>Americans are finally starting to ask: "Is all this higher education really necessary?"
Since the appearance in The Atlantic of my essay "In The Basement of the Ivory Tower" (2008), in which I questioned the wisdom of sending seemingly everyone in the United States through the rigors of higher education, it's become increasingly apparent to me that I'm far from the only one with these misgivings. Indeed, to my surprise, I've discovered that rather than a lone crank, I'm a voice in a growing movement.
In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth. An instructor at a "college of last resort" explains why.
The Truth About Harvard: It may be hard to get into Harvard, but it's easy to get out without learning much of enduring value at all. A recent graduate's report. By Ross Douthat
What Does College Teach? It's time to put an end to "faith-based" acceptance of higher education's quality. By Richard H. Hersh
I hadn't expected my essay, inspired by the frustrations of teaching students unprepared for the rigors of college-level work, to attract much notice. But the volume and vehemence of the feedback the piece generated was overwhelming. It drew more visitors than almost any other article on the Atlantic's web site in 2008, and provoked an avalanche of letters to the editor. It even started turning up in the syllabi of college writing classes, and on the agendas of educational conferences.
In the months and years since then - and especially now, as I prepare to add to the critical tumult with a book expanding on that original article - I find myself noticing similar sentiments elsewhere. Is it merely a matter of my becoming so immersed in the subject that I'm seeing it everywhere? I don't think so. Start paying attention, and it becomes readily apparent that more and more Americans today are skeptical about the benefits of college.