A Book with a Kernel of Truth—and a Grain Silo of Nonsense

Every so often, a leftist thinker breaks free from the orthodoxy to point out that policies favored by “progressives” can have adverse consequences. When that happens, it’s worth paying attention. We have such an instance with the publication of The Cult of Smart by Fredrik deBoer, a writer and one-time academic whose work has appeared … Continue reading “A Book with a Kernel of Truth—and a Grain Silo of Nonsense”


When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)

Student debt has a bad reputation. It’s under attack from the left, which sees debt as a ball and chain that ruins the lives of young people who had the audacity to seek a decent education. Many on the right share this dim view of student debt but lay the blame at the feet of … Continue reading “When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)”


Credential Inflation: What’s Causing It and What Can We Do About It?

Credential inflation refers to an increase in the education credentials required for a job—for example, a job that used to be done by high school graduates but now requires new hires to have a college degree. Credential inflation has been going on for decades. One of the earliest mentions of it is in professor Randall … Continue reading “Credential Inflation: What’s Causing It and What Can We Do About It?”


Still Believe That a College Degree Is a Great Investment?

Recently, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced that he was in favor of a plan to make college education free–for most students at public institutions anyway. Why? Because too many students are supposedly being kept out of college due to its cost. Even though much of the expense of public higher education is already borne by … Continue reading “Still Believe That a College Degree Is a Great Investment?”


‘Some College, No Degree’ Jobs and the Trouble with the Credential Treadmill

The types of jobs available before and after the Great Recession starkly differ. With the after-effects of the economic slowdown thanks to the coronavirus, the pattern could be repeated. Many of the jobs usually held by less-educated Americans before the recession have disappeared, while workers with at least some college education disproportionately occupy growing industries, … Continue reading “‘Some College, No Degree’ Jobs and the Trouble with the Credential Treadmill”


The Overhyped College Dropout ‘Scandal’

About 40 percent of Americans who enroll in college drop out before earning a certificate or degree. A high percentage of those who drop out are from poor families; they attended K-12 schools where academic standards were low and students who really tried to learn faced peer rejection for “acting white.” Still, some graduate and … Continue reading “The Overhyped College Dropout ‘Scandal’”


The Key to Success for Young People Isn’t Always College

As young people worry about their futures, going to college isn’t necessarily their first step toward a good job. Entrepreneur Isaac Morehouse predicts the relevance of colleges, and the degrees they confer, will erode as employers increasingly look for workers with demonstrated, often self-taught job skills. “I think it will be a long, slow decline, … Continue reading “The Key to Success for Young People Isn’t Always College”


Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses

It can be tempting for college leaders to focus solely on data that support their policy initiatives—to the exclusion of other relevant information. Unfortunately, intentionally or not, University of North Carolina system president Margaret Spellings seems to have given in to this temptation. At Spellings’ last meeting of the UNC Board of Governors with her … Continue reading “Looking at Higher Ed Through Rose-Colored Glasses”


What We Would Like to See in the New Year

It’s been a remarkable year for higher education. We ranked the most important events of 2018 in last week’s article. But now it’s time to look ahead. Here is what members of the Martin Center staff would like to see happen in academia in 2019.   Jenna A. Robinson, President More States Adopting Due Process … Continue reading “What We Would Like to See in the New Year”


Fixing the Divide Between the Public and Higher Ed

The partnership between America and its colleges and universities is broken. Americans are disappointed with higher education. A majority of Americans (57 percent) now say higher education fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend, according to the Pew Research Center. Universities are equally disappointed with the students … Continue reading “Fixing the Divide Between the Public and Higher Ed”