Friday, June 28, 2019

Two-thirds of American employees regret their college degrees

Two-thirds of employees report regrets about their advanced degrees, as Americans question the high cost of higher education.

Student loan debt has ballooned to nearly $1.6 trillion nationwide in 2019, topping the list of regrets for employees.

Science, technology, engineering or math majors, who are more likely to enjoy higher salaries, were least likely to report regrets, while those in the humanities were most likely.

A college education is still considered a pathway to higher lifetime earnings and gainful employment for Americans. Nevertheless, two-thirds of employees report having regrets when it comes to their advanced degrees, according to a PayScale survey of 248,000 respondents this past spring that was released Tuesday.

Student loan debt, which has ballooned to nearly $1.6 trillion nationwide in 2019, was the No. 1 regret among workers with college degrees. About 27% of survey respondents listed student loans as their top misgiving, PayScale said.

The findings illustrate why education loans burdening millions of Americans have become a hot-button issue among some Democratic presidential candidates. Most recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday proposed a plan to impose a tax on Wall Street trading and use the proceeds to erase that $1.6 trillion of debt.

About 70% of college students graduated with student loan debt this year, averaging about $33,000 per student. And as younger grads pay off student loan balances, they're struggling to accumulate wealth or are putting off purchasing homes — some millennials are even struggling to purchase groceries. 

It's not just millennials. Baby boomers are taking on student loan debt either to help cover college costs for their children or to retrain themselves for a workplace transformed by increased automation, cloud computing and other labor-saving technologies. Some Americans age 62 and older are using their Social Security benefits to pay off more than $86 billion in unpaid college loans.

Major bummers

College debt was followed by chosen area of study (12%) as a top regret for employees, though this varied greatly by major. Other regrets include poor networking, school choice, too many degrees, time spent completing education and academic underachievement.

Most satisfied: Those with science, technology, engineering and math majors, who are typically more likely to enjoy higher salaries, reported more satisfaction with their college degrees. About 42% of engineering grads and 35% of computer science grads said they had no regrets.

Most regrets: Humanities majors, who are least likely to earn higher pay post-graduation, were most likely to regret their college education. About 75% of humanities majors said they regretted their college education. About 73% of graduates who studied social sciences, physical and life sciences, and art also said the same.

In the middle: In between the other two categories were 66% of business graduates, 67% of health sciences graduates and 68% of math graduates who said they regretted their education.

At least one sector of employment bucked the trend: Teachers and other professionals in education, which isn't typically a high-paying profession, were the second-least likely, after engineering grads, to have any regrets tied to their major, with 37% saying they had no regrets.

Generational differences

Broken down by generation, older Americans were more likely to report that they have no regrets about their education. Among baby boomers, or 51% said they have no college regrets, making them the only demographic with a majority reporting no regrets. In contrast, just 37% of Gen Xers and nearly 29% of millennials reported no regrets.

Millennials, who are most disappointed with their college education, have the highest number of employees regretting their student loans. About 29% of millennials regret their student loans, while only 26% of Gen Xers and just 13% of baby boomers regret the loads they took on for college.


Walmart Models Next-Level Business-Education Partnership

This time of year especially, high school graduates wonder, is college really worth it? Employers wonder that too. Yet, we rarely hear about employers working with educators to ensure that students learn employable skills. Walmart’s new Live Better U program offers insight into the benefits such business-education partnerships can provide.

In general, students have good reason to be worried about their return on college investments. According to a 2017 survey by Gallup and Strada Education Network, 40 percent of Bachelor’s degree recipients say they wish they had chosen a different major and 25 percent say they wish they had studied at a different institution.

These regrets don’t stem from a perceived lack of education quality. Gallup found that 89 percent of Bachelor’s degree holders agree they received a high-quality education. The real turn-off is more likely employability—or lack thereof. According to a 2017 report by Burning Glass and the Strada Institute, 43 percent of college grads work jobs that don’t require a degree for their first position out of school. Even after that, the study found that 23 percent of grads continue to be underemployed after five years, and roughly 20 percent remained underemployed for 10 years or more.

But even as students are frustrated that their degrees aren’t translating to jobs, employers are frustrated that they can’t find qualified employees. According to a survey released by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 58 percent of employers say improvement is needed to prepare students for entry-level positions and 60 percent of employers said improvement is needed to prepare students for career advancement.

“Obviously it’s different for doctors and other scientists as well as some other professions,” said Eric Duffy, CEO of Pathgather and an advocate for on-the-job learning. He continues:

But for most people, the traditional college experience doesn’t give you experience with workplace skills. It’s strange how universities spend so much money on manicured grounds, beautiful dorms, and lots of mail sent out to attract applicants. It all seems so divorced from what should be the objective, which is to prepare people to excel in the real world.

More partnerships between businesses and institutions of higher education would help to address these challenges. By working with educators to shape classes and degree programs to teach the skills they value, employers could build the workforce they need, often from within their existing labor force. Meanwhile, students could invest in education programs designed by employers with greater confidence, knowing that these programs would equip them with employable skills.

Some employers have already begun testing these business-education partnerships. Google, for example, partnered with online learning platforms Udacity and Coursera to provide nanodegrees and specializations that prepare workers to meet company needs.

But Walmart’s new Live Better U program takes business-education partnership a step further. Rather than providing one-off classes or specializations, the program partners with colleges and universities to provide entire degree programs that reflect the skills Walmart seeks in employees. Better yet, Walmart bears the brunt of the cost, charging employees only $1 per day to earn a degree in one of 14 different areas of study including management, business, computer science, computer and network security, or computing technology. Although costly for the company at the outset, Walmart’s investment in its people cultivates a skilled and grateful workforce likely to stick around and strengthen the company for years to come.

Dustin Clemons for example, graduated from high school but never went on to college. Although he always wanted to pursue a degree, it was all but impossible while caring for his 3-year-old son and working. Now, with Live Better U, Dustin shared that he is able to take online classes with plans of eventually earning his bachelor’s degree. His goal is to be promoted to an assistant manager at Walmart.

So far, 4,500 Walmart associates have enrolled in the program, and the program’s developers hope they will use this opportunity to grow and apply what they’ve learned within the company.

“They wanted access to higher education to improve their lives,” Drew Holler, senior vice president of associate experience at Walmart told USA Today. “What we know also is that it’s going to help us with retention . . . and it’s providing skills we need in the future.”

While the program has yet to see whether its first batch of participants successfully graduate, obtain next-level jobs, and continue at Walmart, the program’s design offers an approach other employers should consider, one that both increases access to education and gives employers confidence that graduates have the skills they need to help their company succeed.


