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Education Apocalypse Now?


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Glenn Harlan Reynolds Substack

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Apr. 26 2024

Over a decade ago, I wrote a short book titled The Higher Education Bubble, which was followed by a much longer one called The New School, and a significantly longer and updated paperback version called The Education Apocalypse.

In all of these books I explained, with increasing amounts of detail and examples, why I thought that the existing system of higher education in America was doomed.  Not that higher education itself would cease to exist, but that the standard model of college, graduate, and professional education that had obtained since the passage of the G.I. Bill, and in many ways since the late 19th Century, would largely cease to exist.  This was due to a combination of out-of-control costs and loss of prestige.

So is the apocalypse now?  Maybe.  At the very least, we’re at some sort of a turning point.

The cost part is now pretty obvious.  When I started writing on this, a college education was almost uniformly seen as the way to get ahead.  Nowadays sitcoms often feature jokes about people with useless degrees and heavy debt, professors more interested in avoiding controversy than teaching, and corrupt administrators. 

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People are learning, and though Ivy League institutions are big, established, and rich, the past half-century has seen many big, established, and rich institutions humbled.  If it happens to them too, it will be largely of their own doing.

Meanwhile, some advice from a famous Internet philosopher:

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