Quote of the day (so far)

March 27, 2008, 5:26 am

From George Leef in this post at Phi Beta Cons (responding to this earlier post):

The fact is [sic] the matter is that some bright and energetic young people do extremely well in life without ever earning a degree, while on the other hand, many others who get their college degrees wind up doing jobs that call for no academic preparation whatsoever. Formal academic coursework is of little benefit to students who are not intellectually inclined, and as our K-12 system deteriorates and graduates increasing numbers of disengaged students, college will do less and less good.

It seems like there is a growing refrain that unless a kid gets a college degree, that kid has no chance of getting a job that will earn a living wage, and  that kid will be something of a liability rather than an asset to society. Barack Obama was in Indy a couple of weeks ago and said this almost word-for-word; I believe his exact wording was “The days when a person could earn a living wage on a high school degree are over.”

That may be true, but it’s not an if-and-only-if proposition. A college education is no guarantee of anything, and in fact it’s useless if it is expended on people who are unprepared for college and uninterested in learning. The real value of a college education is realized only when it is joined by students who are well-prepared and, as Leef says, “intellectually inclined” — which I take to mean having a good work ethic and some modicum of a desire to learn for the sheer pleasure of learning, rather than some mistaken idea that college = job.

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