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Stephen McBride: Too many U.S. colleges are “socialist indoctrination centers”

His name is Stephen McBride. He’s the editor of RiskHedge Report. And he doesn’t care much for today’s U.S. higher education system.

Check out what he writes on Forbes.com:

Here’s some great news: one of America’s most broken industries is finally being exposed as a sham. And make no mistake, the end of college as we know it is a great thing.

It’s great for families, who’ll save money and take on less debt putting kids through school. It’s great for kids, who’ll no longer be lured into the socialist indoctrination centers that many American campuses have become. And as I’ll show you, it’s great for investors, who stand to make a killing on the companies that’ll disrupt college for good.

Let’s take this from the beginning.

  1. America’s higher education system is most definitely not a sham. One needs to only look at the data; they clearly show that college graduates will make far more money over their lifetime than will someone with only a high school degree. While I don’t like collapsing this point into simple dollars, it’s in the language people like Mr. McBride will understand. Or Mr. McBride could look at just one of the world’s top universities rankings; if he did, he’d see that U.S. schools dominate the list.
  2. The end of college “as we know it” is not something to celebrate. College “as we know it” affords students the opportunity to study the sciences, communication, business, the social sciences, nursing/health programs, the humanities and more. Which of these would Mr. McBride like to remove? It does so “as we know it” in well-maintained locations in urban, suburban and rural areas. Should colleges not provide such environments for their faculty, staff and students? College “as we know it” offers multiple on- and off-campus engaged and service learning options so that students can attempt to develop their entire self. Should these programs be cancelled? College “as we know it” challenges students to consider international study options. Perhaps these should be eliminated? It seems to me that while college “as we know it” isn’t perfect (I stand alongside anyone who argues that the debt load college graduates carry must be addressed), it does far more good than critics such as Mr. McBride care to consider.
  3. NO American college — NOT ONE — has become a socialist indoctrination center. Mr. McBride doesn’t name one in his screed because there isn’t one to name. Full stop.
  4. Investors in higher education? Oh, yes, that will do wonders. Let’s turn higher education into a transaction instead of a transformation. Joe Learner and Susie Student send a consortium thousands of dollars in exchange for a degree. In this soul-sucking endeavor, none of the “as we know it” programs are marketable so they’re out.

Mr. McBride argues Amazon is the corporation America’s higher education system ought to aspire to reach. Amazon! I’ll let those who have written about Amazon and its treatment of employees to respond to that argument. (You can find just a few of those critics here, here, here and here.) Oh, yes, Amazon most definitely is providing lessons in leadership, ethics and personal development that ought to be endorsed throughout higher education. The argument that such companies are the right way to “disrupt” higher education uses the wrong “d” word; their policies inside higher education would DESTROY America’s colleges and universities.

And maybe that’s what Mr. McBride wants.

He should stay the heck out of the higher education world. Let those of us who actually care about its people, its programs and its future decide what comes next. We don’t need another “let’s make it all about money” argument.