NRO’s old friend Robert VerBruggen, now at RealClearPolicy, challenges a recent piece by Dylan Mathews that makes the claim that “college is worth it” here. He does an excellent job of rebutting the jaded statistical case that many Americans who don’t go to college are missing out on a big earnings boost.
This debate is much like the debate between Keynesians, who theorize from mountains of data on how best to manage the economy, and Austrians, who insist on looking at real people and the incentives they confront. If you only look at the statistics about earnings averages, it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that far more kids ought to be in college. If you look at what actually happens in many classrooms, where indifferent students coast through low-expectation courses and are scarcely any better equipped to deal with life when they graduate than when they entered, you come to a much different conclusion.