I have been very critical of so-called “higher education.” Kurt Schlicter, writing for Townhall.com, is even more critical: “It’s apparent that the current collegiate system serves several functions, all of them a symptom of a deeper problem with our society. We have seen how admission to one of the elite schools is a de facto degree, which in turn is a de facto ticket into the ruling class. Any actual education is purely coincidental. It is also clear that attendance at non-elite schools is today merely a signal to employers that the person might possesses the basic readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic skills we used to expect from a high school graduate.” Actually Kurt, we once expected far more than that from a high school graduate who expected to get into any college. Back in 2000, I joined the board of a Classical and Christian K-12 school. New board members were exposed to the educational standards that were normal… in 1906! I have an M.S. and B.A. from undergrad and grad school, and scored in the 98th percentile of my group in the verbal portion of the graduate record exam (GRE, the post grad equivalent of the SAT) in 1972. When I joined the board, they asked me to take a sample college entrance exam from Pennsylvania State college circa 1906. This exam covered a stupefying breadth of subjects, and I could not answer a single question, even though the questions were what a 1906 high school senior was expected to know.
Kurt continues,”we need a cultural rethink of the concept of college itself. A four-year degree – as opposed to a four-year party – is not for everyone. It’s not even for most people. You know who do well today, who aren’t MFA grads yet making our coffee for us? People with skills. Plumbers. Electricians. Welders. Trades are the future. Third, we need to realize that our elite schools are not elite. Their status comes not from the quality of their education but the selectivity (at least, the selectivity they claim to the public) of their admissions. Guess what the median grade at Harvard is. Go on, guess. Our most rigorous school, right? It should be really hard, right? Lots of “C” and “B” grades because of said rigor, right? It’s an “A-.” The median grade at Harvard is an “A-,” which is supposed to be “outstanding.” But a Harvard A- is not “outstanding.” It is the default. Think about it. Half the grades at Harvard are “A-” or above. Would you give our ruling class an “A-”?”
My point is, we cannot even conceive of how far educational quality has eroded in the last 100 years, but if the trend keeps up, we won’t have to worry about flooding from climate change destroying life as we know it in 12 years. Since this kind of trend accelerates exponentially—the stupider we get the faster even more extremely stupid ideas proliferate—in 12 years our society will be too stupid to remember what we were worried about 12 years ago.