how higher education became a cargo cult

Posted by Ed 16 days ago 

The percentage of americans getting college degrees has exploded from around 4% in 1940 to the mid 37%’s now and this actually understates the issue as this is just the number who successfully completed a 4 year degree.
Over 70% of recent high school grads enroll in college which means that around 45% of 16-24 year olds are enrolled in college and more than half were at some point. what was once 1 in 20 is now 1 in 2. and that’s a VERY different thing and this is where the cargo cult emerges:

An institution for the top 5 percentiles of a society is a very different place than an institution for the whole top half. it must be structured differently, work differently, place different demands, and perhaps most of all: it’s output and the outcomes of those who attended are going to be different.

College is not magic. It does not make people more motivated or smarter. it may select for these traits, it does not make those who attend “higher percentile” in terms of innate ability or expected outcome.
Past a point, it may be inflicting harm and i would argue that based on the promises and expectations, it’s creating a mathematical impossibility. 
It seems like every kid who enrolls in college is expecting to be in the top 10-20% of earners. this is sort of “the deal” that folks are buying into. but if 50% of society is enrolling, it’s obviously impossible. 

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