Is college still worth it? That’s a great question that many are grappling with as we get ready to return to campuses later this month. This question of post secondary educations’ bubble has been growing for some time, but the coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated how we look at where our tuition dollars are going. This has been extremely magnified as many high-end schools opt to go fully remote for the 2020 school year.
We should be very skeptical in looking at how “Big Education” has treated their customers (also sometimes known as students) by charging ever inflating tuition for an education that is very arguably lower quality than ever before.
Former democratic candidate for President, Andrew Yang, joins with author and co-founder of CrashCourse Hank Green to discuss these issues regarding education on the political podcast, Yang Speaks. This was an interesting conversation that covered many of the trending topics in the world today, but I found most interesting this discussion about colleges and universities.
Yang talks about how schools really have no choice other than opening this semester because of the financial situation most find themselves in. That is something we all pretty much know and understand but then we get into the problem of how schools then continue to raise tuition when deliberately giving a lesser quality of learning where we are not in the classroom. This is compounded with education providing less opportunities for their students in terms of ROI, with many majors and degrees becoming almost obsolete in value.
The examples that the two draw between healthcare and education prices shows staggering parallels in how broken some of our biggest systems really are. Continuing to stretch the consumers thin doesn’t help cure the actual root of these problems and only allows these tumors to grow.
What Andrew Yang mentions as increasing these “non academic administrators”, or basically bureaucrats, by 150% at many of these schools highlights the decrease in dollars spent per student that many of these schools claim to be maximizing. As the bureaucracy has grown the true mission of schools have faltered, and the results are seen in our daily discourse.
“The teaching of students is not the primary expense of a lot of these places”Andrew Yang | Yang Speaks
This idea that our colleges are more worried about their brand, marketing, and simply trying to pipeline students to an employer is a very real and dangerous approach that many universities have very deliberately taken. Clearly it’s not as effective as these universities initially thought as wages continue to stagnate, and even decline, and unemployment is at its worst levels since the great depression.
It is sad that we seem to be losing the classroom, as Hank Green explains, because there is not a real replacement for it. I tried to provide a viable solution to this, but some have no interest in having a conversation. So, we will see many fall behind in terms of their education while still getting charged for the full experience that college is supposed to provide. It’s a vicious rat race that will cause many to suffer.
If there are ways to learn the same material for 1/10th of the price that colleges charge, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a great shift in the market in a short period of time that really upends the education system as we know it. Bubbles tend to pop. Products like CrashCourse and Khan Academy aren’t necessarily replacements to school, but they are successful supplements that can be tailored to work with students in a way that most colleges aren’t even trying to accomplish anymore. Either universities will adapt or they will see some of their rich histories fall by the wayside.
Education, at all levels, needs to be fixed but that will not happen if we can’t have real conversations that come up with real solutions. With schools refusing to open this fall, many will see new experiments in how we teach students that could potentially lead to a new era of schooling as we know it. I recently became aware of a Steve Jobs interview about education back in 1995, maybe this will finally come to fruition. Watch it below:
There will be resistance, but ultimately it’s up for the consumer (student) to decide and the marketplace to adjust.
Remember Yang’s campaign slogan: MATH – Make America Think Harder. Let’s maybe do some of that.