The Education Bubble.

It is a very long time since I graduated from college. I have been teaching medical students for 15 years until I finally retired two years ago.

My five children have all attended college and all but one have graduated. Three have advanced degrees.

The most recent graduate, my youngest daughter, was taught some untruths at the University of Arizona a few years ago.

For example, she was taught, in her “US History Since 1877” course that “The Silent Majority” consisted of white people who refused to accept the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That was in her final exam review study guide. There was no mention of Nixon or the Vietnam War.

My theory is that university faculties when I attended were mostly World War II veterans or older and I could never sense the political affiliation of any of them. During the Vietnam War, colleges became refuges for anti-war students who stayed in grad school to avoid the draft. Since they were mostly strongly leftist in sympathy, they have perpetuated the leftist bias in faculty by recruiting similar students and by rejecting those who hold more conservative views.

As evidence I offer Steve Hayward’s report on hiring practices today.

Here is the announcement.

Evidence of ability for excellence in teaching and research grounded in political theory and focusing on topics central to the discipline at large: e.g., ancient, modern, and contemporary theories; democratic theory; critical race theory; immigration; the carceral state; postcolonial theory; identity; hybridity; intersectionality; queer theory; deconstruction’s focus on alterity; globalization, and neoliberalism.

What the hell is “the carceral state?” I suppose that refers to BLM theories that black males are unfairly incarcerated.

What about the high school level ? They are graduating illiterates who are going to college.

An internal email obtained by WAMU and NPR from April shows two months before graduation, only 57 students were on track to graduate, with dozens of students missing graduation or community service requirements or failing classes needed to graduate. In June, 164 students received diplomas.

According to a teacher at Ballou, this feat was accomplished by “smoke and mirrors.”

Teachers felt pressure from administration to pass chronically absent students, and students knew the school administration would do as much as possible to get them to graduation.

And Teachers we spoke with say if they questioned administration, they were painted as “haters” who don’t care about students.

The results have been what you would expect:

Last year, 9 percent of students there passed the English standardized test. No one passed the math test. The average SAT score last year among Ballou test takers was 782 out of 1600.

Achievement must be earned. It cannot be mandated by the authorities. Now all of these kids are in college, presumably subsisting on financial aid provided by taxpayers. Their illiteracy and habit of blowing off classes must leave them plenty of time for Black Lives Matter protests. When they are not made Chairman of the Board immediately upon graduation, they will blame it on racism, and for the most part the media will concur.

This is why I think education is in an existential crisis. These kids will never repay student loans. Eventually, the level of delinquency will overwhelm the system.

The Data.

Balances of student loans have eclipsed both auto loans and credit cards, making student loan debt the largest form of consumer debt outside of mortgages. These interactive charts show how student loan borrowing and delinquency rates vary among age groups and over time.

It will never be repaid. The next question is what happens to these illiterates when they graduate from college, as they certainly will. Many will drop out but there will be some illiterate graduates.

15 thoughts on “The Education Bubble.”

  1. By the way, in the FT of 28th November:

    Oxford University plans to sell £250m of 100-year bonds as it turns to the capital markets for the first time in its history.

    The triple A rated university has hired JPMorgan to arrange investor meetings this week in London and Edinburgh.

  2. “Oxford University plans to sell £250m of 100-year bonds as it turns to the capital markets for the first time in its history.”

    Good. It will take down the class that supports this stuff with it.

  3. Nearly all if not all the early American universities(and certainly all the ‘ivy league’) trace their origin back to groups of Christians putting their money where their mouths were. These people believed their convictions rooted in absolute truth and hence that those who would minister to them should have a solid education. That would best equip those ministers to read the Bible in original languages, to have familiarity with those who had been doing so for millenia and who had left written record of their work, to master the process of thinking, of logic, and of speaking so that they could be qualified teachers.

    William Buckley explored this in “God and Man at Yale”. About 4 decades later in the 1990’s George Marsden wrote “The Soul of the American University: From Protestant establishment to Established Nonbelief.”

    The latter work captures not only the ‘why’ people involved in running universities brought changes, but also much of the mechanics used to accomplish those changes. I think you would enjoy the book, Mike. Reads in part much like tracing the progress of a disease.

  4. Alan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind” predicted this 30 years ago. Maybe we should have an anniversary of publication event.

    A friend of mine, teaching medical students, as I did until two years ago, told me this week he asked his student group if any knew the significance of December 7, 1941.

    None did.

    He is a Democrat and we have friendly discussions of Trump and current events. He loathes Schumer and Pelosi and says Democrats need new blood.

    I have point ed out to him that the party has cleaned house at the lower office levels. There is no “new blood.”

    There are only New Socialists. With a very small appeal to the rest of us.

  5. It is not only academic/intellectual skills that aren’t being developed; these appear to also be serious problems in many cases with personality attributes and job-related social skills…see Don Sensing’s comment here:

    I had a long conversation a couple of months ago with a very senior manager of a national insurance company who told me that all new hires have to start employment answering the phone as a customer-service rep. She said the Board even had required the new CEO hire to do that. For if they can’t cut it there, they don’t move on.

    “Millennials,” she told me, “are almost immediately stressed out talking with customers. Normal customers, just calling for a clarification about something. When an irate customer calls, their heads explode. It’s not at all unusual for a new-hire Millennial to take a sick day to see a counselor after only three days on the job. The counselor then gives them a week or two of recuperation for mental wholeness. In the old days, they would have just quit or we would have fired them, but now we have to run short-staffed because they are on medical leave and the job must be held for them. Believe me, they know it, too, and are experts at gaming the system. I can’t wait to retire.”

    (and, of course, people who can’t face the stress of talking with existing customers would be highly unlikely to be successful in jobs involving getting *new* customer, ie, sales. Most management jobs would also be off-limits)

    This surely has much to do with the excesses of the ‘self-esteem’ movement.

  6. “all new hires have to start employment answering the phone”
    Talk about something that would freak out most people entering the job market today…

    It’s going to get much, much worse. So many kids today interact with their friends 90%+ by screen. They don’t hang out in person. They don’t even talk on the phone. Just text, text, text. When that’s how your brain is trained from age 10 (or earlier, horrifically), how are you going to adapt to real human interaction?

  7. “They don’t even talk on the phone. ”

    My kids don’t answer the phone or return calls for days, if ever. They are all over 35.

    If you want to communicate, text only.

  8. “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man”, according to Francis Bacon.

    Probably a main reason for discomfort with conversation vs texting is that with the former, you have to be ‘ready’, can’t take time to contemplate your reply.

  9. The bill should be sent to every college with an endowment. The entire amount should be confiscated and their property sold until the debt is paid.

  10. I wonder how the student loan debt will be handled?

    I don’t think it will ever be repaid. Some sort of repudiation will have to occur.

    The question will be if this involves some confiscation of the college revenue.

  11. I work with a lot of Millennials. It probably has to do with them mostly being chem/bio-chem or engineering majors, but they don’t conform to these examples. I can’t fault their work ethic or attitude. At the same time, I am often surprised by what they haven’t been taught or experienced.

    This lets me get away with really old jokes from time to time.

  12. The best student loan proposal I’ve seen is instapundit’s idea to make colleges cosign on any loan their students receive. Make them stand by the value of their education, and not get rich by jacking up rates, collecting sweet government cash, with no risk.

  13. One feature of your system is that it has largely destroyed your lower school systems. Cutting here, is cutting far too close to the bone, in my opinion.

    It’s where your citizens come from. One would have thought you might treat this essential part of your society with care and attention instead of hate, which does seem to be the norm, when it comes to your teachers.

    No problem, it fulfills my goals well.

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