A Modest Proposal

Over at Inside Higher Ed, Edward Palm gets all Swiftian:

The Department of Defense finds itself desperately short of troops with which to sustain what promises to be a long and increasingly unpopular, inconclusive war in Iraq. The Department of Education finds itself suddenly alarmed by the relatively low percentage of Americans pursuing postsecondary education compared to the rate of participation in other countries. American colleges and universities find themselves bucking the current demographic trend such that some of them are lowering standards as they compete for fewer and fewer students.

The answer to all these problems, it seems to me, is as simple as remembering back to the last time we were fighting an unpopular war far away for reasons we couldn’t quite understand, the 1960s. Colleges and universities were bursting at the seams with more students than they could handle, and the sky seemed to be the limit for the expansion of programs and the hiring of new faculty members. What did we have going for us then in the American academy that we don’t have now? We had a Selective Service System — a draft — that until 1971 featured a calculated system of deferments for college and graduate school.

Anyone want to bet on how long it takes David Horowitz or his ilk to start trumpeting this as yet more evidence of the perfidy of leftist academics? “They even want to re-institute the draft!”

Comments

  1. #1 Daniel
    December 19, 2006

    The answer to all these problems, it seems to me, is as simple as remembering back to the last time we were fighting an unpopular war far away for reasons we couldn’t quite understand, the 1960s.

    I read up to this point and thought “yes! we need more free love and hallucinogens!”. That’s bound to expand the college intake.

  2. #2 Harlan
    December 19, 2006

    The Department of Education finds itself suddenly alarmed by the relatively low percentage of Americans pursuing postsecondary education compared to the rate of participation in other countries. American colleges and universities find themselves bucking the current demographic trend such that some of them are lowering standards as they compete for fewer and fewer students.

    Uh, what? At many universities right now selectivity has never been higher. Four years ago my little sister didn’t get admitted to Wash U. The admissions office told her that if she was a few years older, not only would she have been admitted, she would have gotten a full-ride scholarship. Similar at the University of Wisconsin. I’ve heard similar at other places too. Americans going for post-graduate training might be decreasing, but if undergraduate applications are dropping, that’s the first I’ve heard of it.

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