George Michael: Think twice about college

September 01, 2012|By GEORGE MICHAEL

School is back in session. It seems to happen earlier every year. Elementary, high school and college campuses are full of expectations. Many of last year’s high school graduates are now enrolled in programs of higher education. America’s four-year schools expect as many 15 million in attendance this year as with another 8 million or so in two-year post-graduate schools.

But is college worth it? Have we been oversold on the idea that college is the path to a better future or are we simply turning out more candidates to join the Occupy Wall Street movement? The job market stinks and college grads need to be realistic in their expectations for a nice cushy job awaiting them.

Sure, we always get those rosy numbers about how much more a college grad earns than those without a degree. You have to wonder if unemployed graduates are included in the data.

In a recent article on, “Why College May Not Be Worth It,” written by senior features editor Albert Bozzo, examples were given of high school students who are bypassing college to pursue other ventures. Some are attending institutes which are teaching the basics of entrepreneurism and job-creation strategies.

The article stated that “the job market is dismal, the U.S. seems adrift in the global economy and millions of debt-burdened, college grads are bunking with their parents as they hustle to start a career.”

American taxpayers, who subsidize higher education, should be asking, “What are our young people learning?” A review of secular curriculums reveal courses of the leftist agenda demanded by gay rights organizations, feminists, and advocates of the tried and true Marxist and anti-colonial “blame America” viewpoint. Classes that focus on the foundational, core values which have contributed to America’s greatness are few and far between.

Author David Kupelian wrote an article in Whistleblower magazine entitled “College Freshman Undergo Maoist Brainwashing: New Students Run Gauntlet of Mandatory Diversity Seminars.” It is probably not a good idea to catalog in a family newspaper the curriculum and topics in these courses. Older Americans would be shocked to step into the social science courses in the big universities today. The misuse of tax dollars is atrocious.

Many professors target America as the enemy of poor nations, an America which has raped and pillaged the world, becoming wealthy while the rest of the world is evermore impoverished. Is this the kind of worldview most American taxpayers are happy to support? I doubt it.

With all the federal grants and programs available for student aid, a system has been created which assures tenured professors six-figure salaries for minimal teaching responsibilities. By using tax dollars to underwrite these institutions of higher learning, colleges are free to keep raising salaries without the constraints of a normal market system. Big subsidies have created a nice white-collared welfare system. The shakedown of taxpayers continues year after year unabated. 

Student loan debt, now over $1 trillion, is at an all-time high. Amazingly, this debt exceeds all of our credit card debt. My bet is that the American taxpayer will be on the hook for much of it.

A recent Internet article at featured a story on a new line of clothing just in time for college. “The clothing chain Urban Outfitters is promoting a provocative new line of T-shirts with slogans such as ‘I Vote For Vodka’ and ‘USA Drinking Team.’ A version modeled by a young woman, who appears to be a teen, is emblazoned with blurred letters reading, I Drink, You’re Cute.”

Students like to brag about their ranking on the “Best Party School” list. What is their main focus? Many parents hide their heads in the sand, hoping for the best but wondering what is really going on.

So let’s get over the bogus notion of how important a college education is today. Some will benefit from the experience. Many will do well and flourish. Some careers are worth pursuing. But parents and students would do well to examine the pitfalls and costs, both financially and morally, before signing up.

George Michael, who lives in Williamsport, is a former principal of Grace Academy. His email address is

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