justification for higher education

1657 Words7 Pages
Justification For Higher Education

After analyzing William A. Henry III s In Defense of Elitism and Caroline Bird s

College is a Waste of Time and Money , it is clear that Henry s argument concerning the

purpose of an education is more rational than Bird s due to the fact that Henry supports his claims

with credible statistics, logical insight, and uses current real world scenarios. Bird, on the

contrary, bases her argument solely on manipulated statistics, overly dramatic claims, and

ridiculously out-of-this-world scenarios.

While there are various viewpoints and perspectives on the subject of higher education,

Henry for one, has landed the conclusion that in America higher education for the masses has not

only been extremely costly economically, but it has also greatly lowered the educational standards

and therefore defeated the purpose of higher education itself.

Henry s primary grievance against higher education for the masses is that the influx of

mediocrities relentlessly lowers the general standards at colleges to levels the weak ones can

meet (335). Quite simply, higher education is by no means any higher if the standards keep

lowering just so some students can barely meet the minimum standards. For example, although I

am a full supporter of the bell curve in college, it is certain that this recent innovation has had its

share in lowering the university s educational standards. This practice of calculating the students

average score on an exam and then re-scaling grades to help those who didn t fare as well is a

clear example of bringing the standard of college down to everyone s level (336). I can certainly

attest to this claim because I was recently directly affected by the bell curve. In the first quarter of

my freshman year, I received a score of 44 out of a possible 100 points on my Physics 7A final

exam. According to the general 10% increment grading scale, this would mean that I earned an F

on the exam. However, thanks to the mediocrities earning even lower scores than myself and

the establishment of the bell curve, I fared quite nicely and escaped with a B- grade. Although this

is definitely good news for me, Henry s claim that the mediocrities tend to lower the educational

standard seems to prevail.

The influx of mediocrities flooding college campuses has also lowered the credibility and

status of a college degree....

... middle of paper ...

...re no

guarantees in these professions either (329).

After dissecting her claims and supporting statements, it is clear that Bird is trying to

undermine the value of a college degree. Tying this into her previous claims, we must ask since

when is anything in life guaranteed? If we consider her implication that some students should

obtain vocational education, well then it is obvious that there are no guarantees in jobs of that

nature either. It is troubling to see that Bird simply dismisses certain jobs just because there is

competition for them or because she thinks colleges fail to warn students of the competition.

William Henry and Caroline Bird both have sharply different approaches in regards to

making there arguments about the purpose of an education. Although they share common ground

on various issues, the two become divided due to the types of examples and evidence they use to

support their claims. After careful analysis, it is clear that Henry s line of reasoning and concrete

evidence tops that of Bird s due to his logical insight. Unfortunately for Bird, she is simply left

scrambling in the dark in search of bogus evidence in an attempt to backup her claims.
Open Document