"Declining by Degrees" Delivers a Grim Picture of American Higher Education

Barry Lenson

“Declining by Degrees” Delivers a Grim Picture of American Higher Education

If you’d like to get a reality-based viewpoint on the traditional “American dream” of attending college, we urge you to invest about 90 minutes watching a video called “Declining by Degrees.” Funded by The Lumina Foundation, it delivers some extremely unsettling news about the state of college education in America.

Here’s some of the information that I jotted down while watching . . .

  • Thirty-nine percent of college students admit to binge drinking.
  • Some college athletic coaches make as much as $2 million a year, while most professors earn about $100,000.
  • Forty-four percent of America’s college instructors work part time. Some of them teach at three colleges or more.
  • Half of all students who enroll in four-year colleges leave without graduating.
  • More and more American employers are finding that college graduates are completely unequipped to work real jobs in the real world.
  • At present, nobody is measuring the effectiveness of college education.
  • Students’ grades are often inflated, and no one is watching.
  • Most college students’ knowledge of geography and basic world facts is completely lacking.
  • Of the 220 students in one class at the University of Arizona, only 10 bothered to complete one week’s reading assignment.
  • In many college discussion sessions, no discussions take place. The students just sit there silently.
  • Teachers fear for their jobs and are therefore afraid to give students the low grades they deserve.
  • Colleges give lip service to technology, but support it only when it doesn’t really change anything or upset the status quo.
  • Sixty-five percent of American college students have to borrow to pay for their education.

Those are only some of the harrowing realities that you can discover in this video. Depressing? Yes. But the film should serve as a much-needed eye-opener for anyone who believes that American college education can be cured if colleges simply graduates more students. Is anybody watching?

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