I try not to make posts primarily links to articles, but this article about the truth behind America’s “everybody should go to college” mentality is both enveloping and thought-provoking (the author definitely proves his qualifications as a teacher).
Personally, I’m a little split on the subject, though I lean slightly in the direction of the author. On the one hand, I agree that the ideal that everybody should have a college degree is just that, an ideal. Some people are not able to, or have no reason to, obtain a college degree, and encouraging them to do so is a waste of their time, money, and energy.
On the other hand (and this is a tangent “Professor X” doesn’t touch on), I see and interact with people who haven’t had a college education, or have gone to a local community college at night, and it’s often surprisingly difficult. I’m not referring to intellectual differences, but I feel that going away to college gives you a more open view of the world. It not only exposes you to different cultures and ways of thinking, but shoves you into a hot, crowded room with them. It forces you to eat, sleep, and live with them. If that doesn’t broaden your horizons, I don’t know what will. Those who haven’t experienced this part of the education system I find are often much more naive to the world…they see people as more black and white than they really are. I’m not saying that college is the only place where one can learn these shades of gray, but for many who are born, grow up, work, raise a family, and die in the same place all their lives, this is the only opportunity they have to do so.
If it is idealistic to think that everyone should have a college education, it’s downright foolish to think that everyone should go away to college, and while I agree completely, if we don’t work towards ideals and dreams, how else will we make progress?