By Bill Maher
Back in January, President Obama said off the cuff during a speech, "folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree." Some art history professors were upset, and Obama quickly apologized.
It's probably a good thing that the president doesn't go around shitting on the arts. It's worth noting that our most successful modern company, Apple, is built on design, and that entertainment is always among our top exports. But once again, the media covered the apology, but missed the larger point: Today's liberal arts colleges don't do such a great job of preparing students to be workers in today's economy. They do a great job of preparing students to argue with their stoned roommates at 4 AM about Breaking Bad.
Here's the deal: the unemployment rate of college graduates is half what it is for high school grads. So college definitely gets you the golden ticket. But it's not for everybody, and college inflation is pricing people out. There are millions of students out there who would be better served if they could get that golden ticket another way, like specializing in something in high school for another couple years. This won't mire them in debt, either, and it would give four-year colleges more competition, forcing them to up their game. Should this be controversial to anybody, including art history professors?