The New York Times piece John Leo
referenced earlier cites a startling statistic: while almost 40% of births to
college-educated women are out-of-wedlock, the figure for women who haven’t graduated
college is over 90%. Another figure from same study indicates that though a
third of women who hold only a high school diploma have had children with more
than one man, none of the college-educated women studied had.
are certainly stark; however, we should be wary of the argument that college
necessarily leads to the stable middle-class existence the piece describes.
College is but one of the many factors that support social mobility: individual
initiative, committed relationships, and familial support are equally if not
more important. As the article implies but never explicitly states, obtaining a
college degree often means you possess the qualities and resources for
necessary advancement; it does not guarantee said advancement.
Ultimately, the lasting bonds
of family and community matter more. Those championing the
cause of the middle class should take note.
To hear politicians tell it, the college diploma is the guaranteed gateway to middle-class life, so everybody should probably go to college. The argument seems self-evident–over a lifetime, college graduates far out-earn those without a degree ($2.1 million, supposedly), so go to college, live the American Dream. Unfortunately, as many recent college graduates have discovered, diplomas no longer guarantee success. A Bureau of Labor Statistics study, for example, reported that in 1992 some 119,000 waiters and waitresses had college degrees. But by 2008 this figure had soared to 318,000. The study also found similar increases of under-employment in other low-level occupations. In 2010 the unemployment rate for college graduates was the highest since 1970.
Continue reading How Academics Concocted a New ‘Middle Class’
A new report from Demos, a policy and advocacy center, titled The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class “examines how state disinvestment in public higher education over the past two decades has shifted costs to students and their families.”
Continue reading What Cost Shift to College Students and Parents?
A growing chorus of critics says a college education is finished as the ticket to economic success and a middle-class life.
The economy of the future, these critics suggest, actually requires far fewer college-educated citizens, because the U.S. economy is generating tens of thousands of jobs that require little or no higher education.
In essence, the critics of American higher education policy are challenging the long-standing belief that all U.S. citizens should have a decent chance to pursue a college degree, regardless of what kind of neighborhood they grow up in, what kind of schools are available to them, or whether their parents have university degrees.
Continue reading Why College Still Matters