- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Washington Times really hit the nail on the head in the recent editorial, “A permanent underclass” (Comment & Analysis, May 14). It read, “Some of the blame for [our] state of affairs falls on our dysfunctional K-12 educational system and the push to send everyone to college without regard for ability, employability or capacity to pay.”

Ever wonder why Germany is probably one of the few countries in Europe that is going to survive intact the evolving economic and political crisis? It may just be due to the fact that the German educational system is strong on vocational training and apprenticeships. There is a weeding-out process that only sends the brightest and most motivated students to the higher-education system.

The unbelievable dysfunction in our K-12 system and the massive federal subsidies, both direct and indirect, in our university system has resulted in massive misinvestment. The university campus today bears little relationship to the campus of 50 years ago. Gourmet food emporiums and massive, Olympic-quality sports centers are the rule, not to mention lavish apartment accommodations for student housing. University administrations bumped up the number of deans by an order of magnitude to garner lavish salaries and these faculty members add little, if anything, to the quality of education. University presidents are paid CEO-level salaries. College recruiting and their associated marketing departments look more like Madison Avenue than anything you would picture in academe.

The result of this misinvestment is little different from what happened in the housing market, another example of massive federal intervention. Instead of a glut of abandoned houses and its associated effect on the entire real estate market you have thousands of student debt bombs with skills mismatched to the real economy. It is yet another example of how the entitlement state sacrifices future generations for present-day political power and money.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

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