Decline of the M.B.A., Fall of the Humanities: What’s Left?

A thoughtful young professorial colleague of mine bitterly denounced business schools in a conversation with me last week, suggesting that they promote a vocational orientation to college that is excessive and unhealthy. Colleges, when they evolved in colonial America, were designed to promote virtue, religion and morality, and later that evolved to include a sense of civic consciousness—an obligation to serve one’s fellow citizens admirably. Others have looked at colleges as a device designed to realize the American Dream, promoting inter-generational income mobility. Among some today, these non-vocational purposes of higher education still resonate. Nonetheless, new college students routinely state that the primary purpose of college is getting a job, so not surprisingly one of the modern trends is the rise in the importance of majors in business-related areas at the expense of majors in the humanities and some social sciences.

Yet the Cadillac or BMW of collegiate business education has long been the M.B.A. degree, and for years wannabe business tycoons have eagerly sought the M.B.A. credential and the six-digit salaries associated with that degree, often obtained after working several years after the bachelor’s degree. In recent years, however, the traditional two-year M.B.A. has become a slightly tarnished degree, with some major programs such as the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois announcing the end of their residential M.B.A. program. Even the most prestigious national programs such as Harvard’s, Penn’s Wharton School, etc., have seen a decline in applications. Meanwhile, of course, the number of students getting degrees in such traditional liberal arts fields as history, philosophy, English literature, etc., is also stagnant or declining, with those earning Ph.D.s often ending up in wildly unrelated vocations (e.g., tree removal) upon completion of schooling.

Several factors are at work here. With respect to business education, many students are doing online M.B.A.s to save some money and maintain the ability to work at least part-time while studying, and others are getting new degrees in subjects like data analytics or financial economics that provide training for responsible business positions but are less a generalist degree than the M.B.A. However, a number of majors that are neither business nor arts and sciences have boomed in modern times, such as in communications, healthcare-related fields, or even parks and recreation.

My colleague’s lament is relevant, however. Increasingly, kids look at colleges as sort of a sophisticated form of vocational education that once was a staple of many high schools. You go to college to get training preparing you to do some marketable skill. Even 50 or 60 years ago, studies in the sciences and engineering were considered appropriate college subjects and that training prepared persons for jobs. And many persons seem to accept the appropriateness of significant colleges training students in a few technical subjects such as accountancy or actuarial science. In the fine arts, degrees in music or theater have long led, with considerably less success, to fulfilling vocational aspirations. And a sizable number of students have historically attended education schools to prepare them to teach. But a large portion of students majored in subjects they knew would not directly prepare them for jobs—history, philosophy, English literature, sociology, political science, and so forth: the liberal arts.

Data I have observed on post-graduate earnings suggest two things. First, an awful lot of human capital is formed on the job—mid-career workers earn dramatically more than new college graduates in large part from the knowledge specific to their occupation gained from many years of working. Learning by doing is substantial and important. Second, while there are dramatic differences for new graduates in earnings by major, many persons studying subjects such as philosophy that are largely devoid of any direct vocational relevance do pretty well financially in the long run, because they gain needed critical reasoning, writing and other skills associated with a college education. As I recount in my new book Restoring the Promise, mid-career earnings of philosophers are over double early career earnings, and those mid-career philosophy majors average higher earnings than those whose major was “general business.” While it is true that “college majors matter,” it is distinctly not true that “college majors alone matter” in determining vocational success.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Regulatory Red Tape Risks Strangling DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

For 15 years, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been a District of Columbia institution. Yet the program, which provides scholarships to children from low-income families to attend a private school of choice, faces death by a thousand regulatory cuts.

Since Congress enacted it, participation among private schools has fallen from a peak of 68 schools during the 2005-06 school year to just 48 schools today.

Fewer schools participating—a 30% reduction—means fewer choices for families. So, what explains the decline?

Each time the program has been reauthorized, new regulations have been added requiring participating private schools to conform more and more to the public school system.

When the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was originally signed into law and began operation in 2004, participating private schools were bound by a relatively light set of regulations.

They were required to abide by federal civil rights laws; had to have scholarship students participate in independent, congressionally mandated evaluations of the program; and had to provide reports about student academic achievement to parents.

But in 2011, Congress added new requirements that participating private schools submit to site visits by the program administrator, inform prospective students about the school’s accreditation status, mandate that teachers of core subjects have bachelor’s degrees, and require participating students to take some form of nationally norm-referenced test.

Notably, the 2011 reauthorization also required, for the first time, that participating private schools be accredited or be on a path to accreditation.

In 2017, Congress again added considerable new regulations onto participating private schools.

The reauthorization mandated that the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education conduct evaluations of the academic achievement outcomes of students attending schools in which more than 85% of the student body uses a voucher to pay tuition.

Notably, the 2017 reauthorization required that each participating school supply a certificate of accreditation to the administering entity upon program entry, demonstrating that the school is fully accredited before being allowed to participate.

Throughout the course of 2018, I interviewed private school principals about their decision to participate, not participate, or withdraw from the program.

Although the majority of the decline in participation is explained by school closures and charter conversions, other schools that exited the program may have done so out of an increasing regulatory burden.

Accreditation was one of the most frequently discussed issues throughout the interviews I conducted with principals and was largely seen as a time-consuming and costly process that outweighed the benefit of program participation.

Another major issue for school principals was the risk and volatility associated with program participation.

In particular, school leaders expressed frustration with the political nature of the congressional appropriations process.

They noted that funding instability makes schools appear risky to banks and donors, and that the scholarship amounts are typically lower than the price of tuition—meaning there’s a cost associated with accepting a D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program student for most private schools.

Finally, fear of future regulations was a frequent concern for participating school leaders, and nonparticipating private schools expressed considerable trepidation about future regulations, citing that concern as a reason for their nonparticipation.

Unfortunately, their fears may not be unfounded. 

The House Financial Services Committee’s bill includes language reauthorizing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that would make it more difficult for private schools to participate in the program and serve needy students.

The language would add significant new regulations onto participating private schools, requiring them to certify that they will provide students with “the same services, rights, and protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]” as D.C.  public schools do.

Parents of children with special needs, however, opt into participating private schools because the services provided to their children in the public school system—and the all-too-often litigious process in which they must engage in order to get what they’re entitled to in the public system under federal law—is not meeting their needs.

Families choose to enroll in a private school outside of the federal IDEA structure because a given private school is a better fit.

Layering on this new federal regulation to private schools in the Opportunity Scholarship Program would effectively end private school participation and the program as we know it....

