Do you suffer from Down Syndrome or some other form of mental retardation? Good news! The Associated Press reports that now you, too, can go to college!
Decades ago attaining a college education meant that you had demonstrated that your IQ was probably above average. Today, everyone and even their brother with Down's Syndrome can go to college. Is it any wonder that college degrees have lost much of their economic value? Who's paying for all of this? Our tax dollars, of course.
That growth is partly because of an increasing demand for higher education for these students and there are new federal funds for such programs. The federal rules that took effect this fall allow students with intellectual disabilities to receive grants and work-study money.At least one commentator gets it:
The infusion of federal money has generated some criticism. Conservative commentator Charlotte Allen said it's a waste to spend federal tax dollars on the programs and insisted that calling them college dilutes the meaning of college.Will for-profit, predatory colleges start offering associates and bachelors degrees for mentally retarded people? My guess is yes, as long as the federal dollars are available.
"It's a kind of fantasy," said Allen, a contributing editor for Minding the Campus, a publication of the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute. "It may make intellectually disabled people feel better, but is that what college is supposed to be all about?"
EDIT: Apparently someone linked to my blog at a Down Syndrome forum or community website. (How the hell did anyone even find this post on an obscure blog?) Anyway, welcome to Fluster Cucked. Please allow me to clarify the context which regular readers and the target audience of this blog would understand.
I only have sympathy for people with Down Syndrome and other cognitive disabilities. The purpose of my post was not to mock people with mental disabilities, but rather to point out the absurdity of the notion that everyone should go to college and to publicize the fact that our government and colleges are bending over backwards to send everyone to college.
In my view, our nation is wasting a huge amount of economic resources--people's time and money--on higher education that has no real economic value. The result is that our nation has a large oversupply of college-educated people who end up unemployed or underemployed-and-involuntarily-out-of-field, including people with PhD's and professional degrees. In my opinion, only the brightest and most ambitious people should go to college, at least to traditional four year colleges, because the overwhelming majority of jobs make little or no use of college education.
Many jobs require people to have a college education in order to obtain employment, not because a college education is directly useful, but rather as a proxy for separating out candidates by IQ, a sense of ambitiousness, and responsibility. Decades ago these very same jobs were filled with people who had mere high school diplomas and they received training and learned on the job without an expenditure of four years' worth of time and student loan debt. I think our society would be wealthier and fewer people would be saddled with non-dischargeable student loan debt if unneeded college education were no longer required for employment that doesn't make direct use of higher education. In my view, college graduate production in a certain field should correspond more closely to the real-world demand for college graduates in that field.
Thus, in my opinion people with Down Syndrome and other cognitive disabilities simply should not be able to gain access to college, at least not on the taxpayers' dime, nor should they feel a compelling need to do so. I suspect that the kinds of work most people with cognitive disabilities would perform make little real use of a college education. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm under the perception that they aren't going to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, accountants, or computer programmers--things that make real use of a college education and that have economic value.