|College football players are
Gormogon longtime fan, reader and sometime writer, JAB writes from the doublewide:
Dear Mr. Dr. J.:
I read your “Big Skool” post with more than my usual level of interest and reverence. You see, hubby & I just moved our first-born, Bubba-the-Larger, into his dormitory at a lovely liberal arts college [LLAC] in a lovely Midwestern town. With Bubba-the-Younger now a high school junior, boy howdy, do I have an interest in keeping college costs down!
If the President insists on the guvmint measuring outcomes and cost effectiveness of colleges and universities, well then, in the spirit of cooperation, I believe that I could point in the general direction of some potential savings. For instance, the featured speaker at LLAC Freshman Orientation’s “forum” was described as”… without doubt the most influential multicultural scholar in the United States.” Whew- with a description like that I bet he’s added an eye-popping amount of measurable value to veritable boatloads of college students. Attendance at the speech was mandatory, mind you, but I suspect the freshmen could probably manage to thrive without having heard it. I figure that an Office of Multi-Culti-Diversityness, with 3-4 staff, glossy brochures, and a speakers’ budget could easily devour $500K/annum, don’t you? With about 2000 kids at LLAC, that comes to $250/kid. Wonder if they or their parents would pay that tab willingly? After all, a dollar spent on Multi-Culti-Diversityness, is a dollar that can’t be spent on beer.
As for assessing colleges’ “…on their value to students and parents,” I say bring it on, Mr. President. But let’s bring it on a micro level. Yes, that Harvard degree is truly priceless to all star-bellied sneetches, but let’s compare and contrast the value of a BS in chemistry from Harvard to the value of a Folklore & Mythology degree (check their website for some F&M alumni news!). If we could get such a comparison going, how long do you think it would take for the ever-so-valuable Women’s, Gender & Sexuality studies major to go away? Oh, well, at least LLAC don’t offer a degree in Peace & Conflict Studies, like Oberlin does.
yours from the Doublewide,
Congratulations to Bubba-the-Larger. We wish him nothing but the best from our perch on Castle Gormogon. Dr. J. agrees with you that we spend A LOT of money in the Ivory Tower on a lot of nonsense revolving around what you so eloquently describe as Multi-Culti-Diversityness. I wanted to claw my eyeballs out during college and medschool freshman week. Even worse was the PCpalooza that was RA training. An entire hour was dedicated to discussing what the RA’s should wear on ‘Gay Jeans Day’ where the head of the LGBT society got into a confrontation with Dr. J.’s roommate who tried to pin LGBT guy down on a concrete answer to his question. It was harder than nailing jello to a wall. The part that Dr. J. hated the most about freshman week was the sex-ed session where we were told every guy was a potential rapist, and other scary tales that completely put a damper on the potential hedonism that was freshman week. The girls were ready to call the campus police if you said hi, or held a door for them. Sheesh.
Regarding micro-analysis of value, that gets to the heart of Puter’s posts on student loans. A private bank would have interest in that. However, Dr. J. stands by his statement regarding the magical star-bellied pixie dust that is Harvard. If one has a Folklore & Mythology degree from Harvard, the likelihood they will be able to find a job is much greater than someone with the same degree from Brown, and when you start going down the food chain to, say Oberlin, Kenyon, or even Bi-directional State University, forget it. Even then, the F&M degreed Harvard student will either land the junior faculty spot somewhere, or get a real job not using the degree. Everyone else will use their F&M degree making sandwiches at the F&M Deli, and even there, they have a reputation to uphold. Their grilled pastrami special kicks ass. Professor Mondo can speak to life in the academy and the Harvard degreed vs. their non-Harvarded peers. Professor, Dr. J. knows you are reading this.
The value for practical degrees from lower tiered universities have better job prospects than unpractical ones from low, or even high ranked universities. But the cream of the unpractical crop have better opportunities than the rest of the unpractical lot. That being said, those jobs (academic positions for horse-shit degrees) are a zero sum game. Folks have to leave or retire to create openings. This is different than in the sciences where you can have grants paying your salary and you can take them with you.
Dr. J.’s physics teacher from HS, after two years of employment fresh out of college (and with rumors swirling of being too flirty with the girls in Dr. J.’s senior class), found himself going to graduate school in ‘Peace Studies’ at a very prestigious but not Harvard University. As it was a prestigious school, and it was the ‘era of plenty’ aka the tech boom, he was able to land a faculty spot on the left coast where he has enjoyed his days making a career of ripping on the injustice that is private education. He was an asshat back in the late 80s and remains so to this very day. He would be facing much dimmer prospects if he were getting his doctorate in Peace Studies at Pretty-Prestigious University today, indeed he might go back to flirting with prep-school girls in an AP physics class.
So Dr. J. surmises that student loan rates should look something like this:
Student Loan Rate (%) = (A*School Rank) + (B*1/Utility of Degree) – (C*GPA) – (D*SAT Score) – 2% if Haaavard.
(A-D are pre-specified coefficients).
Thanks for writing in!