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 Education for Life
Obama Continues Pushing Absurd College Agenda
American Thinker, United States Wednesday, August 18, 2010

George Leef
Obama's idea that we should raise the college graduation arted to regail leadership is as absurd as his notion that the way to increase employment and output is through government "stimulus" spending. Many college graduates end up in low paying jobs. Marginally performing students are coming to the conclusion that college won't do them any good, and they are right taking in the context of their lives. More Government spending will put money in the pockets of bureaucrats, professor and other parasites, but won't do any good, writes George Leef in American Thinker.


Barack Obama's notion that the way to increase employment and output is through government "stimulus" spending is one such idea. There never was any reason to believe that, and only die-hard Keynesians persist in this wishful thinking.

Another such idea is his idea that the United States is "falling behind" other nations with regard to college graduation rates, and it's necessary for us to regain "leadership." Obama first raised that idea back in February 2009, and on August 9 of this year, he said exactly the same thing in a speech at the University of Texas.

... ...

The first point to observe is that "our" college graduation rate is just a statistical artifact, like "our" home ownership rate and "our" voting rate. To people imbued with a central planning mindset, such statistics betoken national success or failure. In fact, the nation isn't doing anything. Millions of individuals are deciding whether or not to go to college and complete the course of study. Students and parents make those decisions with good (but not necessarily perfect) knowledge of the student's capabilities, the costs of college, and the prospective benefits of doing so.

Therefore, when Obama pronounces America's college graduation rate "unacceptable," he's saying that many of us are making the wrong decision. In an unguarded moment, he might even say that some Americans are behaving "stupidly" (like the Cambridge police) in not choosing to get their college degrees and thereby preventing us from "retaking the lead." On the contrary, there are strong reasons to believe that college education has already been greatly oversold and many of those who have "invested" in it are going to regret their decision.


Some students -- those who are well-prepared for college and intent on learning -- will gain a lot of knowledge from their coursework, knowledge that might turn into a high-paying career. Unfortunately, a large number of young Americans are poorly prepared for college, disengaged from academic work, and mainly interested in college because it can be, as the title of a new book puts it, The Five Year Party.

... ...

If we already are graduating many young people from college who learn little and will wind up in jobs that most high school kids could do, why should we want more of them?

Many young Americans, especially those who are academically marginal students, correctly see college as a nearly worthless boondoggle costing a lot of scarce time and money. That explains why college enrollment rates are not going up.


But shouldn't we worry about "falling behind" other countries?


The truth is that there is no direct connection between national prosperity and "educational attainment."

That is the crucial point Professor Alison Wolf makes in her eye-opening book Does Education Matter? She demonstrates that it's neither necessary nor sufficient for a growing, prosperous economy for a country to get the maximum number of its citizens through college.

It does, however, have some political advantages for the president and his party. Our higher education establishment is one of the most loyal and vigorous supporters of the Democrats and their "progressive" agenda. Putting more kids through college means more money in the pockets of the overwhelmingly leftist administrators and professors. Furthermore, since the intellectual influence on college students is much more apt to drive them toward statism than toward individual liberty and free markets, the more young people go to college, the bigger the voting bloc for leftist candidates.


This article was published in the American Thinker on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author : George Leef is Director of of Research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
Tags- Find more articles on - higher education | obama

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