Phi Beta Cons


John is right. Sowell’s column is well worth reading.
I think he makes a particularly important point when he writes, “the negative effect of students who are not serious can be detrimental to the education of those who are. I found this to be true in each of the five colleges and universities where I taught, as well as in each of the three universities from which I received degrees.”
The people who advocate college for everyone (such as John Edwards) never consider that the population of young people who don’t enroll in some sort of higher education today is composed almost entirely of academically weak and disinterested students. Putting them into college classrooms won’t transform them into eager “lifelong learners” (to use a cloying phrase beloved of the education establishment), but they will impede the learning of the students who are serious. Weak students are more likely to disrupt class and the administrative pressure to keep them content enough to stay enrolled drives down academic expectations for everyone.
Sowell experienced this problem many years ago at high-level institutions. Today it is worse across the board and extremely serious at our many non-selective schools.

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


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