Higher Education's Big Lie

Ann Larson, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 03, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In order for higher education to support social mobility, social mobility must be possible. This is increasingly not the case and questions are beginning to be asked about whether attending college and getting a degree is a key to success. Clearly, finishing with tens of thousands of dollars of debt to qualify only for low-paying positions is not the ticket. Higher education by itself is not sufficient to lift people out of poverty, and it is arguable that the way it is structured it actually thwarts that objective. But I want to argue, in a way the author of this article does not, that it is necessary. Even those people who succeeded without college had some sort of highly specialized knowledge. It may not matter how you get it - and there are certainly better ways than going tens of thousands of dollars into debt - but it is, nonetheless, absolutely necessary.
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