Without College Everyone Would Be an Idiot, Right?

I’d like to quote this whole article from Yahoo News, and so I highly recommend you read it, but I especially like this passage, which considers how people might acquire knowledge in a world without the presumption that everyone should go to college. Why, wouldn’t we all be ignorant? (Quite unlike the situation that prevails today, of course.)

In young adulthood, you’d make friends, acquaintances and misspent-youth memories in the workplace, online and in service to community, cause and country. That’s where you’d also acquire polish, a work ethic and a conscience.

You’d bring glory or ignominy to your family the old-fashioned way: through your contributions to society and your interactions with your fellows. The glory/ignominy die would not be cast when you were 17, by a letter of admission or rejection. Imagine.

You’d read, do problem sets and hear lectures as needed or desired—in reading groups, at workshops, on the road, at community programs, at corporate programs, at museums and libraries and above all on the Internet. You’d study not to get a credential; you’d study to improve your mind or acquire a skill, the same reason you go to karate, yoga or mandolin class.

If you happened to be the rare type who loves nothing more than to study liberal arts—if you were scholarly and somewhat monastic by nature—you might raise the money and enroll in an affordable college with some like-minded students and a good library.

Read “How to Burst the College Bubble.”


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