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Too Many Ph.D.s? Those Who Say Yes Are Just Wrong.

by Ken Mondschein

Two sides are shaping up in the debate on the troubled state of American higher education. The one, which I’ll call the Tories, looks back to the glory days of Baby Boomer expansion. The humanities and the right to a liberal education are sacred to this camp, as is tenure. Hard times should be made up by cutting sports and over-management; the professorate can take care of itself and the NBA and NFL can run a farm league like everybody else. The irony is that the Tories are the conservatives in the debate, but they essentially take a socialist position. (Caveat: I’m an unapologetic Tory.)

The other, which I’ll call the Whigs, argues that higher ed should be market-driven. Deployment of resources in departments and majors should make financial sense for the school, and the students should be prepared for careers as workers, not philosophers. The Whigs are the revolutionaries, despite their laissez-faire rhetoric, and their star is rising. This is more than an academic question (pardon the pun), but bears directly on the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiatives and his stated goal for every American to attend at least two years of college

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