Phi Beta Cons

The Commission Turns Warm and Fuzzy

At its meeting in Indianapolis, the Commission on the Future of Higher Education — after releasing several very controversial papers that had the higher ed establishment gnashing their teeth — turned warm and fuzzy. The issues for discussion were the old, predictable standbys of greater access and success for low-income, minority and adult students. Read about it here.
Apparently, the conventional wisdom that just about everyone should go to college received no scrutiny. But what if we have already passed the point of diminishing returns on our “investment” in higher education? What if there is such a glut of college grads with low literacy that putting even more people through college would be a waste?
In an article published in the Oct. 2, 2005 New York Times, Louis Uchitelle took a look at some Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers showing that significant percentages of workers in “high school” jobs requiring little mental acuity have college degrees. For example, 17% of office clerks, 19% of theater ushers, 12% of derrick operators, and 37% of flight attendants have BAs. His conclusion: “Clearly there are more college graduates than unfilled jobs requiring their credentials.”
I wrote about this issue last year here.

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

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