The recent arrests of Hollywood parents paying for their kids to get into good colleges highlights what is wrong with higher education. We make a college education a bigger deal than it deserves.
We continue to encourage our kids to go to awful colleges and load up on stifling student loan debt, resulting in unfulfilled dreams, when many of these kids just need to get a job or learn a trade.
Access to higher education is important for those who truly want to attend, but we send way too many kids who are unsuited and unprepared for it. They party and come back indoctrinated, not educated. Many become angry, entitled and virtually unemployable.
Talk to some of those "college kids." Half think Sharia Law is a daytime TV show hosted by a no-nonsense African-American lady judge.
A recent study by Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found that only 36 percent of Americans can pass a basic citizenship test (74 percent of those 65 and older could, while only 19 percent of 45 and younger could). Educators note that this is the worst score on the citizenship test since 1916, when this country was founded.
That's the problem. Kids are getting pie-in-the-sky advice and, judging by obesity rates, they are also eating the pie.
Students should prepare for a job. Let them attend more Take Your Children to Work days — unless their parents work in the adult movie business. That'd just be awkward.
Comedian John Mulany is right about the misinformation we get as kids. Growing up, I really thought from watching cartoons that quicksand was going to be a bigger problem than it turned out to be. I was not prepared for real-life problems, such as relatives who want to borrow money.
The damage comes from parents pandering to the "Ninth place trophy kids" who are led to believe: "Just be yourself, great things will happen."
That sort of coddling false confidence is why half of American workers are unhappy and disappointed when they have to work hard at something. They inevitably view themselves as "victims" (a.k.a. Democrats). Intuition tempts us to call this "compassion," which is really feel-good lies fed to kids that take the onus off them and put the blame on others. It becomes a perpetual excuse.
Students are victims of a giant fraud: the government-run education system that has molded them for 12 gullible years. Public schools are government-run; teachers are government-hired; and government determines standards, pay, curricula and graduation requirements. Government seeks to produce compliant citizens it can someday rule without much pushback. Smart, independent thinkers are not wanted.
The result is kids who are not prepared for life or for the workforce. Twenty million young "adults" ages 18-24 live with their parents. Many parents have child-proofed their homes, but millennials still get back in.
Members of the Greatest Generation at age 19 were saving Europe from the Nazis and asking nothing in return. Now kids stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26. Kids are voting for socialist Bernie Sanders or AOC (another beaut of our education system) in droves, scared to death they may have to pay for something someday.
Few schools teach about the value of hard work, ingenuity, gumption and entrepreneurship. Those lessons are as rare as Donald Trump bumper stickers in the faculty parking lot.
Keep in mind, I have served on the Tennessee State Board of Regents, two college boards and have seen the inefficient underbelly of higher education.
Colleges have become more about political activism than education. Harvard invited the treasonous Chelsea Manning to speak as a "visiting fellow." The university eventually disinvited her, but not before ex-acting CIA Director Michael Morell resigned his senior fellowship at Harvard over it. I'd like to see Republican Bruce Jenner, Michael Morell and liberal Chelsea Manning debate. The only thing they have in common is that they are all ex-fellows.
Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed satirist, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @Ronald-Hart on Twitter.