Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Not a Very Bright Idea

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Bob Herbert praises two schools in New York for offering enough college-level courses in high school to allow their students to save expensive tuition money through an abridged tenure in actual college. The comments to his column are abuzz with people who are outraged for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the students don’t then get the full collegiate experience.

This is true. This would also be true even if they went to college for four years. College now appears to bear little relation to what the student learns but whose institution is on the student’s degree, and the student is concerned less of his classes than of his bursar bill: It may be a scant four years in college, but it’s an agonizing forty to pay it off. Personally, I’ve always been told of the supposed truth that, indeed, a university is not a trade school, and I’d agree: No trade school could justify costing this much.

It’s true that accelerated courses hinder one’s social development both in high school and college, but people do such programs out of necessity, not convenience: If it didn’t already break my bank and kill my credit rating, I’d still be in college – it’s certainly preferable to today’s job market. The schools that garner Herbert’s praise are no more than a stopgap: The system itself is flawed and the costs need to be brought to heel.

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