In times like these, data points get wielded like cudgels.
Student-loan debt tops $1-trillion. As many as half of recent graduates are out of work, earn trifling wages, or have jobs that don’t require college degrees. Clearly, such numbers suggest, college isn’t worthwhile.
At the same time, remedies for what ails the economy often invoke higher education as a solution. Policy makers and foundations want more people to earn postsecondary degrees because they increase wages. Politicians press colleges to align programs with the needs of industry.
Together these sentiments show how deeply intertwined higher education and the economy have grown.
As colleges have sold themselves as economic-development vehicles, and their degrees as tickets to the middle class, the ethos of the marketplace has become their master, overshadowing their civic and intellectual purposes. <Read more.>
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