without the gusher of federal money that began with LBJ.

And yet he’s optimistic that we will, eventually, restore higher education. Better information combined with the power of marketplace competition will clean up the awful mess that government has made.

There’s a small mountain of books on higher education and I recommend reading Vedder’s first.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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