The Decline of Popularity of College in America Essay

Jordan W Amy Ruppert Summary response 2 10 May 2012 The Decline of the Popularity of College in America College education, in general, is a very controversial topic amongst society mainly in America. The articles “The Purpose of Higher Education” by Richard Kahlenberg of The Chronicle of Higher Education and “America’s Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor’s Degree” by Marty Nemko also of The Chronicle of Higher Education both address these issues associated with college education. Colleges have become a business, often times seeing students as revenue instead of students wishing to learn (Nemko 2).

College are building towering, very elaborate buildings, and creating a website that shows everything the college has to offer but leaves one important aspect out: it’s rate at getting college graduates jobs, how much a student learns, and really spends at that institution. College isn’t connecting with its students’ who attend as it once did. Very large lecture classes are a main contributor to the separation of professor and student. This is causing roughly 44. 6 percent of students’ nationwide to become dissatisfied with the quality of education they are receiving (Nemko 2).

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Also, approximately 43. 5 percent of students’ nationwide are frequently reporting that they found themselves being bored in class in surveys from the Higher Education Research Institute at the Univ. of California at Los Angeles (Nemko 2). Nemko adds, “A 2006 study supported by Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below “proficient” levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understanding the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers” (2).

Despite the inabilities for colleges to produce well rounded, qualified individuals, they are constantly being given more taxpayers dollars and allowed to raise tuitions (Nemko 2). According to Nemko, “College should be held at least as accountable as tire companies are” meaning that when a college graduates a student, that student should be fully satisfied with the product the college itself said it produced or it should be recalled, retaught, and all statistics of how many students it graduates, grade averages etc. should be posted (2). Both authors make the issue very apparent that colleges have eemed to fall into the more privatized sector because in reality it is true, the bachelor’s degree has lost its importance; education quality is declining, and with the rising cost of education, and the difficult job market, colleges still stand their ground saying attending their institution is worth it. Although I do agree with higher education, I do not think now is the time to be sending everyone off to college with the state of this economy and price of education because of the bachelor degree becoming so watered down, the rapid decrease in education quality and the sky rocketing prices.

The bachelor degree is becoming the new norm for many of students’ who graduate high school because parents who grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s feel it is necessary for their son or daughter to have what they didn’t pursue. The childhood of our parents had a thriving middle class and economy and was in a society in which a laborer or an uneducated person could make a comfortable living and raise a family, whereas now, it is difficult but one could survive on the wages and I think they are unaware of how bad the economy really is.

I feel we (as students) should be getting work experience and move from job to job to figure out what we want to do. This way, we can have working experience in our field and can more to relate to our classes we take for majors. Once in college, it would save money because instead of re-declaring a major and staying in school longer than planned, students’ will save money. In Kahlenberg’s article, Louis Menand of the New York Times magazine mentions that college is a time for you to learn “things about the world and yourself that, if you do not learn in college, you are unlikely to learn anywhere else. (Kahlenberg 2) Yet, colleges everywhere are failing to, as I stated earlier, connect with its students’ and actually teach them something. Kahlenberg writes about a study Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, saying that nearly 45 percent of students’ learn very little in the first two years of college (1). This, I feel could strongly relate to breadth requirements and becoming that well rounded individuals or a lack of maturity moving into college immediately after high school without transition time.

Although I agree with breadth requirements, one must not look past the irrelevance an appreciation of theater and arts has on a biology major. Could it be we are blowing money away on these pointless classes that have little or no relevance at all pertaining to our majors? Education quality amongst college institutions is declining at a rapid rate. Nemko states that, “in 2006 by a federal commission that examined the future of American higher education, things are getting even worse: “Over the past decade, literacy among college students’ has actually declined”” (3).

I feel it starts at high schools who release graduates who are undereducated entering college. Nemko illustrates in his article that “23 percent of the 1. 3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading and science (1). That is not including the SAT, GPA’s and/or overall testing scores in classrooms. We, as a society, are not teaching children useful enough information and do not seem to care.

As a recent high school graduate from three years ago, I saw a lot about what these articles have discussed, about how teachers and professors just do not care enough. Most institutions are forced to teach a student a certain amount of material within a given time frame. If that student for some reason does not understand, he/she gets behind in work and eventually fails instead of taking time to make sure small classrooms are granted and more one on one time with the professors are provided regardless of a time frame.

After all, it is the professor and teacher who are the ones able to communicate to a counselor whether or not the student comprehends the material in the class, shouldn’t it be the professors decision on what is being taught? I personally will say that I have been in those shoes where a professor simply does not care about what I know; it comes down to the test for sympathy and remorse for a poor grade. This is not what college was once built on; this is not what they portray to the public.

Colleges once were affordable and didn’t bury a person in debt up to their eyes. With the recession starting in 2008, many families were contemplating college for their newly graduated sons or daughters but still sent them in hopes of them receiving an education, and getting them into a good career and good education. What this recession has brought society is an understaffed institution that simply does not care about students’ education but expansions to their universities, thin budgets and sky rocketing prices.

Colleges often try to reiterate constantly “…that a college is more about enlightenment than employment” (Nemko 2). How could a college say this when all points show that a college institute will “educate students in the cheapest way possible” (Nemko 2)? Also, how does a college plan on a student paying off, often, six figure debts when the current job pool has decreased to such an extent that college students are forced to take jobs from undereducated individuals who don’t have a choice? Yet, you do not see that posted on the website or in articles around the school papers.

In the end, both authors make the issue very apparent that colleges have seemed to fall into the more privatized sector because in reality it is true, the bachelor’s degree has lost its importance; education quality is declining, the rising cost of education, and the difficult job market, colleges still stand their ground saying attending their institution is worth it. Colleges need to be held more accountable for the image they portray and the material they teach. Honest statistics need to be posted on a website and in articles around campus. Counselors need to be more involved in the students’ situations in which they help.

This economy is driving higher education into the ground and nobody seems to care as long as universities get a paycheck and/or students’ receive a piece of paper saying they went to class and got decent grades with little or no regards to the jobs they actually get with that degree. Works Cited Kahlenberg, Richard. “The Purpose of Higher Education. ” 01 Sept 2011. 2. The Chronicle of Higher Education . Web. 10 May 2012. Nemko, Marty. “America’s Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor’s Degree. ” 54. 34 05 May 2008. 4. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. 10 May 2012.