The accreditation regulations should either be removed entirely, or schools should be given a five-year grace period to meet the requirements (instead of having to be accredited upon program entry), and/or the list of allowable accreditors should be significantly expanded to reflect the diversity of schools that would like to participate.

These immediate reforms would put the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only school choice program overseen by Congress, on stable footing, and would set the stage for the program to meet the needs of low-income families in the District of Columbia for years to come.


'Child labour!' Schoolboy 'was forced to fix teachers' cars as part of his coursework' before learning it didn't count towards his final grade

School is unrepentant

A furious mother has slammed her son's high school for making him work on teachers' cars as part of his 'coursework' because it didn't count towards his final mark.

Alica Evans said her 16-year-old son Jayden Fraser spent an entire year staying back to work for his teachers at Haeata Community Campus in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Hoping to one day become a mechanic, Jayden spent weeks 'practising' for his future career by priming and painting a teacher's car last year.

This year he, along with a group of students, spent hours of their free time working on two other cars.

However, his National Certificate of Educational Achievement record doesn't show the work as a type of formal assessment.

Ms Evans told Stuff that Jayden and his friends worked on a derby car for one staff member ahead of a race, and they also worked on a rolling chassis that was purchased by a teacher for $350.

The teacher applied for school funding but was rejected, and demanded the boys pay her back for the car.

Jayden and his friends managed to raise $100 through a car wash, which was given back to the teacher.

'My son literally spent the entirety of last year working and staying late and he got nothing,' Ms Evans said.

'Either he gets the credits he deserves or he needs to be paid, otherwise it's child labour.'

Ms Evans said she believed Haeata Community Campus would be perfect for 16-year-old Jayden as he is less academic.

She was told he would receive the 80 credits needed to pass Level 1 by July 5, but doesn't believe this is possible as he is currently behind.

The 16-year-old has only received eight credits for building a toilet roll holder.

Principal Andy Kai Fong said some 'overly costly' projects caused students to fundraise to enhance their learning. Mr Kai Fong said he was disappointed Ms Evans had alerted the media about what was happening with her son.

Education Ministry deputy secretary Katrina Casey said that students working on cars could foster problem-solving and collaboration skills, increase knowledge of mechanics and apply mathematics and other academic subjects.

However, she said not all learning would be assessed or have credits attached.

The education ministry website says schools don't cover fees of materials used, but allowed students to 'take on fundraising to supplement what the school can provide'.


Australia:  Mobile phones are BANNED in State  schools across Victoria in a bid to clamp down on cyberbullying

Victorian public school students will be banned from using their phones from next year.

Students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers until the final bell, Education Minister James Merlino announced.

'This will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment,' he said in a statement.

'Half of all young people have experienced cyberbullying. By banning mobiles we can stop it at the school gate.'

In the case of an emergency, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school.

The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.

The ban will start from term one in 2020.

It comes after McKinnon Secondary College banned phones from its grounds and reported students as being more focused during class and communicating more in the school yard.

In February 2018, ahead of the November state election, the Liberals announced a policy of banning students from using phones in classrooms.

At the time the Andrews government said bans were the decision of individual schools. 'I guess policy imitation is the greatest form of flattery,' former Liberal leader Matthew Guy tweeted on Tuesday night.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Stunning! This Public School Teaches Kids to Love America
Andrew Burns grew up in New Jersey. He worked in the World Trade Center. Some of his friends died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

For the past 15 years Mr. Burns has been teaching eighth-grade social studies at West Middle School in Greenwood Village, Colorado. But the events of that day so many years ago made a profound impact on the school teacher.

“Some of my friends died on 9/11 and I want my kids to know that freedom isn’t free,” he said during an interview on “The Todd Starnes Radio Show.” “I just love America. I love the freedom I have here and I know it wasn’t free.”

And that is the lesson he teaches eighth graders for an entire year — a simple phrase written on a chalk board: freedom isn’t free. The students spend the rest of the school year proving the statement.

“I want the next generation of kids to learn that [freedom is not free],” he said. “You see the World War II generation passing away and the sacrifices that an entire generation made to preserve peace. Those who are serving today and have served continue to provide for us. [The] kids have got to know that.”

Mr. Burns teaches his kids about the American Revolution and the Civil War. On Veterans Day, a service member visits the classroom to talk about life in the military. They send care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they even raised money to buy a puppy for a veteran suffering from PTSD.

“That’s been our service project for the last few years,” he said on my radio show. “We’re up to about four puppies.”

Now many of you may be pleasantly dumbfounded right about now — a public school that actually teaches kids to love America and to respect our military. It’s a beautiful thing.

But there’s more to this classroom lesson about patriotism, and you might want to secure a handkerchief.

Long before Mr. Burns arrived at the school children would visit nearby Fort Logan National Cemetery — the final resting places for many of our fallen heroes. And he could not think of a more poignant place to conduct the last day of class on the last day of school.

Freedom isn’t free.

Standing among the fallen soldiers, the student read the Gettysburg Address and Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” They learn about the history of the cemetery and participate in a flag-folding ceremony.

“We talk about the solemnity of the place and to have the kids look around and see the uniformity of the headstones and to see that this is the cost of freedom,” Mr. Burns said.

This is the cost of freedom.

One by one the eighth graders walk among the fallen placing more than 4,000 American flags at the headstones of our heroes.

“It’s the last lesson of the year,” he said. “We take the students to Fort Logan National Cemetery to try to put an exclamation point on that message.”

A few days after I interviewed Mr. Burns I received a message on our Facebook page from a listener. It turned out his father had been buried at Fort Logan, and the students at West Middle had placed a flag at his dad’s headstone.

“I would like to thank you for such a wonderful thing to do for the students, community and veterans at rest,” the man wrote.

Longtime listeners of my radio show know there are a lot of wrong in American public schools. But in Greenwood Village, Colorado, there is a public school that is doing something right.

We live in the greatest nation in the history of the world — an exceptional nation. We are that shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope for people seeking freedom.

And we have a responsibility to teach future generations that our freedom comes with a price — paid for by our fellow countrymen who voluntarily put their lives on the line to defend the Constitution.

President Reagan once said freedom is just one generation away from extinction. But I believe the Republic is going to be just fine so long as we have teachers like Andrew Burns and academic institutions like West Middle School teaching future generations that freedom isn’t free.


Mickey Mouse degrees: selling out education

British universities must stop promising career prospects over intellectual enrichment

If one of my students told me they were going to read International Business Strategy at Anglia Ruskin University, I would probably advise them to make a better choice.

