Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Modest Proposal Concerning the Number of Colleges in Operation. Or: "The World Needs Ditch Diggers, Too."

I've been reading "Generation X Goes to College" and wonder if, despite his generally astute analysis, the author isn't missing the big cause of his complaints: The explosion of college-attending baby-boomers created more and bigger colleges to meet a particular demographic need. That need no longer exists. Instead of whoring themselves out to pitifully unprepared, militantly anti-intellectual "students" so that every seat has a tuition-paying ass, why don't we just admit that there are too many colleges in operation at the moment?

If we reduced the number of college seats by, say, 30%, those that remained could raise their standards and let their faculty put down the hand-puppets and finger paint and reacquaint themselves with academic integrity. The kids who shouldn't be in college won't waste time and money dragging down the quality of everyone else's education. High school counselors could get off their BA-in-Education asses and help kids prepare themselves for vocations for which they are actually suited. All those miserable adjuncts weeping and listening to their Morrissey CDs as they drive from shit-gig to shit-gig can act like everyone else in the world and realize that work is work, that's why they call it...well, you know. Having a PhD doesn't entitle you to a perpetually fulfilling, self-actualizing professional life. It's a choice you made when you were 22 and making fun of all your peers for "selling out" by training for professions such as law and business.

Checked out their Facebook pages lately? You know, the ones with the pictures of successful, well-adjusted adults with families who are smiling because now in their late 30s they are beginning to reap the rewards of hard work in a viable profession instead of bitching, whining, and blaming everyone but themselves for their angst.

I'd walk the walk, too if the population of college students were to shrink. Hell, I was laid off when my school downsized after Hurricane Katrina. What can you do but suck it up and find a way to pay the bills that doesn't suck too much until you find something you really enjoy? Everyone wants professional fulfillment, but as my favorite Demotivator says: "Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up."