Worthwhile ‘dreck’

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Regarding Jack Kelly’s June 1 column (“Higher Ed Is Losing”): There he goes again. What does Mr. Kelly have against education? The alternative is always the same: ignorance. In this column, he continues his diatribe against higher learning, concluding that college is no more than a purveyor of “dreck.”

He agrees with William J. Bennett and David Wilezol (in their recent book, “Is College Worth It?”) that “much of what is being taught in the humanities and social sciences is nonsense.” This sounds more like the rant of an ignoramus like Henry Ford with his quip that “history is bunk” than a highly informed journalist for a major newspaper.

Mr. Kelly concedes that the U.S. Census confirmed that a 1999 college grad will earn $900,000 more over a lifetime than those without a sheepskin, and that “if you stay away from the dreck, you can get a decent education at most schools.”

But I am confused as to exactly what he means by “dreck” since he does not name any specific courses or majors other than a vague reference to “ethnic and gender studies.” Is he saying that if you are able to separate the “wheat” from the “dreck” by not taking such “nonsense” courses such as history or anthropology you will be able to make the “big bucks?” Unfortunately, a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college requires that one take quite a bit of “dreck” to fulfill core requirements in various fields.

Last week a New York Times article cited Labor Department statistics that reaffirmed earlier data; it revealed that “Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree.”

Who knew that “dreck” could be so valuable?

CHARLES WIEBE
Ohio Township

 


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