International student Fiona Pok Wong could have used this advice before enrolling on that course. After three years at Anglia Ruskin, she graduated with a first-class degree in 2013. Recently, she sued Anglia Ruskin for awarding her what she calls a ‘Mickey Mouse degree’ and for making false promises about the quality of the career prospects that would follow. She received £60,000 in an out-of-court settlement, though her claim was never upheld in court and was settled without any admission or underlying suggestion of liability from Anglia Ruskin University.

This is not the first lawsuit of its kind. Last year, Faiz Siddiqui lost a case against Oxford University in the High Court. He blamed the university’s inadequate teaching for his failure to achieve a first-class degree. The presiding judge in Siddiqui’s case warned students of the risks and hurdles of taking this kind of legal action against universities.

However, it has been clear for some time that in higher education, the winds of change are blowing in the opposite direction. For instance, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, a body set up to review student complaints, recently ruled that students should be refunded at least 50 per cent of their tuition fees for teaching time lost when lecturers go on strike.

It was only a matter of time before someone with sufficient financial and legal resources would take a university to court for a ‘mis-sold’ degree. Now the Higher Education Policy Institute is warning that more value-for-money claims will follow.

It is difficult to blame students for taking such a mercantile approach to tertiary education. For the vast majority of undergraduates, you can’t get a degree without a loan of £50,000 – a big price tag. When a degree represents such a large financial burden, students are bound to ask themselves if it’s all worth it.

What’s more, outside of the top-tier Russell Group universities, quality of teaching is becoming very patchy. In some places – including some higher up the food chain than Anglia Ruskin – it can be appalling.

Mickey Mouse degrees are just the tip of the iceberg in a culture that has reduced getting a degree to a necessary, mechanical step in one’s career. The value of a degree is routinely based, by those at all levels of education and outside it, on future wage-earning potential.

The question of what is of value in a modern university is an important one. Faculties and departments do everything they can to sell their wares on promises of higher wages, glamorous careers, foreign travel and exclusive professional networks. They aggressively target foreign students in particular because of the higher revenue they bring in, while subject courses are often drawn up not on the basis of their academic value but of their commercial viability.

What this latest case demonstrates is that those going to university just to get a prestigious job are likely to be unlucky and out of pocket. But it also reveals that, increasingly, universities are unable to convince young people of other reasons to attend.

The true value of a university education is to be found in the sheer joy – and occasional terror – of the intellectual experience. And this cannot be measured in financial gain. Sadly, with such poor-quality teaching becoming the norm in so many places, those who want to go to university for the right reason – the thrill of learning – stand to be the most disappointed of all.


College Costs Are Out of Control. Here’s What Can Be Done

American colleges and universities are failing in one of their most basic missions: to equip students with the tools they need for a career.

Many students graduate ill-prepared to earn a living and pay off the debt they’ve accumulated getting their degrees—40% of those who start college don’t finish within six years.

Additionally, students are often subject to indoctrination into socialist ideology. They face hostility toward opinions that don’t conform to the predominantly leftist thinking on campus.

They’re also immersed in identity politics that pit students of different backgrounds against one another.

Despite these problems, colleges continue to raise tuition. Because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny as to the student’s ability to pay it back, colleges have had free reign to raise prices at levels often double the inflation rate.

Flush with all that money, their first spending priority often isn’t the classroom but the bureaucracy.

From 1987 to 2012, America’s higher education system added more than half a million administrators, doubling the number of administrators relative to the number of faculty.

To pay for these ever-increasing costs, students are borrowing more money and taking on more and more debt.

And with federal loans accounting for much of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and more than a million people defaulting on their loans, taxpayers are picking up much of the tab for this broken system.

So, what’s the solution?

While politicians often suggest throwing more money at the problem, that will only make things worse.

In fact, the surest way to stop the sharp rise in both college tuition and student debt is to get the federal government out of the student loan business.

That cuts off the open spigot of money that has allowed colleges to increase costs virtually without limit.

Restoring private lending will make the loan market more responsible and cause colleges to rein in costs, creating more affordable choices for students.

Private lending will also limit taxpayers’ exposure to billions of dollars in loan defaults.

One emerging private lending solution is coming from colleges themselves in the form of income share agreements.

Such agreements allow students to obtain financing from their schools and pay it back based on a percentage of their income after graduation.

That means their monthly loan payments are lower when their income is lower, ensuring that loan payoffs are more affordable, or that they can pay them off quicker when their income is higher.

This system allows students to see—before they take on debt or choose a major—what types of careers will allow them to pay off their loans quicker and what kind of future they are investing in.

This kind of cost savings and transparency is a win for students, for taxpayers, and for fiscal sanity.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Idea for George Soros and Charles Koch: Fund Campus Debates

At the invitation of Matt Denhart, president of the Coolidge Foundation, I spent an extraordinary day recently speaking to students participating in a Coolidge high school and middle school (!) debate tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina. I watched some students evaluate whether the benefits of attending college exceed the costs. It was a marvelous learning experience for the participants, and led to a civil but spirited discussion of one of the issues of our day.

Bob Luddy, the founder of CaptiveAire Systems, a manufacturer of kitchen ventilation systems, largely financed the event, and his North Carolina efforts led me to think that maybe two extremely wealthy entrepreneurs, George Soros and Charles Koch, could fund a large number of debates involving prominent public intellectuals at the national level, both to encourage collegiate debate but, far more importantly, to introduce more diversity of ideas and civility into discussion of those ideas on campuses. Both gentlemen have shown an interest in open discussion of the issues. The Charles Koch Foundation sponsors educational programs at many universities, and the Soros Open Society Foundations likewise promotes debates (this author himself participated in a debate once in Mr. Soros’ New York apartment).

Suppose Soros and Koch each contributed $50 million to fund a new Collegiate Debate Initiative for three years. The Debate Initiative’s board might consist of two members selected by George Soros, two by Charles Koch, and a chair and perhaps others selected by those four, preferably well regarded national figures not extremely partisan or ideological. The initiative would give $100,000 to $150,000 each year to to fund a series of debates on about 200 campuses (probably about two each semester) on issues of the day.

Should the U.S. drop out of the Paris climate change accord? Should we raise tariffs on Chinese goods? Should we liberalize immigration to the U.S.? Should we have “free” college? Should we have a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Should we ban gasoline-powered automobiles in 10 years? For each debate, a liberal/progressive/socialist speaker would be invited, along with a conservative/libertarian one. For example, Jordan Peterson or Charles Murray might debate Paul Krugman or Thomas Piketty.

