Where We Live: Fixing Higher Education

Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for saying people should go to college

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Richard Hersh
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Where We Live: Fixing Higher Education
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Where We Live: Fixing Higher Education

Playing to a red-meat conservative crowd, Rick Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for saying people should go to college.

This statement - and others like it about the liberal “indoctrination” that happens on college campuses - obviously set off millions of educated Americans.

And not just because the value of higher education was being challenged - but because his statement flies in the face of everything we know about what people need to get jobs in America.

Those with college degrees get jobs more readily - and those jobs pay better wages.  

But this quote from the New York Times - a paper Santorum considers equally snobby - speaks to a new, uncomfortable reality:

“Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, as have starting salaries for those who can find work.”

Yikes.  So what kind of college education are we getting? What is it’s real value?

We’ll continue our education series with two authors that will consider higher education in America.



A paradox of American higher

A paradox of American higher education is the disconnect between our vaunted international reputation and the severe problems we face at home. The U.S. model of competitive research funding, merit-based hiring, promotion of faculty, building your career, and unfettered pursuit of the truth is closely watched and often imitated. From South Korea to Saudi Arabia, countries seeking to create world-class universities in an increasingly competitive global academic marketplace view U.S. institutions as the gold standard.

I graduated collage but I

I graduated collage but I also had a student loan to pay in the end because my family couldn't pay all the collage taxes. In search of a better job I also decided to Study online to obtain a master degree,in order to keep my current job. We must change something in the education law if we want the future generations to get higher education.

Listener Email from Anni

I just had more of a comment and question related to today's show topic. I am currently as a cross roads in my education, am about to graduate from a master's program in a very specialized and am considering doing a second masters and then onto a PhD. I have had several seminars with people who are completing their second and third masters, it is not uncommon and this totally is creating a mentality of becoming a life time student. I will also say, their is an inherent attitude of superiority among students who think they are experts in their field at this level simply from reading essays and engaging in class discussion that is not the case.

I think theses issues that seem to be occuring within higer education today, and it is my intention to teach on college level, is really starting in middle schools and comes down to tracking. The role that tracking students and placing them in specific classes and does on some level put into play where they will end up after high school... remedial classes, college prep, AP. I think this is very much the basis of the problem and was wondering if your guests agree?

Listener Email from Alex

Could the guests address what seems to be the resistance by colleges and universities to incorporate online learning into the course offerings for non-traditional students. This has been an issue for m wife, who is trying to finish up her degree while going part-time. She'll often take no classes one semester because the required courses are not offered at a time she can fit into her schedule. This while her teachers assign reading via email and ask students to submit assignments through web portals. Why couldn't some classes offer all online? Seems like it would also defray some of the expenses for the colleges(building maintenance, utilities and such). Seems like higher education is stuck in the way things used to be done and is resisting change unnecessarily.