Everything is supposed to get cheaper over time. Innovation, improved processes, greater supply, and other advances should drive down prices. Take the computer for example.
In 1972, the most basic model of an HP 3000 sold for $95,000, the equivalent of slightly over half a million in today’s dollars. Today, a brand-new computer costs just a few hundred dollars and has capabilities that in 1972 were in the realm of science fiction.
Today almost everyone carries a smartphone that has more computing power than 100 NASA computers that sent the Saturn rocket to space. These devices allow for faster communication in a second than was possible even one decade ago. And what about the energy savings? The device we hold in our hands has replaced machines that occupied entire buildings and needed massive power to operate. Now compare these advances with the regression of education.
While every other industry has gotten better over the past few decades, education has worsened. Yet costs continue to rise. Looking back at historical data, we find that costs of most consumer items and basic needs grew closely to inflation except for the one controlled nearly completely by government, Big Ed. Here is a chart showing the rise of college costs compared to other goods and services:
Obviously, this is big and there are many factors. We will expose what the chart above highlights.
College costs rose along with inflation until the 1990s; then costs exploded. What changed? The shift to
the belief that every student has a ‘right’ to go to college so we should make loans available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay back or their interest or readiness for college is a big part of the problem (1992 Higher Education Amendments, 1993 Student Loan Reform Act). Colleges used to try to lure students with the best academic value, now they know everyone will go to college so they use amenities, rather than their educational bona fides, to attract students. All of those fancy student unions, athletic complexes, and upscale dining halls cost money; and those costs are passed on to the students.
Taking us back to the culture for a moment, the costs are also inflated due to the large number of administrators being added at many colleges and universities. The ratio has double in the last 25 years and with the push to add diversity administrators becoming trendy, that growth will surely increase6. On the one hand, the government incentivized banks, and later their own institutions, to dole out money to anyone regardless of the situation, while on the other hand there was no oversight on what schools charged or where these tuition dollars went; a recipe for disaster.
K-12 education also got in on the action. Many state and municipal governments across the country decided that funding was the problem in education. After receiving these additional funds, they did what the colleges did, hired more administrators and people to ‘examine’ the problem. The result was higher costs and nothing to show for it. Then, they proceeded to invest in things that were never their job to do. Now the schools resemble a convalescence center rather than a place to learn. They provide meals, psychologists, diversity and inclusion training, and a list of social justice focuses, all to the detriment of academic achievement for the children.
This leads us to the problem of the curriculum. As if the exploding costs of education wasn’t enough, the services the schools are providing has diminished dramatically. In schools across America, ‘woke’ teachers and administrators seem to be more focused on transgendered bathrooms and LGBTQ history than they are on the three Rs. They are banning classic books most of us grew up reading due to perceived racist and misogynistic storylines, while simultaneously lowering academic standards in the interest of maintaining a desired number of ‘people of color’ and women in every role.
In higher education, there is an orchestrated con. They lower the acceptance requirements to get more minority students into college. They then take the loan proceeds, of which many students can’t pay back, and enroll unprepared students. Once enrolled, the students often start in one major, say accounting or pre-med, then end up switching to one of a smorgasbord of useless ‘social justice’ majors.
The new push on campuses today is to make social justice or climate change issues part of every students’ coursework. There seems to be more focus on white privilege, gender issues, and racism than there is on economics, mathematics, or medicine. The result is that many of these diversity students never finish college and those who do cannot find meaningful employment in careers related to their majors.