These debates would achieve multiple objectives. First, they would provide much needed intellectual diversity on many campuses where most faculty have similar (typically progressive left) perspectives. Second, they would demonstrate the utility of civility and orderly discussion in assessing issues of the day. Third, on many campuses, they would expose students and faculty to first-rate minds that normally would not be seen. Fourth, the value of debate as a learning tool might become greater appreciated as they become more common on campuses. Fifth, debates help demonstrate the importance of freedom of expression and the First Amendment in both learning and in strengthening representative democracy.

In addition to the campus-wide debates featuring prominent public intellectuals, some funds could be used to fund student debate efforts. Perhaps a debating league could be created between schools, where teams of debaters could compete against other teams debating a variety of issues. Ultimately, the Koch-Soros initiative could fund national debate tournaments. Collegiate debating already exists, of course, but this might expand it and make it part of more student lives.

I would envision the initiative encompassing perhaps the largest 50 schools in the U.S. by enrollment, perhaps the 50 most prominent schools as determined by reputation and perhaps another 100 schools selected randomly from a list of all accredited institutions with at least 1,000 students.

One problem probably arising relates to attempts on some campuses to prohibit public campus presentations on the grounds that outsiders (in this case Koch-Soros Initiative people) organized them. There are different ways to overcome this: use off-campus facilities (as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute did in dealing with Gonzaga University), bribe the schools with nice sized “rental” payments, etc. Perhaps the colleges could be allowed to choose between alternative debate topics. Perhaps local campus individuals could be involved in introducing speakers or moderating the debates. Audiences could be polled before and after the debates to ascertain their positions on the debate question, and evaluate who “won” the debate. If successful, hopefully, the debates could be put on a permanent, possibly even endowed basis involving financial support from a broader base of contributors.


PC insanity may mean the end of American universities

People used to talk about the ends of the university and how the academic establishment was failing its students. Today, more and more people are talking about the end of the university, the idea being that it is time to think about closing them rather than reforming them.

Last month at a conference in London, the distinguished British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton added his voice to this chorus when responding to a questioner who complained of the physical ­violence meted out to conservative students at Birkbeck University.

There were two possible responses to this situation, Sir Roger said. One was to start competing institutions, outside the academic establishment, that welcomed conservative voices. The other possibility was “get rid of universities altogether.”

That response was met with enthusiastic applause.

Sir Roger went on to qualify his recommendation, noting that a modern society required institutions to pursue science and engineering. But the humanities, which at most colleges and universities have devolved into cesspools of identity politics and grievance studies, should be starved of funding and ultimately shut down.

It’s an idea that is getting more and more traction.

In a remarkable essay in Quillette titled “After Academia,” ­Allen Farrington summed up the growing consensus. “We need to stop wringing our hands over how to save academia and ­acknowledge that its disease is terminal.”

Is he right? It is too soon to say for sure. But if so, Farrington is correct that its demise “need not be cause for solemnity.” On the contrary, the end of academia “can inspire celebration,” because it could “allow us to shift our energies away from the abject failure of modern education and to refocus on breathing new life into the classical alternative.”

A huge amount of attention and public anxiety has been expended on the plight of free speech on campus. Every season the situation seems to get a little worse. Guest speakers are routinely shouted at, de-platformed, or disinvited. Students and teachers alike are bullied into ­silence or craven apology by self-appointed virtue-crats in college administrations and among designated victim groups among the students.

But the issue isn’t really, or not only, free speech. Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, was hounded out of Evergreen State College when he objected to a “Day of Absence” rally that insisted that all whites stay off campus for a day.

Since then, he has been frequently invited to talk about free speech on college campuses. But he notes that the real crisis in education isn’t about free speech. Rather, it is about “a breakdown in the basic logic of civilization.”

Academia is the crucible, the engine room of this rot. But the breakdown of which Weinstein speaks isn’t confined to college campuses. The revolutionary ­intolerance that has made college campuses so inhospitable to free expression and the impulses of civilization has also deeply affected the woke mandarins of social media and Big Tech. It has made serious inroads into the HR departments of the Fortune 500 and elsewhere in the world of business. And it has insinuated itself into the values and practices of most governmental agencies, many of which have yet to meet a politically correct left-wing cause they do not embrace.

The economist Herb Stein once observed that what cannot go one forever, won’t. In the coming decade, we will see many so-called liberal-arts college close their doors. We will also see more alternatives to traditional colleges. Many of these will be on-line. Some will be local, ad hoc ventures. All will be rebelling against the poisonous hand of identity politics.

Thoughtful citizens will want to hasten this process. Their best bet is to pursue strategies to starve Academia Inc. of funds. No public monies should be feeding institutions that claim to be educating students but really are simply indoctrinating them. Parents and alumni, rightly disgusted by what these institutions have done to their children, should refuse to subsidize their perversion.

Once upon a time, universities were institutions dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the transmission of the highest values of our civilization. Today, most are dedicated to the destruction of those values. It is past time to call them to account.


Time to dump the books? Australian tradesmen earn up to $1MILLION more in their careers than those who do degrees - and graduates are finding it harder to secure full-time jobs

New data comparing the salaries of tradies and university graduates suggest young people would be better off picking up a drill than a textbook.

The surprising data has revealed tradies could make $1million more than university graduates throughout their lifetime.

The figures from the Australian government's Job Outlook website showed blue-collar workers who have come through apprenticeships or having completed vocational training certificates (VET) could be significantly wealthier than the tertiary-educated over the course of their careers.

According to the Job Outlook website, a university-qualified human resources professional could expect to make about $2.78 million over an average 40-year career, and an advertising professional and accountant would make $2.91 million.

On the other hand, a VET-qualified steel construction worker could make $3.15 million, an electrician could make $2.91 million, and a metal fitter could make $3.12 million.

Tradies also avoided HECS debt - the cost of university courses which graduates must pay back once they are in the workforce and their salary reaches a set threshold.

The figures were backed up by research conducted by social demographer Mark McCrindle, which showed people with a tertiary education also had a higher chance of being underemployed.

Mr McCrindle found that from 2008 to 2014, university graduates in full-time employment fell from 86 per cent to 68 per cent, indicating that universities were losing touch with what employers wanted from staff.

By comparison, VET graduates had a full-time employment rate of 78 per cent after training, and 82 per cent of apprenticeship graduates found a job after training. 

Data by recruitment agency Withyouandme also found that tertiary education could be leading to underemployment and a loss of national productivity.

'Individuals are invariably ending up in underemployment and jobs which don't match their potential,' the report said.

