Stephen Gallup

College? No thanks.

Here’s another thought-provoking article by Tom Larson, whom I recall also wrote about real estate just before everyone realized that had become a bubble. The guy who runs the Instapundit web portal often links to [news items][1] reinforcing his theme that higher education is the next such fiasco. The topic has my attention, since I’ve got a bright middle-schooler whose friends all want to go to Harvard--and think she’s weird because she doesn’t. She doesn’t because she knows I’d be opposed even if it were free. And yet I think education can be a great thing, even for its own sake, apart from whatever it does for one’s earning potential. *Learning*, of course, is always possible, via books, DVD courses, etc. A proper formal education, seems to me, would involve close relationships between eager young scholars and eminent greybeards who’re ready to share their perspectives. The reality in most cases is huge lecture halls with tests graded by TAs, and ever-increasing tuition fees to support expanding administrative staffs. Most kids seem to think going to class and completing assignments is enough. To be honest, at that age I did too. Another argument for going, especially to the name-brand schools, is the prospect of forming alliances with that rare fellow student who’ll end up inventing the next Facebook, i.e., it’s the chance to piggy-back into a lucrative opportunity. Yes, but to me that still seems like a long shot, in view of the cost. Factor in the inevitable courses that will be an absolute, blatant waste of time, and the reality that many graduates have poorer earning potential than a plumber or heavy-equipment operator, and it’s very hard to see why college should be in every kid’s future. But on the other hand, the alternative, with its lack of obvious direction, can be scary. As Davis mentions in the article, life gets in the way of pursuing an education. That’s the best argument for going after it early, before things become too complicated. And even though it may otherwise be meaningless, having a degree does indeed mean a lot to employers. If you don’t have it, you’d better have some other accomplishment or quality that’s just as impressive. Sure hope we get this sorted out before my daughter finishes high school. [1]:
— August 15, 2013 9:47 a.m.

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