Saturday, June 16, 2007

Evidence Makes Me Radical

By Richard Vedder

I started thinking seriously about higher education issues about a decade ago, and expressed my initial thoughts in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece. A few years and several iterations on my initial thoughts later, I embarked on writing Going Broke By Degree for the American Enterprise Institute. Three years later, after serving on the Spellings Commission and starting the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), my views on higher ed have continued to evolve.

Usually, the more you study something, the more moderate you become. The simple radical solutions prove to be impractical, infeasible, or not so simple as originally thought. My evolution, however, has been rather different --I have become more, not less, radicalized in my view that fundamental reform is needed in higher education. This viewed has evolved not because of some sort of ideological change of life, or a quasi-religious conversion of some sort. It has come from running regression models -- studying the evidence. The more evidence that I see that I believe is creditable and meaningful, the more I am convinced of the following:

* Too many students, not too few, are going to college;

* College and universities are extremely inefficient, and at the marginal public spending on them more likely lowers rather than raises economic growth;

* The federal financial aid programs have contributed to raising higher education costs, lowering efficiency, and increasing corruption within higher education --and done precious little good, sending few more kids to college than would have gone anyway (which, given the first point, is not all bad);

* Colleges and universities often violate an implicit contract with their donors in the way they allocate resources, very often paying scant attention to the needs of the undergraduate students who typically are their bread and butter;

*People need knowledge and skills more than ever, but alternative forms of providing those skills, such as vocational schools and on-the-job training are often superior and lower cost options.

*A greater percentage of entering college students should be attending community colleges, moving up to four year universities only if they succeed well at the community college level.

This is a blog, not a book, so I will stop here. Other things could be discussed, such as the fact that falling teaching loads and exploding salaries suggest the higher ed community on average is collecting "economic rents" --unnecessarily high payments --from their patrons. Stay tuned as CCAP enters its second year poised to raise a bigger fuss over the way our colleges and universities do business.


Ken D. said...

It certainly does seem that higher education in this country is ripe for major transformation. Costs ought to be reducible by an order of magnitude.

moses737 said...

Do you really think that our government who is a puppet of the New World Order globalist puppet masters want to see our young people in colleges!!?? No; they want them in Iraq fighting for their lives and playing war games.

For if the Iraquis don't kill them with their bombs and snipers; the foreign mercenaries and the CIA mercenaries will kill them if they try to get out of fighting an enemy that really is being invaded and not being the aggressors!! And then there is the depleted uranium that is also killing our young fighting men and women!! And then it is the vaccination shots that is also killing them slowly!!

I really believe that they are being sacrificed to the globalist luciferic lord Satan who hates America and would rather have us enslaved to the Chinese and Russians who we will be fighting in the near future!!

Either way; Americas youth are being systematically wiped out because the globalist are psychopathic and sociopathic and paranoid maniacs that are actually afraid of our young men!!

Plus they want to reduce the numbers of young men that could rise up and fight their coming NEW WORLD ORDER MARTIAL LAW!!!

But the Great God of Heaven will spoil their plans and bring them before His Great White Throne in the very near future!! After they have put Gods True Children in concentration camps to martyr us. As they think that this will drive God out of the world!!

But their plans will fail miserably and they will be judged and thrown into the Great Lake of Fire and Brimstone with lucifer and his fallen angels!! As God will plague the Earth with His Great 7 Plagues of Judgments for killing His Children!! And they will suffer for 42 months of hell on the Earth each and every day!!


Anonymous said...

I think it is a mistake to assume that universities as they exsisted in the 19th century were their to help people get a leg up in society. It was made for the wealthy, who weren't too concerned with life afterwards....the system continues much in that way today....

Joanna said...

Of course, these days a plumber makes quite a lot more than a postdoc with "only a Ph.D" (so says someone at the lab I work at). That said, many of those who have swelled the college population are working - and middle-class students - if the number of undergraduates decreased, those students would be pushed out, while the number of richer students (some of whom might be better plumbers than CEOs) would remain the same. Making a wider variety of career paths socially acceptable and teaching high schoolers that college is not a sine qua non of success is absolutely necessary to get rid ofthe glut of unskilled college grads (who could have spent those four years training at work, building a bond with a company and saving money, as was once the case) clogging up the workforce.

Shay said...

I believe Charles Murray has been saying this for years.
Sadly, I see no progress.