Monday, February 11, 2008


Melanie Scarborough: Stop throwing tax dollars at well-funded colleges -
Clearly, she was not a candidate for higher education; she hadn’t mastered fourth-grade geography. Yet after struggling to graduate from high school, she went on to attend one of Virginia’s state universities — exemplifying one of the reasons college costs now are so high: Taxpayers subsidize college for people better suited to asking, “You want fries with that?”

Only in Lake Wobegon is every child above average. In real life, not everyone can benefit from advanced education. Not every career demands it. But while a high school diploma historically meant that an individual had been adequately educated for adulthood — could speak and write grammatically, perform basic mathematics, and had a working knowledge of science, geography, civics, and history — as my young friends so ably demonstrated, that is no longer the case.

The failure of secondary education means that a college degree is roughly the equivalent of what a high school diploma was a generation ago. Consequently, college instruction is not necessarily higher education; in many cases, it’s remedial, with universities having to teach freshmen basics they should have learned in ninth grade. Employers know that, which is why even the most menial of jobs now requires a college degree — spawning lower-tier state universities that are essentially seat-selling operations.

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