'The results show that the number of graduates in every industry is set to outstrip the number of jobs which will be created, making the chances of securing a job in a graduate's industry a difficult proposition.'

'Too many Aussies with Bachelor degrees are pulling beers in pubs or working in retail - careers which are not aligned with their studies.'

A report by Skilling Australia also stated the university drop-out rate was 26.4 per cent between 2005 and 2013, and 21.8 per cent of HECS loans will never be repaid as degrees go unused.

According to experts, employers are more focused on people who have actual skills, employment history, and are job-ready - something fresh university graduates don't always have.

Despite the relatively poor outcomes for graduates, there was no slowing in the number of people seeking university places.

Data showed the number of Australians with HECS debts above $50,000 in 2017-18 reached 208,146, compared to 159,475 in 2016-17.


Monday, June 24, 2019

A Lot of Deception about School Choice

There’s no shortage of distortion when it comes to education reform. The recent legislative debate over educational choice in West Virginia is a case in point.

West Virginia public schools receive more than $3.4 billion annually—including appropriations representing about 43 percent of the state budget. Yet most students are not proficient in the basics. Only 28 percent of public-school eighth-graders are proficient in reading, and less than one in five are proficient in math. Little wonder that despite the much-ballyhooed 90 percent public high-school graduation rate, at least one-quarter of high-school graduates need college remedial classes.

Against this backdrop, opposition to education savings account (ESA) programs makes about as much sense as telling people to stick with rotary phones because smart phones are too novel. The “untested” claim makes even less sense given the evidence from programs that inspired ESAs.

Voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs have existed since 1990 and 1997, respectively. Currently, there are about 50 of these programs in place helping more than 450,000 students in 27 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. ESAs represent next-gen education choice by helping parents pay for numerous approved education expenses besides tuition, such as tutoring, special education therapies, online courses, and testing fees. Arizona enacted the first program in 2011. Today, about 19,000 students in five states have access to ESAs.

Like all forms of education choice, ESAs are based on the principle that parents (not bureaucrats) know best when it comes to their children’s education.

Fully 78 percent of the 18 studies conducted over the past two decades show improved test scores for scholarship students, according to the pro-charter, ESA nonprofit EdChoice. What’s more, a just-released study from the Urban Institute finds that, compared to their public-school peers, scholarship students are up to 20 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Public-school students who don’t participate in choice scholarship programs also benefit.

Ninety-four percent of the 34 studies examining the impact of scholarship programs on public-school students’ test scores found they improved.

Then there are charter schools, tuition-free public schools following the same testing and admissions requirements as district public schools, which have operated for nearly 30 years. Currently, 3.2 million students, mostly minorities and from low-income families, attend 7,000 charter schools in the United States.

Charter schools positively affect student achievement for less money according to the preponderance of scientific research, including meta-analyses and multi-state studies by researchers from the University of Arkansas, University of California, San Diego, Harvard, Stanford and the RAND Corporation. Want to know how charter schools can work in the real world? Consider Arizona, which has had them for 25 years.

Arizona has the highest concentration of charter students nationwide, 19 percent. About 20 percent of its charters are alternative schools, enrolling dropout, homeless and over-aged students. Despite serving higher percentages of disadvantaged students and receiving around $950 less per pupil than district public schools, Arizona charter students outperform their district peers on the state test across grade levels and subjects regardless of their backgrounds.

Arizona charter students also lead the nation in fourth- and eighth-grade math gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—beating powerhouse states like Massachusetts, which have less challenging student populations and spend nearly twice as much per pupil. As for Arizona charter high schools, they dominate US News’ annual national rankings.

Research has long shown that district public schools facing competition for students have higher achievement gains than those not facing competition. Arizona district public schools prove it by outperforming the national averages in terms of NAEP achievement gains across grades and subjects.

Parents don’t need to be bombarded with research to know what education is best for their children. Hopefully, parents find it reassuring that the empirical evidence supports their freedom to choose. Thus, the only question left is just how many more generations of students do lawmakers plan on sacrificing to the status quo before they put the real experts back in charge?


Small-Schoolers Aim High

Students at lesser-known colleges are devising their own strategies to get noticed by top recruiters

If the college-admissions scandal is any guide, attending an elite college is a ticket to a high-paying job. So what about students at lesser-known colleges, with names few people even recognize? Many find themselves on the wrong side of a recruiting gap, where students at colleges that aren’t on corporate recruiters’ list of target schools must battle hard to get noticed.

Ask Andrew Huang, a 2018 graduate of tiny Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. He chose Gordon for its sense of community, close student-faculty ties and proximity to Boston. But he aspired to work in finance—a competitive field where many firms recruit interns and employees from a cadre of elite target schools.

Dogged networking for an internship during his sophomore year netted Mr. Huang more than 100 new contacts—although many of his conversations with them were discouraging.

He still remembers one investment banker’s response to his pitch: “He said no, that because I didn’t go to one of the firm’s target schools, it would be too much of an uphill battle for me,” Mr. Huang says. “In that moment, I just knew that I had to keep working hard.”

Mr. Huang eventually reached his goal, landing an internship in finance and a job after graduation as an analyst at Cambridge Associates, a global investment-advisory firm in Boston.

Small colleges do have major strengths, of course. Students often seek them out for a well-rounded liberal-arts education and a more intimate campus experience.

They also tend to have cohesive networks of alumni who go to bat for current students seeking internships and jobs.

Still, students from elite colleges and universities such as the Ivy League and Stanford, or big, highly regarded state schools such as Penn State and the University of Michigan, are far more likely to see corporate recruiters on campus. Fewer employers are now sending representatives to colleges in the first place —about 72% compared with 89% in 2006, says Edwin Koc, director of research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Students from elite schools, however, are also more frequently the target of online recruitment ads.

Getting on recruiters’ radar as a sophomore or junior is more important amid a trend toward employers assessing potential candidates earlier. Recruiters in competitive fields expect students to start gaining internship experience by their sophomore year.

That means hiring decisions that used to be made in students’ senior year are now taking place two years earlier—a fact easily missed by the average 19-year-old.

Paul Pesek was almost blindsided by this ramped-up process. As a sophomore math and economics major at Wheaton College near Chicago, he knew he wanted to work in a high-impact job, but he had little idea how to proceed. He was shocked into awareness by a venture capitalist who spoke on campus about how to land challenging jobs in finance, consulting and technology.

The message: “This ship is taking off and you need to get on it now,” Mr. Pesek says.

