Note — The following column was published in Monday's edition of The Morning Sun.
Parents waved goodbye to their sons and daughters over the past week as they made the ritualistic journey here to Mt. Pleasant and other college towns for the commencement of yet another school year.
Once arriving on campus, collegians quickly lose touch with reality. It’s not hard when these communities are more often than not too neat and too perfect — the epitome of the utopia that all too many Ivory Tower inhabitants dream of each night.
Yet the real world seldom resembles a campus community.
Of course, this is no surprise to most parents let alone the self-supporting students, who attained the age of majority both in definition and in practice.
However, don’t tell this to the vast majority of professors, guidance counselors and administrators. These folks, whose job and livelihood depends on the justification of their very existence, too often than not perpetuate the con otherwise known as higher education.
These folks are directly responsible for the illusion that college is a right and not a privilege, as well as the notion that everyone should have a bachelor’s degree, which amounts to little more than a high-school diploma of yore. (For the sake of fairness, a good share of parents are also responsible, though you can’t blame them for adhering to societal pressures.)
Whether it’s locally at Central Michigan University or down the road in East Lansing at Michigan State University, too many are marshaled along because society has been convinced they must attend college.
As a result, these young ladies and gentlemen are incurring thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt with little prospects for a meaningful job after graduation, which is ironic because most of them enrolled thinking a degree would entitle them to gainful employment.
Sure, many have a real desire to learn and expand their knowledge. I had that passion once upon a time, but it was quickly stifled by a group-think faculty and administrative bureaucracy that promotes a one-size-fits-all curriculum that is all too often onerous to the point where individualism and the pursuit of knowledge is suppressed by the need to pass worthless class after worthless class that have little purpose other than to employ some professor, who likely couldn’t make it in the real world, where academic credentials take a back seat to experience, wisdom and the entrepreneurial risk-taking that has made America the shining city on the hill.
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m against higher learning.
On the contrary, I very much believe in college in its traditional and classical form.
What I don’t support is glorified community colleges and vocational schools — yes, you read that correctly — passing themselves off as proper universities so greedy administrators, faculty union bosses, professors and even football coaches — pretty much everyone except students — can line their pockets with a share of the money circulating in the big-business that is American higher education.
— Dennis Lennox