By Mike McCune
I believe our government is corrupt. From those who are elected to those who are appointed to those that are life-time bureaucrats the system is corrupt. The stench of corruption cannot be masked any longer but nowhere is reek more noticeable than in the bloated entity known as education.
Most Americans, as I once did, think education adds value to society and the economy. Any way you slice it, education is a plus for society, right? No, no, a million times no!!! Today’s American education has become an unproductive, self-generating industry as a result of government intervention.
Spending, per capita increased 500% from 1935 to 1995 in K-12. It nearly doubled from 1995 to 2010. It costs 15 times more in 2005 to obtain a basic college degree than it did in 1965. But throwing money at the problem hasn’t resulted in higher test scores or better school performance. Test scores haven’t budged in 40 years and wages, measured in terms of real dollars haven’t shown much of a rise in the last 40 years either.
Oh, more people are able to pass the watered down tests they promote today in the name of equality but education has regressed as witnessed by the increasing number of qualifying remedial courses required by each succeeding high school graduating class. So the money thrown at education isn’t showing a profit for society.
With government leading the way, the U.S. now stands alone in education spending–just as it does in defense and drugs. It also owns the world in the number of worthless degrees it confers each year. Nearly 30 years ago, educated, trained researchers determined there is no correlation between education expense and education results. Yet we continue to increase spending hoping to reverse the scoring flat-line.
Government spends money on education as if it were a proven panacea to economic woes. The current deplorable state of the American education system started its decline in the Great Depression when education first began being affected by Washington regulation. The process sped up under the GI Bill and exploded under the regulations of the Great Society. In fact the preoccupation with obtaining a degree has actually hurt the economy by robbing it of unfettered intellectual vitality necessary to create gains in wealth. The more people went to college the less productive, creative and dynamic the economy became. As a result of too much emphasis on the degree rather than independent creativity, the American economy has failed to create wealth for several decades. That is one of the underlying items keeping the stubborn recession in place. The lack of meaningful wealth creation is being addressed in the marketplace.
It is true there can be errors in fund allocation in a free business, but when government tries to force desired results the error is exacerbated, becomes extremely expensive to fix, lasts for a long time and usually ends with a violent correction. That is where America’s education system is at.
Over the past two generations it has become common practice to waste economic resources on unnecessary education. Millions of people have been deceived into pouring their adulthood productivity into endeavors that simply don’t pay off outside of government jobs. the only reason they pay off in government is not accountable under normal market rules. Thus millions have been going deeper into debt to obtain a paper goal which is increasingly hostile to the health of the economy.
Those trillions of wasted dollars have been aided and abetted by a government that encouraged higher education since WWII much like it did the home ownership. The Federal Reserve, a willing ally to government, held interest rates artificially low to induce more people into the higher education trap. Just like in home loans, government guaranteed the student loans. Now the education bubble, like the housing bubble, is set to pop. The effects on a shaky economy could be extremely negative.
The GI Bill, shoved unqualified people into colleges. Colleges, overwhelmed by the influx in normal coursework and market demands, created different courses to get the unqualified through the system and issued more degrees than the economy could ingest.
Bad notions of “quality education” came to permeate the system. College administrators gleefully supplanted quality for the ever-burgeoning enrollment numbers in measuring their worth.
As a result America has uninspired “scholars” pursuing degrees that accomplish nothing positive for the economy. Worse, this watered-down education replaced things those students need to learn on the job like entrepreneurship, self initiative, responsibility for taking risk and the vital lessons learned from failure which were regularly handed out in the real world but are lacking in academia.
What the college degree has degenerated into in many cases is a graduate who cannot be a scientist or engineer, a grad who lacks the talent to be an artist or a thinker but who does own a headful of of misguided government notions about “self woth” along with a boatload of debt ro repay with the faltering income prospects.
Please explain to me what a degree in Social Justice Structing is? Oh yes, with one of these you can qualify as an assistant director of the Community Outreach Program or the Gender Enabling Project or Equal Opportunity Placement or even become a consultant or counselor for government to students currently engaged in seeking the same wothless paper. But without a market-based viability test (where everything is measured by the evil profit system) anything is possible. All you need is a professional appearance, a plactic smile plastered on your face, a “knowledgeable sounding”ine of patter and an ability to be content to measure your contribution by a mountain of paperwork.
In the real world, mistakes are corrected fairly quickly because they eat into profit. But in the bureaucratic world of education it is not necessary to produce anything. You only have to prove you have the proper credentials to continue the deception in order to stand with other non-producers in solidarity.
That is a tragedy America is paying for all the way down to pre-school and day-care centers.
All that is proven, by far too many degrees handed out today, is the person is willing to spend at least 16 years sitting in a classroom without raising a single dissenting view about what is being passed off as “education”. Meanwhile the rest of us wonder why young, bright Johnny has turned into a surly young man who can’t read or write adequately. Heaven forbid his lack of attention should result in his being “Left behind” when such a slap of real world economics could have shaken out of his lethargy.
In the business world, on-site bosses do not care a whit if you have a piece of paper proclaiming your academic prowess. They are only concerned with is you can add more value to the company than you cost by being able to do the job for which you were hired.
Government mismanagement of the education system has taught the past two generations differently. It uses the paper as a qualifier to justify the deception and corruption it has introduced to the system.
So I don’t blame the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd or the hordes of marching, protesting teachers who are being held accountable for the first time as the expense threatens to destroy the system. They are merely products of their educational environment. Oops! Now I’m sounding like an idiot social justice-educated judge taking pity on a defendant because of his environment.
Sigh! At least I’m not sounding like an idiot educator who has never had his work measured for real economic productivity or meaning against a profit-driven marketplace.
The Rant welcomes any and all comments or suggestions. I can also be heard frequently on Sunday mornings at 10:30 on “In Defense of a Nation” on 104.7 FM in Greeley, CO and 93.5FM Ft. Collins-Loveland in CO. If the radio reception is not available in your area you can listen in by accessing the show on the internet at www.indefenseofanation.com — Mike