He began networking with Wheaton alumni and others, in the hope of landing a summer internship in finance. “It took a ton of conversations, and frankly, painful ones at first,” he says. He flew to New York on one fall break with only a single appointment set up, then scheduled a half-dozen more by telling contacts, “I’m coming to New York for a networking week,” he says. His efforts paid off. He landed an internship at Morgan Stanley, and a job after his 2013 graduation at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He later moved on to a private-equity firm. To help other students, Mr. Pesek co-founded a mentoring organization in 2016, Vocational Capital.

A friend, Evan Weir, founded a chapter at his alma mater, Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga. Mr. Huang, who was mentored at Gordon College by a friend of Mr. Pesek’s, is helping run a third chapter there. They’ve enrolled 91 students in the program so far, Mr. Pesek says.

Their message to other students:

“You’re going to end up working as a barista if you don’t have a plan,” says Mr. Weir, a 2015 grad whose networking helped him land an internship, and later a full-time position, at a Wall Street firm.

Big employers can’t recruit on all of the nation’s 3,000 four-year campuses, of course, but they’re more likely to recruit at lesserknown schools if alumni hold top jobs at the company.

Companies say they democratize the hiring process by posting internships and jobs on their websites so that students from any school can apply. Online applications are easily overlooked amid hundreds of competitors or weeded out by applicant-tracking systems, however.

Small colleges are taking steps to make their students more visible. Gordon College creates internships in-house. Neema Kamau, a senior there, says experience she gained as an assistant to the college’s CFO helped her land an internship this summer as a global markets analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York.

Another innovative program by a Chicago consulting firm, Parker Dewey, is an online micro-internship platform that links college students and recent grads with employers offering paid, shortterm projects. The site gives students from any school a chance to gain experience and show off their skills, and it has attracted many employers seeking more diverse candidates, says CEO Jeffrey Moss. “We offer a broader employee pool, as opposed to the walled gardens that exist now in campus recruiting,” he says.

Alexa Arakelian, a senior in prelaw studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin, says work experience she gained through Parker Dewey enabled her to compete successfully against students from larger schools for a summer internship at a Chicago security-consulting firm. “It puts us on the same playing field,” she says. “That experience helped me get an amazing summer internship I never thought I’d get.”

Stand Out, Even if You Didn’t Attend an Elite School

 *  Begin as a freshman to plan internships or other work experience.

 *  Update and polish your LinkedIn profile to reflect your experience and goals.

 *  Tap your college career-service centers to practice mock interviews and get advice on professional skills.

 *  Build your network of contacts via email, phone calls and events.

 *  Consider asking administrators at your college to shadow or intern for them.


Australia: Kudos to NSW for phonics check trial

The NSW budget included some very welcome education news: a trial of the Year 1 phonics screening check in some government schools.

This is a great outcome for NSW children, and CIS is particularly pleased to see it, as we have been advocating this policy for several years.

South Australia was the first state to have a trial — the feedback on which was overwhelmingly positive from students, teachers, and principals — and now conducts the check annually in all government schools (it is bi-partisan policy, with the trial having been introduced by the then Labor government).

There shouldn’t be anything partisan about wanting to ensure high-quality reading instruction in the early years of school. It is well-established that early reading ability is crucial and strongly influences later literacy skills and achievement across subject areas. It’s vital we identify students who are falling behind as soon as possible so we can intervene to help them.

And phonics instruction is especially important for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A comprehensive review by the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation found that explicit phonics instruction substantially reduces the reading gap between disadvantaged and advantaged students.

The context is that too many children aren’t learning how to read in primary school. The 2016 PIRLS test found that one in every five Australian Year 4 students had reading levels below the international literacy benchmark.

While the focus in the past has been on lifting education spending, it is more important that school systems implement evidence-based policies, with accountability and transparency.

The NSW government also announced in the budget that, along with a significant increase in school spending, in future, there will be an outcomes-based approach to NSW schools. Unsurprisingly, this was controversial, with a former NSW education minister labelling it a “bad idea”.

Imagine… a government wanting to ensure that additional billions of taxpayer dollars spent on schools actually leads to better outcomes? Just outrageous.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Dis-Grace of Harvard
This week, Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv announced that Harvard University has withdrawn his acceptance to the college. In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the then-high school junior became a prominent voice for school safety, meeting with politicians across the political spectrum. He was also a prominent defender of Second Amendment rights. After scoring 1550 on his SATs and graduating second in his class, Kashuv was admitted to Harvard, turning down scholarship money at other schools to do so.

Then came the tsunami.

Former classmates who oppose Kashuv’s politics revealed on social media that when he was 16, months before the Parkland shooting, he typed egregious racist slurs, including the N-word, in a private Google doc. This revelation led Kashuv to immediately apologize publicly for his use of the language, which he insisted was not a reflection of racist belief but a juvenile attempt to shock his peers. He pointed to his record of public-facing accomplishment and pledged to learn from his mistakes. He issued an apology to Harvard, taking full responsibility for his comments; he reached out to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to see what steps he could take to assure them that he had changed.

No matter. Harvard’s admissions committee decided to withdraw his acceptance.

There are several lessons here — all of them bad for the country.

First, grace is no longer an aspect of American life — at least for one side of the aisle. Kashuv has been in the public eye for a year and a half. In that time, he has acted with remarkable poise, as have many others in his class. The fact that he participated in an idiotic and disgusting private group chat months before the Parkland shooting has had apparently no effect on his public behavior. If the new standard is that past private statements, once surfaced, override all public behavior since — including apologies, evidence of decency and willingness to evidence repentance — we are entering a dangerous new era. Is Harvard prepared for dredging up every incoming first year’s Twitter direct messages for scrutiny?

But that won’t be the standard, obviously. The commentariat calling for Kashuv’s expulsion was loudly decrying Harvard for having barred Michelle Jones, who killed her own 4-year-old, just two years ago. The problem for Kashuv is that he is conservative; the old racist slurs were merely a means of damaging him. There is little question that were pro-gun control David Hogg the Parkland survivor at issue rather than Kashuv, a little more grace might have been applied here.

Second, public life comes with inherent risks and thus should be avoided by rational actors. Kashuv would have been admitted to Harvard if he had never engaged in activism: He scored a 1550 on his SAT and graduated second in his class. No one on the radical left or alt-right would have tried to destroy his academic career; no one would have bothered. Kashuv dared to speak up politically and thus became a target. Rational actors will take note and stay away from the public square, leaving that square to the most shameless and the most enigmatic.

