The importance of college

Courtesy of that famous historical black college alumnus, Bane:

My colleagues and I were witnessing the result of low admission standards. Were we expecting too much of young people who scored poorly on the SAT, who were rarely challenged to excel in high school, who were not motivated to take advantage of opportunities to learn, who could not imagine where a sound education could take them?

An unfortunate truth was that most of my colleagues and I never got an opportunity to teach the breadth of our knowledge. I had great difficulty, for example, teaching something as simple as the distinction between “historic” and “historical” or between “infer” and “imply, ” distinctions that careful writers, especially journalists, want to know.

I wasn’t the only one. A white professor labored to get her students to critically read the assignments. She could not discuss the major themes and literary conventions when her students did not read. When she got nowhere with Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, she asked me to speak to the class. Perhaps a black professor would have more success talking about one of the best-known black authors.

A few minutes into my exchange with the class, I realized the white professor was not the problem. The students simply did not – or could not – read closely….

The majority of my students in the English class failed to complete most of the assigned readings. Most of their essays were unacceptable, and attendance was low. I had a choice: Abandon my syllabus or flunk more than half of the class.

I abandoned the syllabus.

Of course he did. Because he’s an educator. I was amused by Dr. Helen’s and Ann Althouse’s concern that there are are fewer and fewer men attending college these days. BFD! One will learn more by spending $1,000 at Amazon and reading for six months than one will by spending $150,000 and four years at an Ivy League university.

Sure, college degrees are required now for a lot of jobs. But that’s only going to last as long as it takes for businesses to realize that clueless HR departments who use pieces of paper in place of a demonstration of competence to be a fundamental structural problem that prevents them from hiring the most capable employees.

And if you’re genuinely capable, doesn’t it make more sense to pick up a piece of paper from an Internet paper mill for a few hundred dollars instead of blowing four years to get a more recognizable piece of paper?