What’s Wrong With Our Colleges and Universities?

Yes, I did go to college, and yes I had a pretty good time. I was an athlete, and I got really decent grades, I have nothing against colleges or universities, however, I am blown away by some of the college graduates I talked to when reviewing their resumes, and listening to them as they reason and think. Something is amiss. Something isn’t right.

These kids have trouble with critical thinking, reasoning, and creative problem solving. It’s as if they’ve been conditioned to submit to authority, follow the rules, and not care a bit about what they’re doing. Is this due to the accumulation of rote memorization? Is it the result of standardized testing? Surely at higher level learning institutions we can do better than this.

Are our colleges failing? I believe so, but don’t just take my word for it, there is an interesting book out, you should read; “Academically Adrift – Limited Learning on College Campuses” by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL, (2010), pages 256, ISBN: 978-02260-285-69.

Richard is also the author of; “Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority in American Schools,” and he is a professor in the Department of Sociology at New York University. The other author is an assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Virginia. In reading this book it appears that these authors on the inside see the same things I do.

Indeed, colleges have increased tuition almost 10 times the inflation rate over the last 10 years. In fact the only thing that has increased in cost more than college tuition is our healthcare and healthcare insurance costs. But the kids are not any smarter, as a matter of fact I would rather hire someone who graduated from high school took a year of community college, dropped out and became a manager of Starbucks as they worked their way up, than I would to hire someone with a bachelor’s degree from the University.

Now mind you, I come from the entrepreneurial side, and as a business owner I want people who can think, adapt, and reason. I want smart people, people who can think. Are these kids in our colleges really learning anything, or they just spending daddy’s money, or taking out student loans which will most likely default, and us taxpayers will have to pay the bill? I’ve seen the damage that can be done from people who’ve graduated from universities and end up in business or government.

They aren’t smart enough to be running things, and I wonder who will run things in the future. This book was a big wake up call for me, not because I was shocked, but because it came from academia itself, from a couple of insiders who are blowing the whistle on academia. Things have just gotten too far out of hand. Indeed if you would like to defend academia bring your best mind and be able to answer lots of questions, and I will permit you to shoot me an e-mail with your concerns, comments, and points of contention. Please consider all this and think on it, but I’m not letting anyone off the hook.