Third, Harvard has become an institution not for education but for capitulation to the mob. Forget Kashuv for a second. Focus instead on Harvard Law School professor Ronald Sullivan, a political liberal who was tossed as dean of a residential house for the grave sin of acting as a defense attorney on Harvey Weinstein’s team. Cross Harvard’s most radical students or the wokescolds on social media and the administration will capitulate in short order.

Kashuv will be fine. He’ll move on, go to another school, mature and grow. But Harvard won’t be a part of that process. The social media mob was motivated not by a desire to purify by our politics — after all, Ralph Northam is still governor of Virginia — but by a desire to damage the Parkland student they just didn’t like.


High School Girl Who Lost Race to Transgender Athletes Files Federal Complaint

A female high school athlete who didn’t qualify for a track event because two boys who identify as girls ran faster filed a complaint Monday with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

“No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this, but no one has enough courage to speak up,” Selina Soule said during an interview with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night on his Fox News Channel show.

Selina competes in track at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, Connecticut. She wasn’t able to qualify for the 55-meter event in the New England regionals because two spots were taken by biological boys, as The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Bolar documented in a recent video report on the 16-year-old’s situation.

She is far from the only female athlete disadvantaged by policies that allow transgender girls to compete with biological girls, Selina told Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“I haven’t been the only one affected by this,” she said. “There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out on winning the state open championship because of the team that the transgender athlete was on.”

Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group, joined Selina for the interview. Holcomb said the organization filed the complaint to bring justice to Selina’s situation.

“Alliance Defending Freedom, on behalf of Selina and a couple of other brave female athletes, has filed or is in the process of filing a Title IX complaint asking the Department of Education to step in, to investigate, and to restore a level playing field for Selina,” Holcomb said.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights enforces Title IX, the federal law that “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance,” according to the agency’s website. 

If the two boys who identify as girls had not been allowed to compete as girls, Selina says, she would have placed sixth and had the opportunity to run the 55 in front of college coaches at the New England regionals.

Her complaint, according to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, asks the Education Department “to investigate illegal discrimination against the Connecticut athletes,” including Selina.

Since the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference implemented a protocol “that allows biological males who claim a female identity to compete in girls’ athletic events,” the complaint says, “boys have consistently deprived [Selina] Soule and the other female athletes of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels.”

“Girls like Selina should never be forced to be spectators in their own sports, but, unfortunately, that is exactly what is taking place when you allow biological males to compete in sports that have been set aside and specifically designed for women like Selina,” Holcomb said. “Title IX was designed to ensure that girls have a fair shake at athletics, and are not denied the opportunity to participate at the highest levels of competition.”

Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Selina should not be facing such discrimination.

“Women and girls should be free to compete in athletics without fear of injury, and with the expectation that their opponents will be of the same sex,” Kao said, adding:

Policies that allow males to self-identity as females in athletic competition are already politicizing sports and taking away accomplishments and scholarship opportunities from deserving female athletes like Selina Soule and her classmates.

Since Congress passed Title IX in 1972, the number of women and girls participating in sports has risen from 1 in 27 to 2 in 5. This has benefitted their performance in classes as well as on the playing fields.

By ignoring the reality of sex differences, gender identity policies threaten progress and create unfairness and danger for female athletes. 


Sending your child to college is playing Russian roulette with their values, character, and even joy of life

When assessing America’s or any of the Western world’s universities—wondering whether you should send your child to one; whether you should pay for a child to attend one; whether you should go into great debt to attend one; whether you should donate money to one; and related questions—it would seem that the single most important question to be answered is this: What type of person does the university produce?

It’s hard to imagine any parent—left, right, liberal, conservative, or apolitical—who would disagree with asking that question.

They would disagree about what constituted a desirable outcome. Obviously, left-wing parents would want their child’s college to send home a child with left-wing views, and a parent on the right would not be happy if his or her child returned home with left-wing views, but every parent would agree that the question “What type of person did college produce?” is an important one.

My belief is that, most of the time, colleges today produce a worse human being or, at the very least, a person who is no better, wiser, or more mature than when he or she graduated high school.

Let’s begin with behavioral issues.

There’s a good chance your son or daughter will have spent much of his or her free time at college partying, which often means getting drunk, smoking marijuana, and hooking up with someone for casual sex.

While none of those activities necessarily means your son or daughter became a worse human being, all of us can agree that none of them made your child a better one.

Regarding college drinking, Alcohol Rehab Guide, an online alcohol addiction site, reports:

A large percentage of college students consume alcohol by binge drinking. … For men, binge drinking involves drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in two hours. On the other hand, binge drinking for women is considered four or more drinks within a two-hour time period.

The website also states: “Roughly 80 percent of college students—four out of every five—consume alcohol to some degree. It’s estimated that 50 percent of those students engage in binge drinking … .”

BMC Public Health reported in 2013:

One young adult in two has entered university education in Western countries. … [This] is often associated with risky [behavior], such as excessive alcohol consumption. … We found that the more a student was exposed to college environmental factors, the greater the risk of heavy, frequent, and abusive drinking.

Alcohol consumption increased for students living on campus, living in a dormitory with a higher number of [roommates], and having been in the university for a long spell.

And we are all aware of the sexual activity that emanates from college drinking and can be regretted the next day (usually by the woman).

Then there is depression and mental illness at college. In the words of clinical psychologist Gregg Henriques in Psychology Today, “It is neither an exaggeration, nor is it alarmist to claim that there is a mental health crisis today facing America’s college students.

“Evidence suggests that this group has greater levels of stress and psychopathology than any time in the nation’s history.”

Now, let’s move on to values and character.

Did your son or daughter (or niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter) return home from college more, less, or equally kind a person?

More, less, or equally respectful of you, his or her parent(s)?

More, less, or equally grateful to you for the monetary sacrifice you made to enable him or her to attend college?

More, less, or equally proud to be an American?

More, less, or equally respectful of religion?

More, less, or equally wise?

More, less, or equally committed to free speech?

More, less, or equally open to hearing views he or she disagrees with?

I think I know the answers to those questions, in most instances. But far more important than what I assume is what you will find out. Please ask not only the college students and recent college graduates, but also their parents and other relatives these questions.

Then decide whether you want to risk sending your child to a place that will greatly increase their chances of being depressed, engaging in binge drinking, and learning nothing important—while being taught how awful America is, why speech he or she doesn’t agree with should be suppressed, how pathetic religious Christians and Jews are, how wonderful religious Muslims are, and how important skin color is.

I acknowledge that students who are entering the science, technology, engineering, and math fields must attend college. But for most of the rest, sending your child to college is playing Russian roulette with their values, character, and even joy of life.