The problem is education has become more and more expensive. When I graduated from college fifty-five years ago, I walked away debt free. And I paid for my education myself, by working summers and by careful stewardship of the $135 per month paid by the Korean GI Bill. The average current cost of a four year college education ranges from $77,000 for an in-state public college to $175,000 for a private college.
And what do we have to show for that enormous drain on America's economic resources? Accountants who can't add; teachers who can't spell; Clintonesque lawyers who lie, cheat, and steal; and career politicians who lie, cheat, and steal. The American Bar Association reports that 10.6% of JDs graduating in 2013 went directly to work for the government, and Harvard Law School reports that the District of Columbia is the third largest employer of Harvard grads, behind New York and California.
Not surprisingly, liberal higher "education" has evolved to crank out graduates who are ideologically suited to federal "service." Modern liberal education can be summed up in fourteen words: "Republican bad. Democrat good. People bad. Government good. Constitution bad. Mao Test Tong good." That's it. That's the sum total of a liberal education. That's all you get for 200,000 dollars and four years of your life. Fourteen words.
I graduated from Purdue University, where I learned integral calculus, and the laws of physics, and differential equations, and the intellectual discipline that enabled me to forge a 40 year career as an engineer contributing to the wealth and wellbeing of my fellow citizens. All a liberal education gives you is the intellectual baggage required to anesthetize your conscience to the immorality of lying, cheating, and stealing.
I believe American higher education is at a tipping point. As it continues to charge more and more for less and less useful content, it must eventually be perceived by the market as an ineffectual investment of time and money. And as the over-bloated federal bureaucracy inevitably crumbles under the twin assaults of economic realities and the American People, the demand for cookie-cutter bureaucrats will dwindle. Add to these forces the fact that our exponentially exploding technology is creating a need for workers who are knowledgeable and competent in the latest, cutting-edge innovations, and you have an irresistible demand for change.
I predict an enormous shift within the next ten years away from brick-and-mortar institutions to on-line educational facilities offered by a wide variety of sources, from universities to individual entrepreneurs. Employment requirements will shift from prestigious – and useless – educational credentials to the possession of actual, demonstrable job skills. The emphasis on performance requirements will drive employment seekers farther and farther from "traditional" educational indoctrination to the deliberate acquisition of knowledge and skills that can be used to benefit an employer.
The evolution of an entity is always survival-directed. And as educational demands shift, the American educational system must evolve new approaches and new procedures. The system as it exists now is a dinosaur, and must become extinct to make way for a cheaper, more efficient mode of acquiring a meaningful education.