There was a time when a college degree really meant something. There were great publications about the value of our investment in education. Many years ago the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had a great publication delineating clearly the return on an investment in higher education. It was clear to me as a young person making decisions about my future, that I had to “go to college” if I wanted to “better my circumstances and change the direction of my future.” You see, there were not too many opportunities in a small town in Northern Iowa.
So, off I went with enough borrowed money for tuition, very few clothes, and one pair of shoes. My American Dream was within the walls of Iowa State Teachers College, my energy and will, and the angels along the way. The only thing free was the opportunity.
Fast Forward! Now we have many college students saddled with enormous debt and no prospect for decent jobs because they have majored in a curriculum that is almost or totally “careerless.” As long as students can borrow more and more to stay in the womb of our colleges and universities, they will do so. It’s a great place to spend wonderful years. But the money they “invest” in their future is not theirs. There is no thought about whether one class is more valuable than another to them personally. There are all kinds of values that we gain from our college experiences, but how it fits into the mix of how we finance our futures ought to be among them somewhere.
I can guarantee you that when you work two or three jobs to get through college, you even question those “required.” You come to understand the “fight of the disciplines” in our educational system, particularly in higher education. I have listened to it and participated in these discussions ad nauseum–how much of what creates “an educated person.” They are usually devoid of the question, “What will help me get a job?”
It makes me sad and sick when I hear the words “free college.” They are the words of the transformers, those folks who want to change our great nation from one of freedom to slavish dependency. Free college would allow unneeded and not useful courses, disciplines, majors, etc., to prey on young minds as they entice, indoctrinate, preach and sell their wares. We will have more unprepared young people leaving our colleges and universities; they just won’t have to carry and be responsible for the debt they created; we will.
Why should they care. It’s not on their credit card. Free college is a horrible idea for our nation and a destructive idea for our youth.