Connecticut’s big deal is not superior but inferior
As it was inscribed on the pedestal of the statue of the founder of the university Emil Faber in the film “Animal House”, “Knowledge is good”. But knowledge can be expensive, as the growing clamor over student loan cancellation may soon demonstrate.
President-elect Joe Biden and the Democrats in the new Congress will offer various forms of forgiveness, and this will have the support of the Congressional delegation from Connecticut, all Democrats.
Student loan debt is huge, estimated at $ 1.6 trillion, and five Connecticut colleges were cited by the U.S. Department of Education last week for leaving their students’ parents with particularly high debt. There are many horror stories about borrowers who will never be able to pay what they owe.
But these horror stories are not typical. Most student loan debt is owed by people who can afford to pay and come from higher income families. Relief for some debtors may be appropriate, but what about students who sacrificed themselves with their parents to pay for their own college education? What will they get for their conscience? Only higher taxes and a devalued currency.
Student loan debt relief shouldn’t be solved without an investigation into what the country got for its spending boom on higher education. Was all the expense worth it?
Probably not even close. A 2014 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that many college graduates find themselves in jobs that don’t require a college education. A similar study conducted a year earlier by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity found that there were 46 percent more college graduates in the US workforce than there were jobs requiring a college degree and degrees were held by 25 percent of salespeople, 22 percent of customer service representatives, 16 percent of telemarketers, 15 percent of taxi drivers, and 14 percent of letter carriers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that college graduates who took less sophisticated jobs didn’t enjoy college, learned useful things, and improved their appreciation of life. But those who have racked up heavy debts to find themselves in jobs that cannot easily support them may feel cheated.
Some consolation is that college graduates tend to earn more in their lifetimes than others. But is it because of the increase in knowledge and skills, or because of the accreditation that higher education has contaminated society? If it is a simple degree, the university is a heavy tax on society.
Public education in Connecticut may be more of a diploma than an apprenticeship, because due to social advancement one can graduate from high school here without having learned anything since kindergarten and can graduate from a public college without having learned much more, a public college being to a large extent just a remedial high school.
Some people in Connecticut advocate making public college attendance free, at least for students from poor families. But even for these students, would a free public college be an incentive to do well in high school once they found out that they did not need any academic qualifications to enter a public college and were able to do so? take remedial classes in high school?
Even the student loans and government grants to higher education that underpin important research and learning work are largely grants to college educators and administrators, whose salary growth is closely tied to these loans and grants. Many college educators show their appreciation by disliking having to teach simple undergraduates instead of being left alone to do obscure research that has nothing to do with curing cancer or preventing the next one. asteroid attack. They prefer to strut around calling themselves “Doctor” and “Professor” until the cows come home reciting Shakespeare.
The critical neglect of Connecticut and the country is inferior education, not higher education, especially now that the government is abdicating the growing number of teachers’ unions by closing schools, where the threat of the virus epidemic is low. This suspends the education, socialization, exercise and general growth of young people without protecting the most vulnerable to the virus, the frail elderly. Forgiving college loans won’t be much more relevant to education than this crazy policy.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.