Posted on | January 18, 2014 | 58 Comments
Instapundit wants to be lenient on Randye Hoder — “it’s not a ‘useless’ degree if in fact it teaches students ‘to think critically and analytically, read widely and write well’” — which means that I’m obliged to play bad cop with this overindulgent mother:
My oldest child, Emma, just returned to campus after a long holiday break to finish up her last semester of college.
But even before she has put the final period on her senior thesis, friends and family have been bombarding me with one question: What is she going to do after graduation?
The job market is, after all, awfully tough. Just this month the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a study showing that “recent graduates are increasingly working in low-wage jobs or working part-time,” if they’re lucky enough to find work at all.
The bright spot, according to the Fed analysis, students who majored in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — areas in which recent graduates “have tended to do relatively well, even in today’s challenging labor market.” But Emma is a student of the much-maligned humanities — an American Studies major with a focus on the politics and culture of food at a small liberal arts school. . . .
Whoa. Stop right there: “an American Studies major with a focus on the politics and culture of food at a small liberal arts school.”
First of all, that’s not “the humanities.” It just isn’t.
Second, if you’re going to study some ridiculous made-up gimmick of a major — “the politics and culture of food”? really? — why on earth would you study it “at a small liberal arts school,” i.e., an expensive college for overprivileged trust-fund babies?
[W]e are not immune to the high cost of college. Emma’s father and I have made sacrifices to give her, and her brother, the kind of education we value. There will be loans to pay when she graduates—and, yes, my husband and I will foot that bill.
Oh, now I see! Mommy and Daddy will pay the bill for their daughter’s luxurious four-year-vacation — “the kind of education we value” — because their Special Snowflake (a) didn’t have the scores to get into Berkeley, and (b) Cal State’s for losers.
See, this is the niche that “small liberal arts schools” fill: The offspring of permissive parents who will give their Special Snowflakes whatever their selfish hearts crave. The kid isn’t smart enough or hard-working enough to get into a genuinely elite school, but they’re just too doggone special to attend a state school (let alone community college), and so there’s always that trendy little campus that will charge them $35,000 a year to pretend that they’re better than those disgusting low-brow slobs at State U.
This is not about education, it’s about aspiration.
The “small liberal arts school” is a luxury that the rich can afford, but borrowing money to attend one? That’s just crazy.
Maybe Randye Hoder‘s daughter can apply her knowledge of “the politics and culture of food” at Burger King.