A few weeks ago, Education Secretary Arne Duncan opined that a college degree is still “absolutely worth it.” Ashley Thorne of the National Association of Scholars recently wrote a devastating rebuttal, arguing that it’s foolish to make such a sweeping pronouncement, because many young Americans obviously don’t benefit from having college degrees. Certainly not financially, since lots of college grads wind up in low-skill, low-pay jobs. (And that’s not a recent development either — it’s been true for decades that college grads are “spilling over” into what have traditionally been “high-school jobs.”)
I’d add that it’s also not true intellectually. We lure many young people who are disengaged from the academic world into college (usually with the promise of good jobs and high earnings after they graduate), and while in school, they mostly enjoy the “beer and circus” environment. Learning? Why let that get in the way of fun?